The Immigrant Experience Is What Makes America Truly Great

As an immigrant from a war-torn country I, more than many, know the value of the American Dream.

By Richard Du February 2, 2017
Credit: Chandra Maharzan

As an immigrant from a war-torn country I, more than many, know the value of the American Dream. There is no greater incentive to succeed when you have left one country where all your rights and privileges have been taken away and then arrive in another where the only limit to your success is your imagination and how hard you are prepared to work. Now, for the first-time I, along with many CEO’s from successful American companies such as Starbucks, Facebook and Amazon, am wondering if the policies of the Trump administration are putting the very notion of the American Dream in jeopardy.

Related: What Agorafy Can Learn From Amazon

I was a child when two of my older sisters escaped from Vietnam after the war on a refugee boat heading to Malaysia. A makeshift, overcrowded vessel with tattered sails, there was a 95 percent chance of dying. Somehow my sisters survived and eventually found their way to America. They sponsored me and my siblings and we moved to Los Angeles.

Overcoming illiteracy was my first challenge. My second was making something of my life. I embraced America, its customs and possibilities. I was relieved to be in a country of immigrants, a country where everyone came from somewhere and where everyone was accepted regardless of their race or religion. For the first time in my life I felt I had an even playing field and was determined to take advantage of it. That’s why it pains me to see innocent immigrants stranded at airports about to have their dreams and all the possibilities they contain, taken away. I shudder to think what would have happened if the same thing would have happened to my sisters and me.

Diversity is what makes America the great country it is. Languages, food, culture and customs. That’s why as a business owner I have always promoted diversity. It’s not simply because it makes the workplace more interesting but that diversity is good for business.

Related: Big Dreams and Big Data: The Key To Agorafy’s Future

Having the broadest possible spectrum of ideas and experiences to draw from always results in the best results. It would be easy for me to employ only American Vietnamese people. I could speak my own language, have a staff of people who were familiar with my background. It would be easier for me to explain my point of view. But I know that the most successful companies draw from the widest talent pool.

At Agorafy we employ people from all over the planet. I always tell people how much I enjoy hearing different languages being spoken in the office. I know the power of the immigrant experience and the power of working hard for something and being able to achieve it. It’s fueled my entire life and still does. As a CEO myself, I realize the importance of  encouraging and lifting people up not putting them down. It’s the only way to help people reach their potential and truly continue to make America the great country it always has been.

Richard Du



Richard Du, founder and CEO of Agorafy, was born in Vietnam and raised in the United States. As a child, he worked to support his family until he had the chance to immigrate to the America. Here, he began his career as an agent at Helmsley Spear, which he eventually parlayed into a lucrative real estate business. More than a decade later, Mr. Du is at the helm of Agorafy.

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