One Immigrant’s Path to Success: Omid Kordestani

Omid Kordestani, an Electrical Engineering alumnus, has grown to become one of the most influential and iconic leaders in Silicon Valley. From his position as the 11th employee at Google to his current role as Twitter’s Executive Chairman, Kordestani has left a positive mark on many companies and people throughout the years.

Kordestani has been recognized for his efforts within the College of Engineering. In 2005, Kordestani received the Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2008, he made a $3 million gift to the college, establishing the Kordestani Endowed Chair to support faculty teaching in multidisciplinary programs.

Kordestani first arrived in San Jose in the 1970s after his father passed away. As an immigrant from Iran, he often shares his story of trying to find familiarity while embracing a new life in the United States. He also considers himself lucky, with a smooth immigration process and his safe arrival to the states right before Iran began its path through years of turmoil.

While in high school, Kordestani took a philosophy course here at SJSU and knew he belonged here because the university offered him a strong educational foundation. Immediately after graduation, Kordestani was recruited by Hewlett-Packard and quickly realized his engineering degree could be applied in ways he had not expected.

Kordestani is known for his light-hearted jokes and contagious laughter--something that got him through life when he was meeting challenges and overcoming numerous obstacles.

When addressing a graduating class of SJSU Engineering students, Kordestani reminded students to "Think and act like an immigrant."

"What I mean by that immigrant attitude is that you’ve got to continually fight," said Kordestani, "challenge yourself. You’ve got to make yourself uncomfortable so you can grow from that."

Click here to read The Mercury News’ article about Kordestani’s story as an immigrant.