FATIMA HASAN CALLAHAN
Fatima appears in the Top 100
People in Real Estate magazine.
Fatima Hasan Callahan
From her earliest days of childhood, Fatima Hasan Callahan was destined to be an entrepreneur, as she grew up in the business world—quite literally. In 1986, her parents launched American Kitchen Delights, a food manufacturer and co-packer of fresh and frozen foods. Fatima began accompanying her parents to work each day and spent hours in the playroom next to her mother’s office. She also became familiar with the production and assembly lines, where she learned how to speak fluent Spanish. Later, while pursuing her bachelor’s degree, Fatima worked her way through every position, learning the ins and outs of the business and gaining invaluable knowledge and experience. Upon graduation, she took on the role of department manager. However, that is not where her success story ends. Today, 25-year-old Fatima is an entrepreneurial force of nature, leading American Kitchen Delights as well as three other thriving companies in Harvey, Illinois—Ameri Realty, Blue Line Security Solutions, and The Good Music Collectiv—and she’s just getting started. Although each business is uniquely different, they share one purposeful commonality, for underlying them all is her unwavering commitment to build, transform, and improve communities as well as the lives of the people within them.
We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Fatima to learn more about her extraordinary family, the four growing companies she leads, and her passion for breaking barriers both as a woman, and as a first-generation American.
You attribute a lot of your success to your family. Why is that?
I couldn’t speak about my accomplishments without first mentioning my parents. My dad immigrated from India at age 16 with just $8 in his pocket, and my mom immigrated from Poland at age 11. They both worked extremely hard and became very successful entrepreneurs. My parents made sure that I was exposed to business throughout my life. It’s because of their efforts that I have many professional interests, and I’m eternally grateful to be able to channel my passions into several industries.
What compelled you to start Ameri Realty?
Ameri Realty launched in 2016, when I was a sophomore in college. I started attending school part-time shortly afterwards to further focus on my career. My father and I started the business because we believe that real estate allows us to invest in the future and it provides individuals with opportunities for freedom and scalability. Between stock market investing and real estate investing, there’s a notable gender disparity where women aren’t represented nearly as much as their male counterparts. So, my main goal is to demonstrate that women are fully capable of holding their own in this industry and that we can positively impact our financial wellness while adding value to our communities.
Where did the idea for Blue Line Security Solutions come from?
My business partner, Jack Harris, is a retired Chicago police officer who has extensive experience and a vast network of law enforcement and security personnel. We came up with the idea to start the company because we wanted to provide a truly customized, comprehensive, and professional security experience for our clients. Our intention from the start was to elevate the security industry and help officers build meaningful careers through growth and inclusiveness. We truly are a family and we put these words into action through our management style and our close personal relationships with our staff.
Tell us about The Good Music Collectiv.
I came up with the idea for The Good Music Collectiv in 2017, while driving home from my radio show at Lake Forest College. I’d always had a deep passion for music and art, especially the underground scene, and I wanted to create an outlet to further cultivate that passion. Many amazing artists and producers are overlooked because they don’t fit into the traditional mainstream mold, so that is where I wanted to make an impact. I started the business on my laptop in my bedroom by first creating a rudimentary website and social media presence.
I also give a tremendous amount of credit to my husband and best friends, who spent a lot of time and effort helping to grow The Good Music Collectiv. After I built up some content, I reached out to organizations and promoters. We worked and even volunteered our time and energy just to get our brand out in the public’s eye. It took us about two months to get our first opportunity to cover Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, IL. Although I didn’t have any formal experience in the field, I dove in and took everything as a learning opportunity. We established our strategy and intention in the industry and then started to blend many music media and production functions: photography, videography, promotions and marketing, event curation and production, exclusive music releases, journalism, interviews, and bookings. We also hosted a concert series and brought in several artists for their Chicago debut. We featured live painting, local vendors with handmade jewelry and artwork, and flow performers at each of our events.
What do you enjoy most about your work, or what drives you?
I love being part of something greater than myself. My team is my family, without question. We care for each other and go out of our way to help whenever needed. I love being challenged through my work and collaborating with other talented individuals. I believe we should strive to be the best we can be and tap into our unrealized potential. Personal growth, self-realization, and development for not only myself, but for those around me, is a significant factor that drives me.
I have a desire to break barriers, and as a female leader in male-dominated industries and a first-generation American, I’m in a unique position to do just that, so I strive to pave the way for other women and minorities to succeed. I truly believe you can be a leader, a formidable business competitor, and impact the world—all while being kind, tough but caring, and fun but sharp-witted. My future goal is to take my knowledge and experience and pass it on to others, and hopefully make the world a better place in whatever way I can. I’d love to eventually become a professor and participate in our political sphere. In the meantime, I’m eternally grateful to be on this journey, and I’m excited to see where life takes me.
Fatima graduated magna cum laude from Lake Forest College, where she double majored in finance and communication and minored in legal studies. While there, she was inducted into three honors societies—Omicron Delta Kappa, Omicron Delta Epsilon, and Lambda Pi Eta—and was awarded the Senior Prize in Communication. She is currently pursuing dual master’s degrees in communication and business administration at Johns Hopkins University.
Fatima Hasan Callahan
Ameri Realty, Inc.
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