I’m sure many of us watched the Super Bowl this year. I did. My family members are huge fans, and I love Rihanna about as much as they love football. Rihanna’s casual yet strong performance during the Super Bowl was long anticipated as she had not performed publicly since 2016.
Rihanna had not been sitting idle during all these years of not performing, though. This self-made woman billionaire from Barbados has been building a business empire, including a beauty brand – Fenty – in partnership with luxury goods group LVMH, a lingerie line, and a music-streaming service, among other ventures. She also added the role of mother to her duties and is rocking it while being pregnant with her second child.
Rihanna is an immigrant who has achieved a great deal of success in the United States. Forbes estimates her net worth at $1.4 billion as of February 2023. In this article, we would like to discuss and pay tribute to immigrant women entrepreneurs in the U.S. whose journeys and achievements inspire us all!
Many of us have used, or at least heard of, the Anastasia eyebrow makeup products sold in Sephora and Ulta. We may not have realized that the founder of this product line – Anastasia Soare – is an immigrant from Romania. She was 33 years old when she moved to Los Angeles in 1989 and she began working as an esthetician at a beauty salon. Eleven years later, she launched Anastasia Beverly Hills, an eyebrow product line, which is now valued at over $3 billion, according to Forbes. Anastasia’s net worth is estimated at $660 million.
Eren Ozmen is a billionaire, originally from Turkey, and the majority Co-Owner and President of the private aerospace and defense company, Sierra Nevada Corporation. Being a new immigrant is not easy, and to support herself during her university years, she sold baklava and worked as a janitor at the company she is now a majority Co-Owner and President of.
Thai Lee, was born in Thailand and grew up in South Korea. Thai moved to the U.S. when she was a teenager to attend high school in Massachusetts. She then studied Economics and Biology in college and attended Harvard Business School, where she received her M.B.A. Four years after graduation from Harvard she, together with her husband, bought a software reseller for less than $1 million dollars and renamed it SHI International. According to Forbes, the company has customers like “Boeing and Johnson & Johnson and reported $10 billion in sales in 2018.”
Neha Narkhede of India moved to the United States after she graduated from University of Pune with a degree in Engineering. In the U.S., she completed her Master’s in Technology at Georgia Tech. She is a former Chief Technology Officer of Confluent, a cloud company she co-founded in 2014. The company helps organizations process large amounts of data on Apache Kafka, the open-source messaging system she helped develop while working at LinkedIn. In 2021, the company went public at a $9.1 billion valuation. Forbes estimated Neha Narkhede’s net worth at $490 million in 2022.
Born in Canada, Kit Crawford together with her husband Gary Erickson owns 80% of Clif Bar that sells its products, including Luna bars, in twenty countries. The couple had previously turned down a $120 million offer for Clif Bar. Clif Bar received recognition as one of the best places to work by Outside and Fortune Magazines. In addition to running Clif Bar, the couple also manages Clif Family Winery in Napa Valley and venture capital firm White Road Investments. Kit Crawford’s net worth is estimated at $680 million as of 2022.
These are just a few of the women immigrant entrepreneurs in the United States that inspire us with their success stories. There are many more stories we have not covered in this article, and we of course cannot forget about the women-owned small to medium businesses that have a tremendous economic impact on our communities. These businesses are the backbone of our country and the data shows us that immigrants are 80% more likely to start a business than people born in the U.S., and a significant portion of those immigrants business owners are women.
From billion-dollar companies to small community business, what unites them all is the women’s courage to embody the power of the American Dream to achieve success in the United States. It is absolutely vital for the U.S. to continue attracting ambitious and talented people to transform its industries and economy for the better.
At McEntee Law, we know all about being woman-founded – our Founder and Managing Attorney is Fiona McEntee and, in addition to being a woman, she’s a proud Irish immigrant!
We also have several other team members who are either immigrants themselves or have family who are. This gives us the unique quality of being a firm who truly can be empathetic to your situation and case, and take a vested interest in getting you a successful outcome. If you are looking to hire an immigration attorney to help you find a pathway to come to, or remain in, the U.S., call our firm at 773-828-9444 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we would be the right fit for you and your case.
Written by: Natalia Blauvelt, Immigration Attorney