Getting to Know You: Sam Tofighi, Founder of ST Trading Company

Originally from Tehran, Iran, Sam Tofighi moved to Vancouver, British Columbia with his family when he was young.

Their stay in Canada was short-lived, however, as his father was quickly recalled to Tehran to attend to some business matters connected with his company, a real estate development firm he had started in 1964, which was one of the largest property developers in Iran.

That being the case, Sam Tofighi attended school in Tehran for a period of time, then moved to France. While in France, Sam discovered tennis, a sport for which he soon found he had a tremendous natural talent and quickly grew to love. His coaches, recognizing Sam’s potential, advised that he move to Barcelona, Spain to study at the Sanchez-Casal Tennis Academy, an institution which is part tennis academy and part boarding school. After completing his studies at Sanchez-Casal, he moved to Newport Beach, California and attended Orange Coast College. There, he played for the Orange Coast varsity tennis team, eventually graduating and gaining acceptance to the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) where he studied economics.

While at UCLA, Sam continued to play tennis, but also began coaching the sport at a professional level. To that end, he received coaching licenses from the Professional Tennis Registry and the United States Professional Tennis Association. He graduated from UCLA with honors.

Upon entering the professional world, Sam Tofighi accepted a role as a business and financial analyst, but soon opted to pursue a career in finance and later real estate investments instead. He made this decision in large part because of the positive influence of his father, who had overseen the development of more than 750 properties during the course of his career, and gave Sam a firm grounding in the business from an early age. In 2020, Sam founded his own company, ST Trading Co., LLC, an investment firm headquartered in Beverly Hills, California that concentrates on the small-cap and mid-cap segments of the financial market, as well as real estate investments.

When not tending to the demands of his company, Sam Tofighi enjoys collecting fine art, a passion which he first began at the age of 21. At present, he now holds a collection of more than 150 pieces, and he’s always on the lookout for new additions.

What do you currently do at your company?

Currently, we’re focused heavily on the commodities market, as well as deal in real estate investments. I believe with the current state of the economy in the U.S., Europe and the U.K., physical commodities such as gold and silver will have a great upsight. We’re trying to minimize our risk by buying into these types of assets at the moment.

What defines your way of doing business?

What really defines my way of doing business is creating an environment where other people can flourish alongside myself. Beyond that, I think it’s important to have the freedom to use my time as I wish. In my view, that’s the most valuable thing in the world. Meeting people from different cultures and different parts of the world is also a key part of my business. Because of the years I spent abroad in middle school and high school, I associated with a lot of international students and discovered the tremendous value of connecting with new people and making friends across the world.

What keys to being productive can you share?

Time management has been my number one key to productivity, along with quelling my inherent perfectionist tendencies. I also keep a daily journal. Journaling my appointments and keeping notes about relevant matters has helped me a lot with being more productive.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

A long-term goal of mine has always been to orchestrate my professional situation so that I’m able to spend time with my family without the pressure of someone telling me what to do. That’s why I founded my company. I want to make decisions on my own, provide for those around me, and help people.

How do you measure success?

Honestly, I don’t look at the end results. I think material success is something that’s overrated these days. If you’re able to continuously and progressively build on and upgrade your decision-making skills in a manner that will help you ultimately accomplish your goals, that is true success, in my opinion.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to think before acting instead of acting before thinking.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Have patience. Be goal-oriented. Stick to the goal. Don’t lose sight, don’t lose hope, and continue on with the process, no matter what obstacles are in front of you. Do what you have to do, no matter how you feel. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of doing what you need to do to achieve your goal.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

Work life balance is something that I struggle with. I try my best to maintain a balance by physically working out as much as I can, and also telling myself that there is a limit to everything, including how much a human being can work. Sometimes you just need to stop, take a break, and understand that to be consistent and motivated you have to keep everything in balance.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

I don’t have a specific role model, but I try to observe and emulate different skills and different good qualities from the successful, genuine people I’ve met throughout my life. I try to take a little bit of everything from anyone that I believe is truly successful.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

“Don’t make decisions based on emotions.” That piece of advice has served me extremely well over the course of my career.