2011 Pathways to Success - January 30, 2011

2011 Pathways to Success

January 30, 2011

Iranian-American Women’s Leadership Conference

This conference was planned and managed by Coastline Community College President, Loretta P. Adrian Ph.D. , and Maryam Khosravani, MBA.

This exciting conference  was held from 8: 30 am to 6:30 pm, series of speeches and panels. We try to cover some part of the program.

Opening remarks by Sharzad Ardalan. She talked about how Iranian women are busy with family responsibilities, and don’t have the chance to appreciate themselves. Now it’s time to think about how worthy women are.  She welcomed the audience and invited them to enjoy the exhibitors and panels.

There were three panels at the same time, one of them is covered as below:

 Lead Like a Woman

MC: Nina Kani

Moderator:  Maryam Khosravani

Panelist: Anoosheh Ansari, Nazie Eftekhari, Maryam Rofougaran and Leyla Vokhshoori

Question: what are the challenges of being a woman?

Maryam Rofoogaran: The biggest challenge was being a girl in a male dominant major, electronics.

Leyla Vokhshoori: getting respect from immediate core family about her decision.

Nina asked Anoosheh Ansari: what has been the price of success for you?

Anoosheh Ansari: there is a price for everything. You do in your life. I am a private person, being in public was hard for  me. It started judgements. I tried tp avoid being angry and emotional about it. I do what ever I feel like doing it. I id it because I wanted to, not because I was the first woman to go to space. You do sacrifies from your family. I had a loving family supporting me.

Nazie: I never heard my kids growth, say Mom or see them start walking. You can’t have it all at the same time.


Question: do you have to compromise your values to success?

Parisima: Iranian American women strive success. We have to do a lot of compromises, we never think about ourselves. It’s a small world, you become what ever you do.

If you scarify your values, you’ll become like that.


Question: what’s your advice to young generation:

Anoosheh Ansari: find something that you are passionate about. You can put yourself fully in it. Be ready for challenges. If you think you can’t resolve the challenges, just take a break, sleep on it, discuss it with friends. They can remind you about your passion, and why you are doing it.


Maryam: what ever you do, make sure you are interested in it. And love what you do.

Otherwise you’ll stop once you face a challenge. Find your passion and follow through.don’t give up and believe in yourself. Have  a dream and a role model. My role model was Albert Einstein.

Nazie:  To learn to be a leader, you must learn to be follower. I wasn’t a leader, I put myself in following role. Inspiring to be a leader is to learn to follow.

Question: do you think women lead differently from men?

Parisima: women can do a lot more at the same time, compare to men. We can be multitask, feel and know about surroundings. We have passion. Because of mothership, we can be better in dealing with employees.


Leyla: you have to be hard and soft. Women have the ability to differentiate between issues and people. We are graceful that we are from a country with rich culture. When women lead, somehow you follow as well. We lead differently.

Question: how important is vision:

Anoosheh Ansari: vision is important . when you visualize it, you’ll know better what to do. It helps you focus in your goals.

Maryam: it’s very important. Specially when you starting your own company, you’ll need to see what’s out there. You need a vision what’s needed in future.

Nazie: the vision is the most critical thing. If the people don’t feel it, thy can’t accomplish it. Vision makes great leaders.

Question: why is that the salary of men in the same position is higher than women?

Anoosheh Ansari:  in my company there is no difference. But I have problem finding women engineers.

Nazie: my highest pay person is woman.

Maryam: in Broadcom, I don’t think that’s the case. We don’t discriminate. Women  should belive more in themselves.

Parisima:  in my company the highest pay is woman, because they have more vision, passion and understanding. Women are more creative.

Leyla: you ask and you will receive. Power of negotiation. There is no silent leader. When you are supposed to shout, do shout. Consult and see if that’s the right amount.

Question: what message you like audience to take from this session?

Leyla: Effort. Effort is the most important thing. You put efforts in all aspects of your life.

Parisima:  Self respect has highest place in my mind.

Maryam: find out what you are good at. Don’t think yourself less than anyone.

Anoosheh Ansari: Belive in yourself. You can achieve what ever you believe in.

Nazie: Dream big.be optimistic, we are the best immigrant group, don’t forget Iran.

Other panels and exhibition throughout the day…

Report from closing session:

MC: Kathy Atai

Moderator: Shahrzad Ardalan

Question: how did you find out about your goal and passion?

Leyla Taghinia-Milani Heller: I have art gallery in New York for 25 years. My major was economics,  my dad wanted me study and go back Iran to help him.

In university I felt love in art. I had hard time to tell my dad to change my career. He said , what are you going to do  with this?

I said this is my passion, my mother supported me. After revolution I couldn’t  go back to Iran. In 1982, I opened my art gallery and supported Iranian artists.

Question: what advice you have for young?

Firouzeh Dumas:  I started at 36. I worked since I was 14. I joined writers group. I started writing for children. And I loved it. In our culture we don’t support each other. If you have a passion, don’t ask from a relative.

Question: if they change career, what should they do?

Banafsheh: we don’t have counseling, mentorship in Iran. When they want to change, the question is: why  are you changing your path? What’s wrong with the current one? Before changing your path, ask yourself what do you see in it?


Question: how made the passion change your life?

Nazanin:   I graduated from UCLA and I was at premed. I called my dad and said I am going to act. My mother supported me. I couldn’t vision myself as a doctor. I like acting. Live your dreams.


Question: what happens when you go through a dip?

Leila: I always go through it. The artists want to do a lot of productions and I can’t afford everything. Sometimes I get threats from political artists. Financial is the biggest challenge.

Question: what makes you stay in your path?

Firouzeh Dumas: people should support writers by books and paintings. Read articles online, leave positive comments. Support your artist.

Question: what makes you focus in your work?

Banafsheh Akhlaghi: my focus is ability to use my voice and speak up. It’s my duty to support you. So you have freedom of speech and act. I make sure no disrespect happen to us as Iranian.

Nazanin Bonyadi: we should support each other. Get out of your own way, you can do it. Kepp it simple. Just be, don’t think about being,  just be it. I did that in my acting career.

The conference was a big accomplishment done by Iranian-American women , and Coastline community college.

Unfortunately we couldn’t cover  all the session during the day.please feel free to send us your reports to be added here.