America wouldn’t be what it is today without its immigrants. These are the people who have contributed to the success of American companies and prove that the American Dream does exist. Many people uproot their lives and move to a new land, often speaking only very little in the new territory’s native tongue.
Their stories often consist of undergoing hardships such as overcoming language barriers and visa rejections. But they’re some of the most inspirational stories you’ll hear – they might even tempt you to call an immigration attorney. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorites.
Hungarian-born Andras Istvan Grof went through a lot before heading Intel. He escaped the Nazis by fleeing to Austria before he eventually came to the U.S. in 1957. He worked as a busboy while attending New York City College, where he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. He later went to the University of California and received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering 3 years later.
He landed his first job after graduation as a researcher at Fairchild Semiconductor. One of his superiors at Fairchild eventually co-founded Intel with Robert Noyce, and the pair brought Grove into the company. Grove would become the tech company’s CEO and be credited for much of its success. He published his biography “Swimming Across” in 2001 and also wrote several books about business management. Grove passed away in 2016 at the age of 79.
Mehrotra was rejected by India’s U.S. embassy three times before co-founded SanDisk. Mehrotra was accepted to the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied electrical engineering. His first job was at Intel, where he met future SanDisk co-founder Eli Harari. In 1988, the two co-founded SunDisk with fellow immigrant Jack Yuan. The company changed its name to SanDisk in 1995.
During Mehrotra’s time as SanDisk CEO, the flash memory manufacturer was able to survive the 2008 global recession and acquire Pliant Technology. In 2016, Western Digital bought SanDisk for $16 billion.
Jerry Yang was born in Taiwan in 1968 and moved to San Jose, California, in 1978 with his mother and brother. Yang excelled academically throughout his years in school. He attended Stanford University to pursue his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering. However, he dropped out of his doctorate to focus work on Yahoo with graduate school classmate David Filo.
The two launched Yahoo in 1995. The company went on to become the biggest internet portal of the 1990s. Yang stepped down from Yahoo in 2012. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Stanford University and still works as an active investor.
Many of the famous immigrant success stories you’re likely to have heard about are those of tech giants and innovators such as Andy Grove, Jerry Yang, and Elon Musk. But the jobs are more diverse than you think. Alex Tsalikhin was born in the Soviet Union and now works as a sculptor. He arrived in the U.S. as a refugee.
Tsalikhin had no prior business experience before coming to America, as entrepreneurship was prohibited in the Soviet Union. Despite that, however, he has successfully launched 3 businesses in the U.S. One of them is A-Cast Studio, which creates sculptural elements for building exteriors and interiors. Tsalikhin has also created a sculpture of Saint Michael in 2014 for the Patriots and Heroes Sculpture Park in Williamsville, New York.
Ana de Armas
Even Hollywood has its fair share of immigrant success stories. One of the most notable and relatively recent cases is Cuban-born actress Ana de Armas. Knives Out, written and directed by Rian Johnson, is a story about an immigrant – de Armas’ character, Marta Cabrera. The character’s story arc was one that de Armas could relate to while shooting the film, which was chock full of Hollywood hotshots such as Daniel Craig and Chris Evans.
De Armas began her acting career in Cuba when she was a teenager. After turning 18, she moved to Spain and scored a lead role in the teen drama El Internado. She later moved to the United States and wasted no time learning English to land more English-speaking roles.
She’s currently one of the busiest actresses in Hollywood and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her performance in Knives Out.
Immigrants have played crucial roles in our country’s economy and culture. While our country serves as a new home and a land of new opportunity for them, we continue to welcome them, eager to witness how their talents will shape our country.
Meta title: Stories of Successful Immigrants in the U.S.
Meta desc: Immigrants have played crucial roles in our country’s economy and culture. Read about a few inspiring stories of successful U.S. immigrants.