Zaya Younan’s family came to America from Iran after he made the bold decision to move there by himself as a 13-year-old boy. After working several low-level jobs, he spent over a decade as a young executive with companies across the business spectrum, including General Motors, Johnson Controls, and TRW. In 2002, at age 39, he founded Southern California-based commercial real estate company Younan Properties, where he remains chairman and CEO. The company has a portfolio of high-rise office buildings in the United States worth $2.8B.
Younan always wanted to own castles in Europe, and he eventually succeeded in this endeavour. He moved into the luxury hotel business, golf courses, cigars, and wines, with plans for broader expansion. The larger Younan Company, the eponymous family business, now employs four of his five children. The fifth child is still in high school.
Younan’s personality is one that succeeds in life by taking risks and pushing envelopes. He sees education as a tool to get where he wants to be, and he worked his way up to a CEO position by optimizing his youth. He promised himself that he would be the first one in and the last one to leave the entire company. People would ask why he was working when he wasn’t getting paid, but he wasn’t just working for the company; he was working to mould himself.
After a successful career in engineering, production, purchasing, and advertising, Zaya Younan built his fortune and invested it in properties. He eventually started his own company in real estate and property management. His passion for taking risks and persevering to reach the final goal is something he’s had since a very early age.