Tag: immigrant hero

Marcus Lemonis – An Immigrant Hero

Last week, attorney Jim Hacking went to Phoenix, Arizona for a conference.

The keynote speaker at the conference was Mr. Marcus Lemonis.

For those of you who don’t know Marcus, he is the host of a popular television show on CNBC called, The Profit.

Lemonis is worth millions of dollars, having made his money in the automobile and recreational vehicle (RV) business.

Each week on The Profit, Marcus visits companies around the country to see whether he might invest in them.  Many of these companies are struggling.

Once he invests, he has total control of the company’s operations.

Jim, Amany and their children love to watch The Profit. It is one of their favorite family shows.

You may enjoy it too.

But did you know that Marcus Lemonis is also an immigrant.

His parents adopted him from an orphanage in Lebanon when he was 9 months old.

During his speech in Arizona, Lemonis talked about how hard a time he had fitting in while growing up in America.  He often felt invisible and like an outsider.

Instead of talking from a podium up on a stage, Marcus began his presentation by talking from an “invisible” position out in the crowd.  He then made his way to the floor, where he shared some very personal stories.

He talked about suffering from bulimia.  He discussed several other difficult childhood traumas.

Marcus talked about how it is easy to hide in business – to throw yourself completely into the work so as to avoid the human interaction.

On several occasions, Marcus said that he told these stories not because he wanted the audience to feel sorry for him, but rather because he wanted to build a connection.

A connection based on vulnerability.

Then, incredibly, other people in the audience shared shameful or sad stories from their own past.

It was a very moving presentation.

Jim tweeted about how amazing the presentation was.  Unbelievably, Marcus Lemonis then started following Jim on Twitter.  A real connection!

Overall, the trip was great.  Jim learned a lot about trying to improve our firm’s systems so that we can deliver the highest quality legal representation to each and every client.

Here’s hoping you had a great week too.

Me and Gary Vee

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If you haven’t heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, you probably will in the near future.

Gary and his family fled the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s. Their family was allowed to exit the Communist homeland and come to the United States as refugees in a complicated barter between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The U.S. sent wheat to their Communist enemy and the Soviets allowed people being persecuted based on their religion to seek refuge in America.

Gary’s family settled in New Jersey. His father got a job sweeping floors and stocking inventory at a wine store. Gary’s dad eventually became the owner of a wine store.

While Gary’s dad worked at the wine shop, his son learned to hustle. As a teenager, he bought and sold baseball cards and made hundreds of dollars a week.

When Gary went to college in the mid-1990s, he stumbled across the internet and immediately saw its potential. He convinced his father to spend $15,000 to help Gary build a tv studio in the basement of the wine store.

Gary started making YouTube videos about wine. He called it Wine Library. He would make a new YouTube video every week talking about wine, the culture of wine, matching wines to food and the wine industry in general.

For the first two years, his dad’s store sold $2,000 worth of wine – total. His dad was angry. At this point, Gary started infusing the YouTube videos with more of his passion, his personality and his energy. The show took off.

His dad’s wine store went from selling $3 million worth of wine to $60 million worth of wine.

Gary shot 1,000 YouTube videos for WineLibrary. Then, he stopped.

He eventually started his own media and branding company. He has authored three fantastic books – Crush It, The Thank You Economy and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. I have read all of them and they contain tons of great advice on social media, building a business and the future of technology.

Gary now has a new regular YouTube show called #askGaryVee. He is worth millions and millions of dollars. His eventual goal is to purchase the New York Jets.

When people badmouth immigrants or claim that we should close our borders to refugees, I often use Gary Vee as Exhibit # 1 of the kind of quality people that we would never know and whose brilliance would have been lost if we hadn’t given them the opportunity of an open door.

Last week, I was lucky enough to hear Gary speak first hand. Afterwards, I was able to get my picture taken with him and it was pretty darn cool.