Despite the early hour, the mood was electric at the 2019 CYP Kick-Off event. How can you not feel good in a place like The Alley surrounded by a bunch of really wonderful people who are excited to get engaged with their community and are eager to grow and develop in their own careers?
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The first half of the event included remarks from the outgoing CYP Steering Committee Chairman, Dustin Haynes and the incoming Chairman, Bobby Teachey.
Haynes highlighted the Chamber’s 2018 win of Metro Chamber of the Year from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Exectives. Haynes also highlighted the #YPAMA events, events that allow high school students the opportunity to ask young professionals candid questions about their professional journeys. Haynes also talked about how CYP has completely revamped the YP Wake Up series– providing programs that are more pertinent to young professionals including events about the Charleston International Airport and Housing Attainability.
Haynes also recognized CYP members who attended the most CYP events in 2018. They were:
Nathan Kennedy, CBI Workplace Solutions
Ryan Barry, ALSCO
Sarah Parrish, Hilton Garden Inn Mt. Pleasant
Karl Brady, Trident United Way
Tory Sheppard, Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Airport
Lucy McNerney, The Alley
Thank you to those folks for their engagement in 2018! We can’t thank them or the rest of our incredible CYP group for your support and participation that has helped this group continue to be exemplary.
Looking forward to 2019, Incoming Chairman, Bobby Teachey, touched on his goal of CYP continuing to make an impact on the community by increasing engagement with students through Career Academies and events like #YPAMA. By attending CYP events, you give yourself an edge and are more informed and engaged in your community. You never know how the connections you make at through CYP can help you in the future. Teachey encouraged CYP members to get involved saying that “change will not come if we wait for it, or we wait for another person to solve it. The change we want to see is now.”
Our featured speaker was Amir Golestan, Chief Executive Officer for Micfo. Amir started Micfo in 1999 from his bedroom in Dubai at the age of 16. For the next several years, in a classic entrepreneurial manner, he built Micfo into a globally certified cloud provider serving customers across 90 countries.
These days, Golestan’s company, Micfo, is headquartered in Charleston, has a global footprint of 53 data centers across five continents, and Amir still has a personal stake in ensuring his company delivers the responsive, friendly, and knowledgeable 24/7 support he promises.
Golestan told us about his childhood, growing up in a family where money was tight to non-existent. At one point, after emigrating to Dubai, his family was so poor, they were living in the back of a stable. He says he learned several valuable lessons from his father, one being that taking care of people is the cornerstone of your business. His father worked his way up from nothing and eventually owned a small chain of restaurant and he went to every single table and greeted every single person. When Amir told him he didn’t need to do that, he has manager to do that, his father said that he has to do that because his customers and his employees keep his business going. You can have the best customers in the word, but if you don’t have good employees, you will lose them. Conversely, you can have the best employees in the world, but without customers, you won’t have a business for long. This is why Amir learned to put people first in business and that will make you an effective leader.
Another great lesson he learned from his father is the art of self-reliance. Amir’s father brought him a computer, a huge investment for the family, and told him that he would not fix it or pay for classes. Before buying the computer, Amir made a deal with a friend at the computer store that he would be able to borrow books and learn how to fix the computer when it breaks. Knowing that he had no other option, he stretched himself to learn how to do new things so that he could continue working with the computer that he was passionate about.
Amir’s big lesson for all of us was to persevere and be open minded about your future. He didn’t set out to be where he is today, but he was open minded about the opportunities that he took. Amir also says that the biggest asset we all have to succeed in a professional and personal level are our soft skills and work ethic. Having that mind set, of working hard and not giving up, “good deeds, good words, good thoughts” will make you successful.