The People’s Ambassador.
Mother. Job Creator. The People’s Ambassador.
The Privilege of U.S. Citizenship
I was born in Lebanon and am a Phoenician. As a young child, my parents were privileged enough to come to the United States to start a new life. Prior to immigrating, my family experienced the infiltration of Lebanon from outside her borders due to a lack of border security. This resulted in war that tore the country apart. Lebanon was no longer “The Paris of the Middle-East” and not the place my parents wanted to raise their children. Coming from the war-torn, economically fragile Lebanon, the U.S. offered opportunity, safety, and freedom. We became productive citizens and contributed meaningfully to our community. We understood, through experience, that being a U.S. citizen was a privilege granted to us, not an entitlement owed to us.
The Gebran family has been in the United States since 1887 and has a history of serving their communities
Shortly after their arrival to the United States in 1887, members of my family opened a grocery and butcher shop in Sioux City, Iowa. They gained the acceptance of their community through their generosity during the Great Depression. Terfone & Gebran Groceries trustingly allowed families to run tabs on groceries and pay when they could. In 1981, George and Assad Gebran, my uncle and father, as owners of The Butterfly Cafe in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, pioneered the first-ever Thanksgiving Dinner for the homeless. They along with their wives, children, nieces, and nephews spent Thanksgiving day serving hundreds of homeless. This model was adopted by many and has become a common occurrence. We kept our tradition of generosity alive during the Covid shortages. All six U.S. Egg locations throughout the valley opened the U.S. Egg Marketplace where they sold essential items like sugar, flour, eggs, butter, milk, and of course, bath tissue at zero markup to their community. Personally, I’ve been privileged to work with St. Jude since 1997. In 2017, I chaired the inaugural “Night In…Gala”.
Living the Gift of the American Dream
Sponsored by members of the Gebran family, my immediate family arrived in the United States in the late 70’s. My father was 34 years old, my mother 29. In addition to working full time, at the end of their long day my parents attended English classes out of reverence for their host country. My parents taught me, through example, that hard work and conservative spending yield success. And succeed we did. Only a few years after having arrived in the U.S. my parents opened their first restaurant. Shortly after, this became many restaurants and led to other endeavors. My own journey started at the age of 12 working in my parents’ first restaurant. I started in the kitchen, then waited tables. By the age of 16, I was managing our restaurant with 30 employees. In high-school, I was a manager, full-time student, mentor to other students, and an athlete.
Coming to the Valley of the Sun
Our family moved to Phoenix Arizona in 1991 making me, once again, a Phoenician. During our college years, my brothers and I, with the help of my parents, established the first U.S. Egg restaurant in Tempe. It was the first of six. Afterward, I went to New York City to work in the fashion industry. Despite my love of fashion and working with the industry’s finest, I found it wasn’t the right fit for me. Being of the mindset that living on the two coasts would further my personal development, I went to Los Angeles. It was there that I was recruited by an entrepreneur and his team who were formulating the outsourcing of call centers to India. It was a terrific success — our team of Conscientious Entrepreneurs was invited by the governments of Pakistan, South Africa, and Fiji to replicate our business model in their countries. During my years in those countries, I participated in complicated and sensitive diplomacy work and used my influence to encourage less restrictive laws on women and championed their financial independence. Our efforts in India are said to have been the catalyst for the emergence of India’s middle class.
My parents raised me to live a life of intention — making me a person who enjoys maximum success in the endeavors I choose. So when I decided to become a mother, I put my career aside and returned to the United States to give my children the best and most I could. For the last 14 years, my focus has been on instilling wholesome and productive values in my children, preparing them to be world-class citizens who can contribute meaningfully. They are my greatest accomplishment. Now that they are established in school and are becoming independent and self-sufficient, I have the capacity to dedicate myself to serving my state.
Why I’m Running
The thing that keeps me up at night and led me to step up—there is a full-court press from the left towards making government the ultimate authority controlling society. We’ve all watched the blatant government overreach during the last several years and I remain vehemently opposed. When the government replaces God, the family, parents, churches, and other social structures, like Communist China, you’re left with total reliance on bureaucrats. When the government decides your house, your worth to the state in income, what car you drive, and even the number of children you’re allowed to have, they’re deleting the free will that God gave you to fulfill your personal dreams and potential. After watching the government take over so much of life during COVID-19, the unimaginable in America is no longer that difficult to imagine. It’s authoritarianism – the root behind dangerous philosophies like communism and socialism.