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From Malaysia to USA: In Miami’s Spotlight


From Malaysia to USA: In Miami’s Spotlight

11 January 2024

From Malaysia to USA: In Miami’s Spotlight

“I always knew my story would be about connection,” Norsham begins, her voice echoing a harmonious blend of Malaysian warmth and American confidence. Over thirty-four years ago, Norsham Mohamad-Garcia embarked on a transformative journey from Malaysia to the United States of America. With just $20 in her pocket and a heart brimming with courage, she personified her deep-rooted heritage bloodline identity. “And when I moved to Miami, I was determined to create a space that honoured both my cultural heritage and my new environment,” she reflects thoughtfully.

Norsham’s journey is more than a tale of geographical relocation; it’s a narrative rich with cultural integration. She has skilfully woven the rich tapestry of her Malaysian roots with the diverse opportunities and vibrant essence of Miami. This story isn’t just about the physical transition but is also a testament to her ability to meld the best of two worlds, creating a unique and enriching life experience.


Connector of Worlds

Norsham’s professional journey is a rich tapestry intricately woven from diverse threads of experience and expertise. Deeply rooted in her Malaysian heritage, she has brought a distinctive and transformative perspective to the global business landscape, skillfully blending tradition with innovation.

With more than 17 years in retail banking management in Connecticut, she ventured into the dynamic art and design scene of Miami Beach, working with renowned galleries to hone her skills in artistry and entrepreneurship. In 2009, she established her first company, called The Connector Group International, initially as an independent art agent, which later evolved into a boutique firm specialising in International Strategic Business Development and Consulting of art, fashion, sports and entertainment.

Norsham’s journey took an inspiring turn in 2013 with the founding of Arts Kuala Lumpur, marking her first endeavour in representing artists from her home country, Malaysia, on a global stage. This initiative was more than an exhibition; it was a heartfelt showcase of Malaysian talent and culture. The event captivated both local and international media, earning distinguished recognition. It was listed among other prominent art events such as Art Basel, Art Miami, Scope and more, symbolising a proud moment of cultural connection and exchange.


The Pulse of Modesty in Fashion

Norsham’s foray into fashion marked historic milestones in 2019 when she single-handedly conceptualised and launched the Miami Modest Fashion Week, the first of its kind in the USA. This bold step forward altered the narrative around the diversity of culture and modesty in fashion. Under her leadership, the event quickly became a landmark, celebrated for its inclusive approach that seamlessly blends Western styles with Eastern modesty.

Norsham’s pioneering efforts in modest fashion have not gone unnoticed. She has received recognition as a trailblazer in the field, most notably from Culture Focus Magazine. This honour placed her in the esteemed company of legendary fashion designer Elie Tahari, who received the Cultured Focus ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his extraordinary four-decade-long career in fashion.

“It wasn’t merely about launching a fashion week; it was about initiating a narrative that speaks to diversity and modesty,” she shares. In doing so, she has diligently worked to blend the rich heritage culture from different countries into the mainstream narrative of modest fashion in the international world, especially in the Western world. “Fashion is a dialogue of cultures,” she proclaims. “My goal was to start a conversation that was inclusive and progressive without forsaking our Malaysian essence.”


Reshaping Perceptions

Adjusting to American life marked a significant shift from her existence in Malaysia. “When I left, I was pursuing a dream, one filled with hope rather than precision,” Norsham recalls. She encountered early challenges and cultural differences but remained steadfast, determined to disprove the stereotypes she faced.

“I was greeted with doubts, underestimations rooted in a stereotype that Malays lacked industriousness,” she candidly shares. Yet, she harnessed these challenges as motivation to excel, turning skepticism into a driving force for success, thereby altering the prejudiced narrative that once tried to enclose her.


Family Values and Resilience

Home may be miles away, yet Norsham carries its essence in every step. “My father, a rubber tapper; his sweat and toil are etched into my being,” she says, her eyes reflecting the pride of generations past. Her journey across continents is a vivid tale of embracing roots while stretching towards new skies.

“Resilience isn’t just a trait; it’s my inheritance,” Norsham muses, a statement that resonates with the grit she witnessed in her parents. Their lessons have become the backbone of her life in the States, allowing her to stand firm in her identity while navigating a foreign culture. This unshakeable grounding has been the secret to her soaring aspirations, proving that home’s values don’t limit but empower one to reach for the stars.


Advocate for Malaysian Talent on the World Stage

Speaking on the MyHeart platform, Norsham’s enthusiasm is evident. “This initiative is vital; it constructs bridges for Malaysians to shine on the global stage,” she emphasises. MyHeart is a space where connections are forged, collaborations blossom and co-creation flourishes. Whether you are seeking career opportunities, looking for like-minded individuals to collaborate with, or simply someone who wants to stay connected to the Malaysian community abroad, MyHeart is designed for you. “Our people hold immense potential; what’s needed are platforms that unite us with our homeland and elevate our profile internationally,” she advocates passionately.

Reflecting on her personal and professional journey, Norsham’s message is clear: “Embrace pride in our culture and resilience.” Her experiences serve as a reminder that your unique Malaysian perspective is not just a part of your identity but a profound strength that can help you succeed in any situation – whether you’re navigating the vibrant streets of Miami or the diverse cultural tapestry of the global stage. Her advice is simple yet powerful: “Move forward with a strong mindset, resilience, and pride in your heritage.”

If you’re a Malaysian residing abroad like Norsham, join MyHeart to be part of a global community with Malaysians at its heart.