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Tuesday, 27 August 2013 21:23

Celebrating 37 Years in the Land of Opportunity

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August 27, 1976, seems so long ago but it feels like yesterday. It was on that day that I took my first steps on American soil at JFK airport determined to make a life on my own.  I had left my loving family in Greece to join a host family in the Boston area as an exchange student, in search of a future that I hoped I'd have a hand in influencing instead of accepting what was served to me by the status quo.  So without language skills, or knowledge of people or culture, I set out to prove to myself that I could.

summer-1978From then on my story is not unlike from that of millions of immigrants who chose to leave the comfort of home, familiar surroundings and support systems in search of the American Dream, nor different from every young person’s brave first steps out along that quivering, indefinite, yet ultimately rewarding wire of risk.

That August day 37 years ago, marked the beginning of the ride of a lifetime and I’ve since celebrated this day as my second birthday.  Much like a baby’s arrival to this world marks the opportunity for its parents to raise a happy, well-adjusted, confident, unentitled adult, my arrival to this country gave me the chance to do anything I was creative enough to dream, daring enough to risk, and disciplined enough to lead myself to my goal.  It gave me the opportunity to become my own person, the opportunity to become Persephone’s father, Juliana’s husband, the employer of more than 1,000 people, a mentor to many, and the leader of myself and those who believe in what I hold dear; respect for self and others, ethics, integrity, team spirit, performance toward the common goal, and actionable compassion for those less fortunate.

In the past 37 years I’ve lived a productive, satisfying life.  Sure I worked for it.  Yes, there were challenges but, there were many more opportunities; opportunities that would have never come my way had I not chosen to make this country my home.

I believed then and I believe today, that America gave me everything and nothing at all.  It gave me no special treatment, no easy passes, no entitlements but, it gave me everything by allowing me to partake in the same opportunities available to everyone else, and that isn’t something that can be found in too many places on this planet.

As I reflect and celebrate the last 37 years, I am humbled and I feel blessed beyond words for the life I've been able to lead in this country of ours, and look forward to the future because I know that my best days, and those of this land, are yet to come.

Chris Efessiou

About Chris Efessiou:  Chris Efessiou is an entrepreneur, business leader, educator, mentor, international speaker, radio show host, and best-selling author of CDO Chief Daddy Officer: The Business of Fatherhood  based on his own experience from raising his daughter as a single dad by applying his business knowledge to the business of parenting.  Listen to Chris’s weekly Radio Show Straight Up With Chris:  Real Talk on Business and Parenthood on Voice America Radio.  You may connect with Chris on Facebook, follow on Twitter and visit