June  2019 Newsletter Issue I
 
 IAWF Holds 18th Women's Leadership Conference in San Fransisco 




IAWF's 18th Women's Leadership Conference was held on June 2, 2019 in San Francisco. Close to 400 participants from across the country joined to discuss the most pressing issues facing women, youth and Americans of Iranian origin today.  The theme of the conference was "Your Actions Matter." Topics included "Breaking Traditional Taboos", "Women Leading Disruption", "The Importance of Public Service and Civic Engagement in a Democracy", "Meditation and Connecting to Your Higher Self", "Perfecting Your Pitch: Young Entrepreneurship", "Rising Through Descent: Choosing the Right Mindset", and "Find Your Voice: Tell Your Story." The conference was followed by an art exhibition featuring the work of female Iranian American artists.  Guests enjoyed an inspiring gathering of truly diverse subject matters from speakers who have played leading roles in their professional and personal lives. IAWF would like to thank all NorCal Chapter Committee Members for all their effort and support to make this event possible. 
 
IAWF Would Like to Thank the SF Women's Leadership Conference Sponsors

IAWF Mentee Receives Scholarship
(From left) NY Chapter member Azita Ghazanfarian, Maliheh Bitaraf, & her mentor, Maria Afsharian.

Maliheh Bitaraf is an international student from Iran and the recipient of an IAWF academic scholarship. She completed her Master's program in Mass Communication at the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in spring 2011. She then started working on her second Master's in International Relations while she was still in Tennessee and then continued that pursuit at Seton Hall University (SHU) in New Jersey 2016. While specializing in International Security and International Organizations at SHU, she was awarded a Research Assistantship and selected as a Member of Sigma Iota Rho (SIR) Honor Society. Also, she was an intern at the Organization of Islamic Conference, Permanent Observer Mission to the UN. She graduated from Seton Hall with a Master's degree in Diplomacy and International Relations in May 17, 2019. Maliheh has applied for a Graduate Certificate in Biodefense at the Schar School of  Policy and Government,  with the goal of joining a related PhD program. 
Maliheh  said, "I am so thrilled, appreciative, and deeply honored to have been selected as the recipient of the IAWF Scholarship. It will allow me to continue my education and it contributes to achieving my goal of a PhD." She also thanked her mentor, Maria Afsharian, for her guidance and friendship. She continued, "I am truly blessed being a part of IAWF and a mentee of Maria. She is an incredible role model, a nurturing mentor, and a true friend." To read more, click here.

Congratulations Maliheh and we wish you the best for the future!
 
Iranian  American Female Director Produces Groundbreaking Show
The Bravest Knight  is Hulu's newest children's show, directed and produced by IAWF member  Shabnam Rezaei . Groundbreaking for its inclusivity, the series features Nia, voiced by Storm Reid, who wants to be a Knight, and has a family with two Dads (T.R. Knight as Sir Cedric and Wilson Cruz as Prince Andrew), and for the first time in children's TV, a main character that is openly gay. "We are so excited about  The Bravest Knight , its values and our partnership with Hulu. They understand how to push the envelope with authentic storytelling," said Rezaei. The first original Hulu animated children's show boasts additional stars including  Saturday Night Live's  Bobby Moynihan and Teri Polo. The star-studded cast also includes RuPaul, Wanda Sykes,  Steven Weber, AJ McLean,  Jazz Jennings, Maz Jobrani and C hristine Baranski, in the role of the Red Dragon.
 
Maria Afsharian
New York
Maria Afsharian was born in Shiraz to an American mother and Iranian father. She moved to Texas when she was 10 years old and attended local schools and university, earning a BS in Business Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and Journalism. She moved to the Washington, DC area where she worked for USA TODAY and Dateline NBC. Maria worked on over 90 stories and was the recipient of 7 prestigious journalism and broadcast awards including a national Emmy Award. You can read more  here .
Foojan Zeini
  Southern California
Dr. Foojan Zeine is a radio host, international speaker, psychotherapist, life coach, and the author of Life Reset - The Awareness Path to Create the Life You Want. She has her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Foojan is the originator and the author of the "Awareness Integration" educational and psychological model, a multi-modality approach and intervention toward minimizing depression and anxiety, while improving self esteem and self confidence. Extensive research on this method has been published in international journals and presented at Harvard University. You can read more  here .

 Sima Talai
 Northern California
Sima Talai inspires those around her with her work ethic and her knack for connecting people. Her varied work experience includes owning retail boutiques, working as an event planner and consultant, and managing an enormous furniture and design showroom at the SF Design Center. Currently, she is with Berkshire Hathaway home services, but she's truly found her calling in helping the underprivileged, particularly children. She has cooked meals and served food at Glide Memorial, and she serves on the board of multiple non-profit organizations, and is currently on the advisory board of Moms Against Poverty. You can read more  here
 
Circle of 1000s Featured Member
Mehrzad Khajehnouri is a finance and human resources professional and has also studied psychology, programming and data base management. She has worked in the auto industry, technology, investment firms. Ms. Khajehnouri has been working in the field of child advocacy at Youth Law Center in San Francisco for the last thirteen years. At the 40th anniversary celebration of organization, Ms. Khajehnouri was awarded the Unsung Hero, highest honor of the organization. She has also been invited to join the Board of Directors of the Youth Law Center. For the last 12 years, she has been a SFCASA (San Francisco Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, advocating for children in foster care and the Juvenile Justice System. As a new venture, Ms. Khajehnouri founded "Such is Life", an art firm that is a departure from all her previous professional enterprises, but is central to who she is and where her passion lies. 
 
Circle of Men
Nima Bakhtiary   i s  one of the founders of Arbela Technologies, and has been President and CEO since October 2006. Under his leadership, the organization has become a trusted adviser delivering high-value business and technology consulting services to companies around the world. In 2016, the  Orange County Business Journal  named Arbela as one of the "Best Places to Work in Orange County" and recognized Nima as a finalist for the "Innovator of the Year." N ima brings extensive operations, consulting, supply chain, manufacturing and technical experience to Arbela. He has guided its growth and expansion by adhering to a simple business philosophy: delight clients by delivering value through high integrity, transparency, expertise and alignment with clients' needs and goals. Nima brings extensive experience with various enterprise resource planning (ERP), product life cycle management (PLM), advanced planning and scheduling (APS), demand planning, lean and just-in-time manufacturing solutions.
 
Book of the Month
(Photo courtesy of Kerem Hanci)
The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

The  Final Six is a y oung adult sci-fi novel,  packed with action and set in the near future. The story takes readers to outer space and follows a group of teens who compete to be one of the six to travel to one of Jupiter's moons and try to save humanity. 
Alexandra Monir, an Iranian American author and recording artist, has published five young adult novels. Her debut novel,  Timeless, was a Barnes & Noble best-seller and one of Amazon's "Best Books of the Month."  Timeless  and its sequel,  Timekeeper ,  have been featured in numerous media outlets and published in different countries around the world.  Ms. Monir has described her writing journey as "one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had drafting a novel, since it allowed me to explore a longtime fascination with space and involved endless research".  She followed the duology with  Suspicion  and  The Girl in the Picture , both standalone YA thrillers. The Final Six has been acquired by Harper Collins and Sony Pictures in two major deals.  You can read the author's note about the book   here .
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