Kamal Shouhayib, an Outstanding Businessman
By: Yasmina Hage/ Arab America Contributing Writer
Kamal Shouhayib is a Lebanese man who immigrated to the United States when he was 19 and studied Engineering for three years at Michigan Technological University. He is the perfect example of immigrants who arrive and learn to appreciate the culture and all the beautiful aspects that their host countries have to offer. Immigrants are proud to be a part of their host country, but that doesn’t mean they forget where they come from. Indeed, their country of origin always has a special place in their hearts no matter what happens. Kamal has done a lot for his host country, the United States, which he loves and for his beloved country of origin, Lebanon. He is a selfless businessman with his heart on his sleeve. Kamal’s altruism can also be seen in his wife, Yasmine, and has been transmitted to all their children; Rob, Omar, Nada, and Sarah. They all love being able to help their community and people in Lebanon.
“We consider ourselves like a rotary family,” said Kamal
A little more about Kamal Shouhayib
Kamal Shouhayib lives in Troy, Michigan, and he has a company named The Choice Group. This company is committed to continuously promoting an environment where each associate can develop their full potential while working in harmony to achieve their shared objectives.
As said earlier, he is a man with his heart on his hand, so many wonder how this feeling came about. Kamal Shouhayib responded to us about this question:
« In our Lebanese heritage, giving is a very important aspect of it and also being generous and caring for others. In 1956 when we had a horrible earthquake in Lebanon, there was much famine and buildings were destroyed. At this time, I was 10 years old, and we received packages of chocolates and cookies from America. I was so surprised, and I questioned myself, “why the Americans care about Lebanese people?” That’s when my interest in America really started. As a result of my interest, at a very young age, I have decided that I want to come to America, which I did!”
Once he arrived there, he didn’t want to leave because, for him, America is so great, and Americans are so generous.
“They love to give to charity, and no country in the world gives as America for charity,” said Kamal.
Finally, many people wonder themselves, “How did Kamal Shouhayib succeed when he arrived in America?” because he convinced his father to let him come to the United States with just a plane ticket and $1000. He wanted to manage on his own once he arrived. As a result, here is his advice to succeed:
“In my judgment, America is the greatest country in the world, and one of the greatest attributes is that America is the land of free enterprise. Anyone can do it in America because if you really abide by the system, you will succeed.”
He thinks that if you have a dream or goal, and you are really eager to achieve it, that you can do anything; so you can succeed.
“You can really achieve your dream in America. Of course, it doesn’t come easily, and you have to work hard, be well organized, and passionate in order to succeed,” said Kamal.
What is Kamal Shouhayib doing to help Lebanon?
Kamal loves Lebanon very much. In fact, he always goes to Lebanon about three times a year, and he usually spends at least one month there. In addition, he made a tremendous effort to help his country. Here some of his actions!
Being in America, he decided to join Rotary, a service organization that believes in giving. The goal of Rotary is for the well being of kids all over the world.
“I was so attracted to the rotary idea, and that’s why I joined. Rotary is the largest organization that gives scholarships to people all over the world. Rotary sponsors, many kids to come to America, and has a project in Lebanon that started five years ago, which is cleaning and making the water portable in all the public schools in Lebanon (There are 12 000 public schools in Lebanon.) They brought new filter, new pips, etc. so the private school have drinkable water,” said Kamal.
In Lebanon, Rotary has 28 clubs, and there are 7 000 members in those clubs.
“Many years ago, we gave scholarships to the kids, the public schools, we gave money to the hospitals, and the latest one that we did is that we sent a global grant to Lebanon a couple of weeks ago where we bought 12 respirators to the government because they don’t have some. We are also sending masks and more to help them fight the pandemic,” said Kamal.
“Besides my effort in Rotary, I also belong to a great association called the ATFL; It’s a group of American Business people and politicians that work with congress to keep good relationships with Lebanon and keep helping the Lebanese people and the Lebanese school like AUB and LAU. They are also working on finding ways to freeze the politician’s stolen money and give it back to the Lebanese people.
“The government takes everything from our people,” said Kamal.
The ATFL has also done other charitable projects for Lebanon in the last couple moth. In fact, they are sending a plane with medical supplies and equipment. Kamal stated that he is very proud to be part of the ATFL.
Nonetheless, Kamal thinks that to really help Lebanon, you need to invest and to help people find a job, and that’s what he is doing with his wife, Yasmine. They are building a beautiful subdivision in an American style in Lebanon in his hometown, Aley. This subdivision is called Beyt NASA. This name refers to the American NASA to represent his host country, but it is also because his daughters are called Nadia and Sarah. Thus, they took the beginning of each of their first names.
“We are proud to shear our experience in America by bringing it to Lebanon and build something exciting that people can enjoy,” said Kamal.
That project creates opportunities for Lebanese people by creating jobs, and it’s also something Kamal can be proud of.
What is he doing to help the United States?
As you have seen, he is very fond of this wonderful country that is the United States, and that is why he also wanted to be active there. What he loves the most in America is the fact that everyone can succeed even if they are not rich.
“I believe in helping your community by doing business where you benefited from,” said Kamal.
About 32 years ago, he and his wife wanted to shear their love for America, so they started a partnership with troy schools. What they came up with, because they wanted to shear their love and excitement about America with the kids, every year they put together a writing contest called “proud to be an American” so the kids can write what they love about America.
“I believe that a good business should give back to the community where you make money,” added Kamal.
It should be noted that he also belongs to many organizations in the city.
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