UpCloseVaPersonal with Homa Sarshar

Posted By: IAWF Admin Date: 2018-12-17 05:23:39
Homa Sarshar is a published author, award-winning journalist, writer, and media personality. Sarshar has done more than 1500 interviews and anchored many radio and television programs, including "Breakfast with Homa Sarshar" on 670 am. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xPClq60Rdk[/embed]

UpCloseVaPersonal with Fatemeh Burns

Posted By: IAWF Admin Date: 2018-12-17 05:21:34
Fatemeh Burnes is a visual artist in Southern California. She is a painter, photographer, educator, and curator, and her early work focused on nature, as well as looking at modern events and tragedies. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myXj248abbg&t=500s[/embed]

UpCloseVaPersonal with Asieh Namdar

Posted By: IAWF Admin Date: 2018-12-17 05:16:59
Asieh Namdar sits down with IAWF to share how she began her career at CNN at the age of 22, her favorite interview, and who her biggest inspiration is.   You Can Watch the Interview here

UpCloseVaPersonal with Roshan Ardalan Alavi

Posted By: IAWF Admin Date: 2018-12-17 05:10:59

UpCloseVaPersonal with Soraya Nazarian

Posted By: IAWF Admin Date: 2018-12-17 05:06:03
Soraya Nazarian is a professional in stone carving. Ms. Nazarian opens up about sculpting stones, when she started her passion, and how each of her projects has a special theme. [embed]https://youtu.be/_OzmudsURZ4[/embed]  

UpCloseVaPersonal with Lily Sarafan

Posted By: IAWF Admin Date: 2018-12-17 04:59:57
On June 15, we launched of our summer storytelling project UpClosevaPersonal. Lead Storyteller Iran Davar Ardalan joins special guest Lily Sarafan to talk about the story project as we collectively explore our passions, our purpose, and our power online as Iranian-American women!   [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-503xdGUk8[/embed]

Marjan Ghara: On Building Biblionasium and Women in Tech

Posted By: Iran Davar Ardalan Date: 2016-08-31 08:18:34
As Founder and CEO of Biblionasium, Marjan Ghara is the product owner and also responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. She has direct industry experience as an early member of two prior Tech Startups and knows what it takes to build a company from the ground up. With a multidisciplinary degree that covers management and technology studies from the University of Pennsylvania, she also has a proven track record in building large scale and successful web properties. Marjan loves the energy and excitement of startups and is a relentless motivator. Marjan is also the mother of two elementary school aged children. One of her favorite books is “The Little Prince”. Tell us about your own educational background and interest in reading. I fell in love with reading in the 3rd grade when my teacher introduced me to an adventure series. I realized, I would never feel bored or lonely if I have a good book to read. It was important for me to pass along this passion to my kids. I studied Programming & Systems Analysis at the University of Pennsylvania. I was fascinated with coding, as it felt like puzzle solving. I went on to work for a Tech Read More

Azita Ghahramani: From Zan-e-Rooz to an American Newsroom

Posted By: Shahrzad Sajadi Date: 2016-08-24 17:39:48
Guest blogger Shaz Sajadi introduces us to Azita Ghahramani, a planning editor covering politics, law, business and culture at WGBH News in Boston. Before moving to the US, Azita lived in Russia, Spain and Iran. As a teenager in Iran, her favorite publication at the time was Zan-e-Rooz. Azita says her current job is "the best job in media" because she never knows what topic each day will bring, but does know she gets to meet and interview fascinating people on a daily basis. This feature has been edited for length and clarity. How did you get into journalism? When I was really little, I had a dream that I would work for the BBC. I would record myself reading news clips that I had made up in a British accent, because I thought I would be a radio announcer for the BBC. It was probably because my parents always listened to the BBC World News; it was how we kept up with whatever was going on no matter where we lived. At WGBH, I have a real strong hand in the editorial process. It started as a seed in me as a little kid wanting to do this. However, Read More

Delaram Cavey: From Classical Ballerina to Career Member of the U.S. Foreign Service

Posted By: Iran Davar Ardalan Date: 2016-08-17 06:43:16
Delaram Cavey is a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service. Since 2003, she has chosen to focus on middle east politics, and has worked on these issues, both overseas and from Washington D.C.where she has worked in the bureaus of International Security and Nonproliferation, Population Refugees and Migration, and Democracy Human Rights and Labor. Her overseas postings have been to U.S. Embassies in Amman, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh. Soon, Cavey will start in the Office of Iraq Affairs as Strategic Advisor, working on Iraq policy. You are one of the only Iranian-Americans at the State Department who also speaks Arabic. This skill has taken you across the Arab world as a diplomat, from Iraq to Jordan to the Gulf States. Tell us about the trajectory of your career. How did you get into the State Department? I came into the service as a Persian (Farsi) and French speaker.  I decided to learn Arabic because I joined after 9/11, and felt I could best serve working on Middle East issues.  I have been studying Arabic language for 13 years now and have fallen in love with it.  It is a fascinating and beautiful language and has actually helped my Persian language skills too.  Read More

Yasmine Sima: From "Gherti" in Tehran to Ford Model in America

Posted By: Shahrzad Sajadi Date: 2016-08-09 21:01:10
Yasmine Sima is a Ford Model based in Los Angeles. As a child in Tehran Sima says she was always "gherti" so when she moved to America, she decided to make fashion her calling. In this week's #UpCloseVaPersonal, guest blogger Shaz Sajadi gives us an intimate look into Yasmine's budding career and how her Instagram account helped amplify her style. This interview has been slightly edited for clarity. How did you get into the fashion industry? When I was 13, I was in a mall in Texas and a woman from my current agency Ford, asked me if I was interested in modeling and I said yes! We had a few meetings with them together with my mum, but it didn’t end up going anywhere because I was living in Iran at the time and we were in Texas for a visit. I remember how sad I was when I was going back to Iran and I cried a lot, but then it happened again -- I got a contract with Ford, so that was great. Did Ford find you again this time? When I got started blogging and going to fashion shows I knew I wanted to be a model and this past Christmas when I Read More

Roxanne Varza: Building The World's Largest Tech Campus in Paris

Posted By: Tara Golshan Date: 2016-08-03 14:39:29
Roxanne Varza fell in love with the tech industry and startups through France – the country more commonly known as difficult for business let alone a place for innovation. But Varza saw opportunity. She moved to France in 2009, started a blog called TechBaguette, got picked up by TechCrunch, founded two chapters of Girls in Tech, has been a researcher for Microsoft and now is working on building the world’s largest startup campus in Paris. That’s not even an exhaustive list of her projects. In 2013, she was listed as one of Business Insider’s 30 important women in tech under the age of 30. Here is Varza, in her own words for #UpCloseVaPersonal. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length. You are a Silicon Valley native trying to forge a start-up culture in France. Was this the dream? Everyone always asks me this question. I grew up in Silicon Valley but I didn't really fall in love with tech and startups until later in life. Actually, I had always been in love with France and one of my first jobs was for the French government's foreign direct investment agency – my job was to meet with Silicon Valley Read More

Roya Soleimani of Google Wants You To “Be Contagious!”

Posted By: Donya Nasser Date: 2016-07-28 05:53:48
Roya Soleimani is the Corporate Communications Manager at Google where she oversees all communications for Social Impact across Google - from the philanthropic arm, to Google.org to Google-wide crisis response work, and more. From unlikely beginnings, Roya showed pride in a strong sense of her cultural identity. Roya’s parents came in the early 1970’s to get their PhD’s at University of the Pacific, in Stockton, CA. Initially, they had every intention of going back to Iran, as did many other families, but their degree completion coincided with the Revolution, so they stayed in the U.S., leaving their homeland for good. Without the presence of Iranians in Stockton, Roya told Donya Nasser in this interview for #UpCloseVaPersonal: “My house was like our own Iran away from home, like a mini Iran. I didn’t speak English until I was 3” As the story unfolds, we discover that through childhood experiences acting as an ambassador for her roots, and finding her voice in media at an early age, Roya was destined for her role at Google; to represent the multinational organization as their ambassador of social impact . Tell us about your early life? I grew up understanding both my Iranian and my American identities, Read More

Shirin Najafi: On "Mental" Anxiety and Staying Alive

Posted By: Tara Golshan Date: 2016-07-20 21:14:10
[embed]https://player.vimeo.com/video/157343345[/embed] In the first episode, Writer/Director Shirin Najafi and Actress Julie Lake – most prominently known for portraying Angie in Orange is the New Black – are sharing a hotel room in Palm Springs. The show is Mental, an online series following the friendship of two young women, Shirin and Julie, as they parse through their own struggles with mental neurosis. The hotel room is too cold, Julie can only sleep to rain sounds, the light from the coffee machine is like a “Vegas billboard”; the two spiral into an argument over the safety of combining Prozac and wine and their individual Zoloft prescriptions, all culminating in a mental break over how tucked the bed sheets are. It’s a comedy! “I feel like that episode resonated with the Iranian community,” Shirin tells me on the phone last March. “I heard they screened it at one of those Palo Alto mehmoonis.” I imagine the mehmooni went something like this: A house somewhere in Palo Alto, California is in chaos. The cacophony of more than 60 separate conversations shared between 60 individual people rings through bustling rooms. Platters of carefully plated finger food materialize from the kitchen and disappear into contented bellies, Read More

Sahar Nowrouzzadeh: If You Are Truly Passionate About Something, Ignore The Glass Ceilings

Posted By: Negar Mortazavi Date: 2016-07-13 17:56:48
In the height of historic nuclear negotiations with Iran in March 2015, President Obama held an important video conference in the situation room with top diplomats and national security advisors. Among participants in that historic meeting was one Iranian-American, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, National Security Council Director for Iran. She was the same official in State Department photos the year before, explaining the Persian New Year’s Haft Sin table to John Kerry. Sahar entered public service over a decade ago and has created an impressive career in foreign policy ever since. I talked to her about her life growing up as an Iranian-American woman and how she made it this far. Tell us about your life. How was it growing up as an Iranian-American? In the early 1970's, my parents immigrated from Iran to Connecticut, where I was born in 1982. They came to the United States so that my father could complete his medical residency as an OBGYN. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was just a few years old. My mother raised my siblings and I on her own, working multiple jobs to send us to private schools. That's how we became prepared for our educations and careers. My mother Read More

Naghmeh Kiumarsi: Iran's Sense of Fashion

Posted By: Shahrzad Sajadi Date: 2016-07-20 18:39:14
Shaz Sajadi is a recent graduate student of journalism from Emerson College in Boston, and former intern at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, where she focused on issues around in-custody deaths in Massachusetts. She has a B.A in law from Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran and has experience making super short films in London and in Tehran. Like her namesake, Scheherazade the storyteller from ‘1001 Nights,’ Shaz enjoys telling people's stories. When she is not reporting, Shaz enjoys traveling, archery and reading the Epic ‘Shahnameh.’ On a recent trip to Tehran, Shaz stopped by fashion designer Naghmeh Kiumarsi's showroom in Tehran. Here for #UpClosevaPersonal, Shaz and Naghmeh talk about being a fashion designer and the fashion industry in Iran. How did you start working in fashion? I have been working in the fashion industry professionally for 10 years now and I am very happy where I am. If I had not followed my dreams, things would not have worked out this way. When I was little, I liked to draw and sketch dresses. My grandmother and my aunts, who were tailors, would sew them for me. In high school, I couldn’t go to art school although I wanted Read More

Nazanin Boniadi: On Love Conquering Hate

Posted By: Iran Davar Ardalan Co-Author: Iran Davar Ardalan Date: 2016-06-29 17:26:19
Nazanin Boniadi is rapidly making her mark in both film and television. She co-starred as CIA analyst Fara Sherazi on seasons three and four of the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama “Homeland,” for which she shared a 2015 SAG Award nomination in the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series category. Boniadi will next appear in the 2016 MGM-Paramount remake of BEN-HUR.  Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the film stars Boniadi in the female lead role of Esther opposite Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman and Toby Kebbell. Boniadi shares more about her upcoming role in this week's Up Close va Personal.  Nazanin Boniadi, later this summer, you will be appearing as the love interest of Jack Huston in a new remake of Ben-Hur. Tell us about your role and also the message of Ben-Hur at a time when there is so much divisiveness in our world. I have always wanted to be in a period piece set in the Biblical era, so it was a real dream come true to play Esther. As an activist, I was drawn to her optimism and hope for a better and more just world. Her shortcomings are overshadowed by her sheer determination and moral compass. Read More

Roshan Alavi: On the Hottest Housing Markets in 2016

Posted By: Iran Davar Ardalan Date: 2016-07-20 18:21:39
As Senior Vice President and Manager of EagleBank's Residential Lending Division, Roshan Alavi's mantra is “Build a great team, work hard and get it done.” Over the years, she has managed high-producing loan officers, operations teams, and mortgage processing divisions plus provided leadership for various mortgage branch operations. Roshan has made the “Top 100 Most Influential Mortgage Executives” list by Mortgage Executive magazine two years in a row. Roshan has built a very successful career in the mortgage lending industry, while also juggling a household and family, which includes her husband Hamid Alavi and two sons Cameran and Keane. Her A-Z knowledge of the mortgage industry has led to successful management opportunities throughout her profession. She shares her thoughts on what’s happening in the housing market and trending technologies that could change lending with us at Up Close va Personal: What are some of the hottest and most affordable housing markets in 2016? Believe it or not, the list changes all the time, but among the top are major cities in California like San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego followed by Denver and Colorado Springs and even some parts of Texas, like Dallas and Austin. Unfortunately, according to Zillow, Read More

Pardis Sabeti: Rock Star Geneticist

Posted By: Iran Davar Ardalan Date: 2016-06-21 14:57:57
As an evolutionary geneticist, Pardis Sabeti uses genetics as a lens by which to investigate the evolution, history, and biology of humans and other species. She is a computational geneticist, meaning she uses statistics and computers to examine data from the genomes of different organisms looking for meaningful patterns. Pardis Sabeti recently shared some of her life experiences with us, including her road to recovery from a tragic accident in the summer of 2015. What does an evolutionary geneticist do? There are thousands to millions to billions of letters that make up different organism’ genomes, and these genomes are essentially the instruction book encoding all of our different properties. They are passed down from parents to their offspring generation after generation, with tiny changes that can occur with each passage, and genomes of individuals living today can be used to trace historical relationships back in time. We can develop statistical tools to identify important biological components of genomes, to identify particular genetic changes that have been critical for our survival, or to understand the historical relationships between different populations and different species. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8RxjxdUulE[/embed] You are one of the leading scientists studying the Zika virus. You are also an advocate for Read More

Why Up Close va Personal?

Posted By: Iran Davar Ardalan Date: 2016-06-18 16:46:20
Welcome to Up Close Va Personal, a summer storytelling project to collectively explore our passions, our purpose, and our power online as Iranian-American women. This story project is the first element of an evolving digital strategy around our collective work and contributions as we scale the impact and reach of the Iranian-American Women Foundation beyond the leadership conferences. Since 2011, the IAWF Conferences have been a unifying force for our community. But in 2016, we need a unifying strategy for the digital age. Today, Iranian-American women should be interacting across social media to give voice to the important stories in our community and begin engaging around a digital platform. We might not have a demographic boom but we do command buying power, knowledge, and expertise. Now, we have to learn how to embrace and celebrate our individual contributions and seek a collective purpose.  With all the means of distribution these days what really matters is content. [embed]https://youtu.be/Y-503xdGUk8[/embed] We need collective content from our female scientists, architects, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, policymakers, fashion designers, athletes and financial leaders.  We need to put Iranian-American women on the map as influencers in American society, not only as businesswomen and thought leaders but as moms, sisters, Read More