Alumnus realizes ‘American dream’

Apr 07, 2021
Rashed Chowdhury

Rashed Chowdhury ‘07 has realized many goals in his life — two of his most recent, starting his own company and authoring a book.

“Building a Salesforce-Powered Front Office: A Quick-Start Guide” was released in paperback March 5, 2021.

Rashed’s motivation for the project came from working in corporate America for 20+ years and experiencing challenges that many individuals in the business world undergo.

The book serves as a guide to using Salesforce, a highly popular customer relationship management software on today’s market.

As Rashed shares in his book, “it’s difficult to overcome a wrong first impression. … If customers have a good experience with your company, you can bet they will be back again and again.”

But to understand why this project was important to Rashed, a little time travel is necessary.

An American dream

When he was a young boy living in Bangladesh, Rashed liked to watch American Western movies on television and decided he wanted to live in America when he grew up.

With financial help and a lot of encouraging support from his parents, his first big life goal was accomplished.

“I told my parents I wanted to pursue a degree in America,” explained Rashed. “Obviously, in a poor country compared to where we are, you can imagine a reaction when I told my parents. It is pretty expensive, tuition and boarding and cost of living.

“My father — my hero — he said, ‘Son, you go to America and I will support you.’ He sold some properties that he had in his village and he funded my entire program.”

At age 18, he packed his bags and moved to Minnesota where he attended St. Cloud State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

Rashed and Sameena (center) with their boys, Imaad and Imran.

In late 2000, he met Sameena, who would eventually become his wife. From there, they began to build a life together.

They decided to move to Missouri, where Sameena was born and raised, so they could be close to her family. Eventually, they would move to Wichita, Kansas. While working at Protection 1 Security Solutions, Rashed learned about the opportunity to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Newman University with financial assistance from his employer.

Rashed’s experience at Newman was positive from the beginning. He was able to learn crucial business speaking skills while working on professional development and the results were showing in the form of promotions at his work.

Because he was working full time, the course load was taking place on evenings and weekends. He said the faculty and staff support were one of the top reasons he saw success.

“It wasn’t really easy for a working professional to pursue and complete an MBA, so the staff and faculty in the program … they really helped by providing one-on-one experience. They helped me understand the class assignments and how those related to my professional job.”

Rashed said the writing and strategic thinking he learned at Newman have been essential to his career and former classmates that he still keeps in touch with agree.

“I have friends who attended that MBA program and we often talk about our time there. My fellow graduates … they are in good places in their life and we talk about how profoundly Newman helped us. The experience was unique, the on-campus experience and the student setting is very learning-friendly. So peaceful.”

Rashed and his wife now live in Georgia with their two sons, Imaad and Imran. They made the move shortly after his graduation from Newman’s MBA program and the birth of their oldest son, Imaad.

Becoming an author

After their move to Georgia, Rashed became the global vice president of Saleforce development at Crawford & Company based out of Atlanta. He also began teaching as a part-time adjunct faculty member for the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

Sometime in mid-2019, Rashed was sharing best practices with clients. He slowly began visualizing his book and the idea became more of a holistic concept overall.

Rashed poses with his newly published book.

He had a great deal of experience in consultant work with Fortune 500 companies and he saw their challenges and frustrations but also noticed their achievements with Salesforce.

“That really motivated me. There weren’t enough materials when I was doing Salesforce so I discovered a passion to share my knowledge and experience.”

He began working with publishing company Apress and technical reviewer, Jarrod Kingston. Rashed’s ideas were organized and the chapters were born as Kingston provided verification and feedback along the way.

“From introduction to the cover design and the book theme, they really helped me,” Rashed said. “I outlined everything, completing each chapter over time and getting it reviewed as we went. The whole project took about a year and a half.”

A new business

Writing a book wasn’t the only goal Rashed recently realized. Before his book idea came to fruition, he had left the company he was working for to start a company of his own.

“I have always wanted to do this, it’s just that the timing was never right. But time is of the essence.”

Finding entrepreneurship inspiration from Charles G. Koch and his book, “Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World’s Largest Private Company,” Rashed focused on the concepts of innovation, compliance and fiscal responsibility.

He started SalesHub in 2018, a consulting firm and Salesforce consulting partner.

His aspiration is to hire and build the next generation of leaders, giving young professionals within his local community and around the country a chance to succeed. Rashed wants to build his employee base to at least 15 by the end of 2021.

His favorite part of owning a business? Solving challenges and problems.

“By definition I am a builder, I am a software developer. I build software. So solving complex problems and finding new and improved business solutions to make things better. The constant struggle is making it better while staying affordable. It’s not overnight. It takes time. I believe in my heart the time is right and SalesHub one day will be greatly successful.”

Looking to the future

Rashed’s experience in America is inspirational. He said coming to a new country all by himself, starting at a university and learning a new language was challenging.

“My college roommate, Josh, was a 6-foot-tall blond hair, blue-eyed man — and here I come and the culture aspect was huge. Spending time with Josh, it was that experience that helped me to become the man I am today; picking up the language and the American concept.

“It is fascinating to me; not only did I pick up the language, but I picked up the American dream. I love America, it is a country of opportunity. No matter where you come from, if you try and work hard, you can be successful.”

Rashed is looking forward to seeing his own children grow, to realize their own goals and dreams. 

“I came with just one suitcase. I was a young boy. Now fast forward to today, I have two sons and my wife, and the corporate job experience — I’m beyond humbled and thankful.”

Rashed with his family.

But when asked what he most wants his boys to learn, his response was just one word — tolerance.

“Live and let live. Accepting people the way they are. Love them and respect them. This is something I see — including myself — in our day to day. We forget about it. We get rude. These little things that make us mad aren’t relevant. Everyone has a story.

“I get a little carried away I guess. I see a lot of things that are happening in America that are negative, but I remain positive and optimistic and I absolutely see the good in America.”