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Monthly Spotlight: Shah Nawaz

Shah M. Nawaz, a businessman and social activist, has emerged as a symbol of success and philanthropy. From his roots in Bangladesh to the echelons of American business, his journey is a compelling narrative of perseverance, strategic acumen, and heartfelt community service. He is the President & CEO or numerous businesses like Golden Age Home Care Inc., NY Insurance Brokerage Inc., NY Car & Limo Services Inc., Perfect Age Adult Day Care among others. Besides business he is actively involved socially and serves as the President of NY Bangladeshi American Lions Club (District 20-R2) among others.

 

In this interview we delve deep into Mr. Nawaz's life story, exploring the myriad facets that make up this influential figure.

 

Mr. Nawaz, your story is a remarkable example of the American Dream. Let's begin at the start. Can you tell us about your upbringing?

 

Shah Nawaz: Certainly. I grew up in Bangladesh, a country brimming with cultural richness and resilience. My upbringing was grounded in the values of hard work, education, and community spirit. My family always encouraged me to look beyond our immediate surroundings and aspire for greater achievements. These values have been the bedrock of my journey and successes.

 

What inspired you to pursue higher education and ultimately move to the United States?

 

Shah Nawaz: From a young age, I was fascinated by the world of business and economics. Pursuing higher education was a natural step for me, driven by a desire to explore these fields in depth. My academic journey at the University of Dhaka was enlightening and opened my eyes to global opportunities. The move to the United States was fueled by a desire to challenge myself in a diverse and dynamic environment, pushing the boundaries of what I could achieve.

 

Arriving in a new country often comes with challenges. What were some of the initial hurdles you faced in the U.S., and how did you navigate them?

 

Shah Nawaz: The initial transition was indeed a challenge. Adapting to a new culture, language, and business environment required resilience and adaptability. I started by embracing the opportunities that came my way, no matter how small, and gradually built a foundation for my entrepreneurial ventures. It was a period of intense learning and gradual adjustment.

 

You have established a diverse business portfolio. What was your first business venture in the U.S., and how did it pave the way for your future endeavors?

 

Shah Nawaz: My whole life I have been involved in business. Back in Bangladesh I was in retail and production businesses. When I came here to the US, I changed track a bit in the sense that I realized that service-oriented businesses are a better fit for me. I started with the insurance brokerage business. Back when I started there were no Bangladeshi American owned business in this industry. Back then, I knew people from the community who used to drive yellow cab. I realized how there were a lot of gaps in this industry for the people in our community. They were not well informed of the insurance policy options available and also had troubles with taxi & limousine regulations. So, to help the community, I started a brokerage. This initial success gave me the confidence and capital to venture into other sectors, including home healthcare, media, and real estate. Each venture brought new learning experiences, shaping my approach to business and leadership.

 

Particularly for home care it made sense because it is also a service-oriented business. This industry is not about making money but more importantly about providing crucial, necessary services who need it. People from local communities have a lot of barriers like language barrier, cultural barrier and such. Our home care agency approaches people while understanding the particular needs and barriers of a person which makes our service so important.

 

Your philanthropic efforts are widely recognized, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. What drives your commitment to community service? You are also active politically. What motivates that?

 

Shah Nawaz: My commitment to philanthropy is rooted in the belief that with success comes the responsibility to give back. The pandemic highlighted the need for collective action and support for those in need. Organizing health drives, distributing essentials, and supporting vulnerable groups was a way to make a tangible difference. It's about using my resources and network to positively impact lives.

 

Now for my political activism, you have to recognize that politics is important especially when it comes to the purpose of attaining representation and recognition particularly for minority, local communities like ours. Because our community is active, in New York City you can get city services in Bengali. When you go to voting sites, you can see instructions written in Bengali. These types of achievements, no matter how trivial it may seem, makes our community more empowered and involved and active in the civil processes of New York City and the United States at large. My involvement with political activism is based on that. That I want to further help build these bridges and ensure our voices are being heard and represented.

 

As a leader in various community organizations, what role do you see these groups playing in supporting immigrant communities in the U.S.?

 

Shah Nawaz: These organizations are vital in providing a support network for immigrants. They offer resources, advocacy, and a platform for cultural and professional exchange. My role has been to ensure these organizations address the unique challenges of our community effectively, fostering integration and empowerment.

 

Among the numerous awards and recognitions, you've received, is there one that stands out for you?

 

Shah Nawaz: Each recognition is significant, but those acknowledging my community service are particularly special. Being honored by city and congressional leaders for my community and business contributions reaffirms the impact of our collective efforts and motivates me to continue this work.

 

Can you share how your family has influenced your journey?

 

Shah Nawaz: My family has been a constant source of support and inspiration. My wife, Rano, and my children, Sadman and Sadia, have been understanding of the demands of my work. They have shared in my joys and challenges, providing the emotional grounding that is essential in a journey like mine. I am deeply grateful for their love and support.

 

What advice would you offer to young entrepreneurs, particularly those from immigrant backgrounds?

 

Shah Nawaz: My advice is to stay resilient, embrace your unique background, and continuously seek knowledge. Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with uncertainties, but it's important to stay focused on your goals. Your unique experiences as an immigrant can provide a distinct perspective and an edge in the business world.

 

Looking to the future, what are your plans or aspirations, both professionally and in your philanthropic work?

 

Shah Nawaz: Professionally, I aim to expand into new markets and explore innovative ventures. In terms of philanthropy, I want to intensify efforts particularly for underserved communities. The goal is to create lasting, sustainable impact through both business and social initiatives.

 

Mr. Nawaz, it's been an honor discussing your journey and insights. Your story is not just one of personal success but also of community impact. Thank you for sharing it with us.

 

Shah Nawaz: Thank you for the opportunity. It's been a pleasure, and I hope my story inspires others to pursue their dreams and contribute positively to their communities.

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