How Burkina Faso immigrant Adissa Barry became a self-made U.S. millionaire

Abu Mubarik August 16, 2022
Adissa Barry. Photo credit: screenshot via VOA

Meet Adissa Barry. She is a business owner in the State of Maryland, which reportedly had the second highest number of millionaires in 2020, according to an article published by Kiplinger.com. Barry is originally from Burkina Faso and has been in America for more than 30 years.

She is a decorated business owner and founder of electrical construction company Tei Electrical Solutions with annual revenue averaging $25 million, according to VOA.

“When I got to this country, my major was accounting. I got my bachelor’s in accounting and then I had a part-time job in a construction company and I worked for the construction company as a controller for about 12 years,” she said.

According to her, while working for the construction company, she noticed that many CPAs were not familiar with construction accounting. However, it was something she understood very well in school.

When the opportunity presented itself, Barry opened her own business and was offering construction management. After, she landed a business partner with an electrical engineering background, who suggested changes to the structure of the business.

Barry was open to the idea and that is how she got herself into electrical engineering. To claim her place in this male-dominated business, she demonstrated resilience by learning things outside of her skill set.

“I am a woman’s own business. I am a minority own business too. When you go to apply for those certifications, they want to make sure that you at least have a good knowledge of the business. So how do you get it, you have to educate yourself. I was going to evening classes, cutting all these wirings and taking electrical courses,” Barry, a self-made millionaire in the U.S., said.

Quoting the words of her teacher in Burkina Faso, she said, “the definition of a businessman or woman is somebody who takes a risk. The risk can be positive or the risk can be negative. And he or she is mentally prepared for whatever the outcome of that risk is going to be” Barry said it was her biggest inspiration to becoming a business owner.

According to her, she never thought about being rich but the first risk of opening her business was the first risk she took. “And I am glad I took that risk,” she said.

Barry, now in her 50s, has two children. Her daughter is an interior designer while her son is an IT specialist, who works in one of the top five Silicon Valley technology firms.

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