When immigrants arrive to the United States, they have to combat prejudice and stereotypes in addition to difficult financial and legal situations to achieve success. America promises the American dream and boundless success, but in many cases, this feels impossible. Immigrants are generally regarded as people who struggle to adjust to their new lives.
But many of the the world’s most successful corporate leaders are immigrants. In a highly circulated New York Times article from 2014, Anand Giridharadas argued that success in America comes with being born abroad. He says, “Statistics show that if you are born elsewhere and later acquire American citizenship, you will, on average, earn more than us native-borns.”
I’d like to focus on a few influential business leaders who are not native to where they work. They have completely revitalized their field.
1. Andrea Jung: Avon CEO
Born: 1958, Canada
Jung graduated magna cum laude from Princeton after being raised in Toronto by her Chinese immigrant parents. Five years after joining Avon in 1994, she became their CEO. She has been named one of Forbe’s Most Powerful Women. She is also a non-profit leader and an outspoken supporter of women’s issues.
2. Nadir Mohamed: Rogers Communications CEO
Born: 1956, Tanzania
Mohamed’s parents were Ismaili Muslims, originally from India. He grew up in Tanzania before the family moved to Canada where he majored in accounting at the University of British Columbia. In 2000, he joined one of Canada’s top telecom carriers, the Toronto-based Rogers Communications, and recently was titled the CEO.
3. Sergey Brin: Google co-founder
Born: 1973, Russia
During the Brezhnev era, Brin and his parents faced strict barriers limiting Jews from getting certain types of work. In 1979, Brin’s parents moved the family to the U.S. which enabled Brin to apply to the University of Maryland. From there, he attended Stanford and launched Google with Larry Page. Brin’s story is an amazing tale of immigrant success.