Image - Harma Hartouni

Past Event

The Other American Dream: How a Gay Immigrant Fought to Live His Truth and Found Success

"I grew up in a place where I was not meant to exist—a place where my identity as a gay male was contrary to Middle Eastern culture, standards and faith. I grew up in a home filled with dysfunction and strife. I carried the weight of all of that on my shoulders, . . . but if you carry a weight constantly, eventually you become stronger." —Harma Hartouni

Harma Hartouni was born into an Armenian Orthodox Christian family in Los Angeles, but when he was 1 month old, his family moved to Iran, where he was raised. While there, he was involved in an accident, breaking both legs and requiring a 12-month recovery. When he moved back to Los Angeles, he came out as a gay man. Today, he is a self-made entrepreneur, owner of a real estate company with hundreds of agents and more than $1 billion in sales volume in 2019. He is married and lives in Los Angeles with his husband (an executive at Disney), three children, three dogs and two turtles.

Join us for an in-depth conversation with Hartouni to discuss his life, troubles and perseverance, and success, which he reveals in his new book Getting Back Up: A Story of Resilience, Self-Acceptance and Success.


This is a free-for-members program. Members: Click on the "Buy Tickets" button above to order your tickets, and select the members link on the left side of the page. Your username is the email you used to sign up as a member. You can also request a password reset if needed. Discount will automatically be applied at checkout.

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We can accommodate a limited amount of complimentary access for those for whom cost is a barrier. Please email

This is an online-only program; pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Thank you to Pacific Fertility Center for its support of The Michelle Meow Show.

Pacific Fertility Center

See more upcoming and past Michelle Meow Shows at The Commonwealth Club.

March 4, 2021

United States

Image - Harma Hartouni

Harma Hartouni

Entrepreneur; Author, Getting Back Up: A Story of Resilience, Self-Acceptance and Success

Image - Michelle Meow

Michelle Meow

Producer and Host, "The Michelle Meow Show," KBCW/KPIX TV and Podcast; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors; Twitter @msmichellemeow—Co-Host

Image - John Zipperer

John Zipperer

Producer and Host, Week to Week Political Roundtable; Vice President of Media & Editorial, The Commonwealth Club—Co-Host