Jack Georges founded his namesake company in 1987 at the age of 29. Since then, he’s been helping set the standard for leather business cases and bags in America.
Jack Georges is also an immigrant.
We sat down with Jack to hear his story and to hear why immigration matters to him. And we’re so glad we did. We learned that being an immigrant has significantly helped him in his career – his journey – in the United States. And, it’s led him to foster an international workforce of his own, giving others the opportunity to find success – oh, and build up a company founded on quality and dependability at the same time.
Jack left Lebanon for the U.S. during a time of civil war at the young age of 18. Starting out in the U.S. with a work visa, he was awarded his green card shortly thereafter and made leaps, rather than strides, in his career very quickly. He became vice president of Elizabeth Leather within a few years, and by the time he was 23, he was managing almost 150 employees.
When he left his job and founded Jack Georges, Inc. in the middle of a recession, he defied all odds and expectations. The company became a success within the first year. And it’s still a leading name in the U.S. leather industry today.
How was Jack able to achieve such success at such a young age?
Being displaced from his culture, he told us, and cut off from his friends and life back home, helped him focus his attention to work and his career. This is one way being an immigrant in America has helped him succeed.
Because of his experience, Jack has an innate passion for hiring global talent and giving opportunities to people from other countries make their way in America. He’s found that hiring foreign nationals has given his own organization access to languages and inside-knowledge of different cultures it would not have otherwise had. It’s helped the companies he’s worked with deal with partners and customers in other parts of the world. Having someone on the team with a foot in the local culture, customs and language brings confidence to business dealings and better relationships.
His aim is to avoid what he calls a “country club” feel in the workplace – where everyone thinks and acts in the same way. It’s essential for any business to mix together multiple cultures, languages and perspectives, he told us. A global employee base, from his experience, helps soften the transition for any foreign national who comes to work for him. It helps him find the best talent to fill any open roles.
Why does immigration matter to Jack Georges?
Jack’s perspective has shown him just how much immigration has helped grow the economy in the U.S. So much so that it’s hard for him to understand the logic of protectionism. In his eyes, immigrants aren’t taking jobs away from American citizens – immigrants work, eat, spend money, buy homes and activate the economy in a very tangible way.
Immigration is about opportunity – opportunities for foreign nationals, for American organizations, for the economy as a whole. That’s why immigration means something to Jack Georges.