Immigrants Abound in Forbes List of America’s Most Successful Women

Forbes has released its annual list of America’s richest self-made women, and it comes as no surprise that more than twenty percent of the honorees are immigrants to the United States. The women, who are ranked based on net worth, have made their fortunes in a range of industries, including entertainment, cosmetics, and software. But the one thing they all have in common is that they came to the U.S. seeking the American dream – and they found it! [See Rihanna, Celine Dion, Safra Catz: Here are the Most Successful Immigrant Women in the U.S., by Deniz Cam, Forbes, 06.Jun.2019.]


  • Topping the list is Bangkok-born Thai Lee, who struck her fortune in the software industry; helping to turn a small software reseller into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Lee’s net worth is listed at a whopping $3 billion.
  • Neha Narkhede, who hails from India, also found success in the software industry. After helping to create cutting-edge software while working for LinkedIn, Narkhede went on to co-found Confluent, a software company that now works with many of the world’s largest corporations.
  • Peggy Cherng, who was born in Burma (now Myanmar), had the second largest net worth on the list, estimated to be $1.7 billion. Cheng earned a PhD from the University of Missouri before co-founding the highly successful Panda Express fast food chain.
  • Two major entertainers also made the list. First, there is the iconic singer, Celine Dion. Born in Canada, Dion’s mother tongue is French, and she did not learn to speak fluent English until she was a teenager. Still, she has become a household name with a slew of major pop hits.
  • Then comes hip-hop sensation, Robyn Rihanna Fenty – better known as just Rihanna. She left a difficult family life behind when she emigrated from Barbados to the United States. Interestingly enough, while she has earned millions through record sales, much of her wealth has actually come from her entrepreneurial endeavors in the beauty and fashion industries.

Of course, one’s value to this country should be measured by more than net worth. There have been millions of women who have immigrated to the United States as medical professionals, engineers, and attorneys, as well as artists, entrepreneurs, and homemakers. All have contributed in countless ways to keep the American dream alive. And, if the U.S. wants to remain a beacon of hope and freedom to the rest of the world, it would be wise to remember the people who helped make it shine its brightest.


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