Kalid is a Syrian American businessman and community builder. Here, he discusses the importance of family and healthcare and how he lives out these values in life and in business
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, my father used to work for AT&T, so that’s where my journey started. Both of my parents were born and raised in Syria, and then they moved to the United States in the late Seventies, I have no memories of Pittsburgh, because when I was five, we moved to New Jersey, we moved to a small town called Hattingfield, we were becoming very Americanized, and my dad was getting scared that we were becoming too American, so they moved us back to Syria. We moved there and I got to visit many different places and travel within the country, and so I am very familiar with the culture, different cities, and the hotspots there. I remember we moved over the summer, so we got there mid to late July.
In the beginning, it was exciting because I got to meet all of these cousins and family members who were my age and my sibling’s age. I am one of six, I am the second born, my sister is the oldest, and then I have four brothers. It was really exciting because we got to go to the beach and the castle. I’ve never seen a castle, and we don’t really have castles here in the states, and Syria’s full of history, and everything is so inspiring and beautiful. It was kind of a culture shock, going there, the way people dress, the way men dress, in the long gulaaba, I was like why are these men wearing dresses, it was so confusing. In the beginning, it was difficult, because back then, the United States placed a ban, a technological ban on Syria, anything American made was not allowed in Syria, even toys, believe it or not, we could not have toys in Syria, because of the whole technological ban, so having American TV was not a thing.
I wanted to be in healthcare, in my undergrad, I have a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, so I wanted to do something in the healthcare field, and that’s why when I got my MBA, I did three minors, did Healthcare Administration, Marketing and Human Resources, and then I started my career in New York-Presbyterian Hospital. My plan was to honestly stay in the healthcare system, and work my way up into becoming a COO or a CEO, that was always something I wanted to do. Then, one day, the idea of starting my own business came about, and I felt it was the right thing to do. So, I co-founded Global Geeks with my brother, and things have been going really well. My family and I always try to stick together, do things together, to keep my family motivated. Since the history of our family is very interesting. In the Middle East, my family didn’t really have much, and my dad would tell us about how tough the world is, and how we need to stick together and take care of each other as a family, and that’s one of the best things that I learned from my father.
I would tell my younger self to be brave, confident, understanding, and to not let fear drive you, love is the only element you should use to drive you. Weather you are working, whether you are communicating with people, anything you do, do not let fear drive you, that’s my one philosophy, I’ve taught myself and I practice day by day, love is what drives me to do things in this world.