Rewriting the Narrative with Armando “Tito” Tam
We are highlighting a previous episode of the ¿Quién Tú Eres? podcast, where we explore the conflict we often face between "professionalism" & being our authentic selves.
Armando "Tito" Tam has spent his life achieving his personal and professional goals using what he calls the "Achieving Dopeness" mindset. Armando, of Chinese Nicaraguan heritage, immigrated to the United States at a young age. His relentless pursuit of his dreams have allowed him to own his own real estate brokerage firm, perform with Will Smith, collaborate with celebrity chefs like Douglas Rodriguez, become a part of the leadership at the National Association Of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals(NAHREP) as well as partner in other joint ventures such as L'attitude. Armando is currently working on launching Comidazo, a business platform showcasing his love and passion for food & wine, culture and business. Armando credits his value of mentorship and unwillingness to compromise his goals as the primary drivers of his success.
In this conversation, Armando Tam takes us on a journey through his experience between professionalism and authenticity.
These are some of the episode highlights:
Armando was born in Nicaragua but due to the turmoil, his parents came here for a better quality of life. He says “That typical Latinos in the 80’s, lived in multi-family homes where we were living with the Tia, Abuela, and Cousins in a three or four bedroom apartment,” Unfortunately, this continues to be the narrative for newly arrived immigrants short on cash and options.
Armando recalls that you don't really get the experience of growing up in the streets when you have lots of family at home ensuring you are safe and cared for. Armando reported growing up in a diverse but very poor neighborhood and states, “Next door neighbors were drug dealers, Salvadorans, Vietnamese, and Persians. Therefore, it's not foreign to me to deal with different nationalities.”
While living in this multi-family home, Armando would help his mom make tamales to sell during the weekend. He was also in karate because his father was a karateca. “I didn’t have time to absorb the potential jabs that society was giving you at that age,” Armando says.
Armando feels his parents instilled some great values because his father taught him about defending himself, while his mother assigned him chores in exchange for an allowance. Armando jokingly mentions that his father acted like a father and not like his best friend. Through his many interactions with family, Armando learned that, “The best mentors aren’t the ones that talk to you but the ones that you’re able to spend time with and see how you do it.” Which further proves that we do, in fact, learn by example. As a result of that, he always saw that you become an average of the people you spend time with.
“Growing up I would work 8-5pm, go to college, had a side hustle- run nightclubs, teach salsa lessons,” Armando says when talking about the many things he dabbled in while growing up. He then opens up about a conversation with an esteemed colleague who questioned his lack of commitment, Armando responded by saying, “It’s not that I'm not committed, it's that I’ve always been raised to have two to three different things because you have to save to make a living, for a rainy day, and for building wealth.” Fortunately for Armando, receiving these invaluable lessons from a young age has helped him succeed without formal education. However, many of us are not that lucky and have to stumble several times before learning similar lessons.
Armando is adamant when he says that the way to overcome insecurity is through preparation, performance, and being ready to get knocked down so it won't happen again. In other words, if there’s a goal or vision that requires resilience it is best to keep getting up when knocked down which will further assist in combating insecurity.
Armando reiterates that he is not complacent but in order to continue growing he must learn to accept criticism and get past it, because there are times you just have to embrace as well as learn from the things God has placed in front of you.
He encourages us to place ourselves in situations where you’re doing business in the realm of who you are because it makes it easier. It does not help to be something you’re not, since there is so much opportunity in the comfort zone of what people want. Therefore, he believes it just takes time to disconnect to ask what you’re great at because you’ll never work another day in your life. Armando is a firm believer in the fact that, “If you love it, you wont quit.”
Armando “Tito” Tam inspires us to change the narrative by showing up as our authentic selves.
Listen to this episode to learn more about his journey: Spotify & Apple Podcasts
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