Libya. Late 1960’s. Tarek Morshed’s parents Ayesha & Mohammad were a devoted immigrant couple from Bangladesh working at Mobil Oil and helping other families migrate to Libya. Often their house felt like a haven for wonderful, hard working and brilliant people seeking the greater opportunities Bangladesh could never offer them. From the late 60’s through the early 80’s, fifty-some families lived with and were advised by MH (Mohammad’s nickname) and Ayesha. They helped many of them find jobs with Mobil or other oil companies in Libya. It should also be noted that even before the Morsheds’ arrived in Libya, MH left his permanent fingerprint in Bangladesh by being a catalyst of change and improvement to worker’s rights while he ran the port of Bangladesh – a power akin to being “the town mayor” here in America. It seems the Morshed family began, from the other side of the globe, blazing a trail of community devotion and compassion wherever they call home.
Both Mohammad and Ayesha learned at an early age that it was their responsibility to be of service to the community. 50 years prior it was their fathers and mothers that took care of their villages in Bangladesh. Ayesha’s parents, Sukuruddin and Mafuza supported a lot of families in the villages of Bangladesh through civil wartimes. With the help of their eldest son (Ayesha’s brother), Sukuruddin and Mafuza even established a community clinic. Mohammad’s parents, Abdul and Dud propelled their community in the same manner as the village elders. Highly revered, and leaving a legacy that lives on… in Austin, Texas. In the form of an Austin real estate expert.
Tarek Morshed is the son of Ayesha & Mohammad, and the grandson of Sukuruddin & Mafuza on his mother’s side, and Abdul and Dud on his father’s side. “It takes a village” isn’t an adage for Tarek. It’s a reality that he grew up with – and understands with every fiber of his being. Living in Libya until he was 12, he and his 3 siblings lived a childhood that could be best described as “adventurous yet deeply rooted in family.” Ayesha & MH made sure Tarek was instilled with a global perspective right from the get-go; sending him to Bangladesh every summer, and travel destinations in Europe and Africa. He spent kindergarten through 3rd grade attending an international boarding school in Malta. Insert image of a boy walking up the cold stone stairs of a giant institution (have you seen The English Patient?) – wearing a khaki knickerbocker blazer, navy striped tie and newsboy cap. That was Tarek Morshed.
Young-Malta-Boarding-School-Tarek’s favorite school activities were math, soccer, swimming in the sea and gobbling up octopus spaghetti (no other kid would touch it)! As he grew into a young man, other subjects like basketball and tennis crept in. But it was English teacher Ms. White & Theater instructor Ms. Baker that made the biggest impact on this adolescent. Each of these women saw something in Tarek that he had not yet seen in himself: communicative, creative, no-holds-barred potential. This is the Tarek Morshed the folks in Austin, Texas know.
Yet, if you were to ask him; the man we all know as the consummate Austin realtor and bona fide lifestyle curator of Travis County what his toughest challenge is, he would say, “My self-limiting beliefs. Playing small. Insecurities as a child that I still default to when I let them.” A humble response, yet an empowering response. The “what is your toughest challenge” question understandably evokes answers that focus on circumstances and outward issues in the world. But not for Morshed. He holds up the mirror to himself instead. After all, he is also a father now. “You must be willing to evolve and grow as a human being and learn the art of empathy if you want to be an incredible Dad… and I want to be an incredible Dad.” Says Tarek.
His parents now live in Houston, his younger brother Singapore, older sister Indonesia, and younger sister a “Doctor Without Borders”, so why Austin, Texas for Tarek? Without missing a beat, Tarek leans forward with the conviction of an attorney in his final argument, “The collaborative spirit. The amazing mentorship. The kindness and respect for nature. Austin could very well be the best place in the world to live.” Pretty strong words coming from a man shaped by so many cultures, languages, traditions, and landscapes. “I want my legacy to be the making of a community. And I pick this one.”
These are the kinds of stories that you just know will end well. How could it not? Bringing people home is in Tarek Morshed’s DNA.