Born in Syria, Scott Safadi obviously has a very personal interest in the civil war currently tearing the country apart. In a recent conversation, Scott recalled some of the more important events in his life that have made him the successful California businessman that he is today.
Q: How old were you when you left Syria to come to the U.S.?
Scott Safadi: I came here with my father when I was only two. Several years prior to that, my uncle had come to the U.S. to study for a civil engineering career.
Q: Did your family speak English?
Scott Safadi: No, actually neither one of my parents did. I actually learned English by watching the television show Sesame Street. I still speak Arabic fluently, although it’s by no means as good as my English at this point!
Q: Where did you go to school?
Scott Safadi: My father worked nights managing a restaurant. Even though that job didn’t bring him a lot of money, he was determined that I would get a good education. He was able to keep me in a private school until the beginning of third grade, when I had to start attending a public school.
Q: Was that a difficult transition?
Scott Safadi: The hardest part was adjusting to the fact that, compared to the private school I’d attended, it wasn’t challenging–I hardly learned anything new between the third and fifth grades. My dad made a big sacrifice then, moving us from San Jose to the Los Gatos school district. We rented a very modest apartment there the summer before my 6th grade year.
Q: That seems to have been a very wise decision…
Scott Safadi: Oh, no doubt! My father definitely made the right move. I loved going to school there; it was challenging. As I approached graduation from high school, my top college choice, Dartmouth, accepted my application. And because of our hardship financial situation, due to my father’s heath, I was offered a full ride scholarship. I will forever by indebted to Dartmouth for this opportunity.
Q: Can you share the most impactful thing Dartmouth offered you, and that you have leveraged for your business success today?
Scott Safadi: Dartmouth was transformative! The community there is extremely tight knit, both on and off-campus. Even today, I stayed connected to the school through the DAASV (Dartmouth Alumni Association of Silicon Valley). We are extremely fortunate to have an organization like this to keep us all in touch.
My experience at Dartmouth liberated me to start my own company rather than following the herd. It gave me the courage to explore new horizons, gave me a huge appreciation for the outdoors, and kindled a love for backpacking and mountain biking.
Q: What did you do following graduation from Dartmouth?
Scott Safadi: I graduated in 2003 and moved back to the Bay Area to start my own property management company. I was lucky to find the woman of my dreams, we married and now enjoy a happy life with our daughter.