How and when did you become interested in creating an Iranian cultural platform?
I was raised within an art loving family in Iran and in the U.S., where dance was part of every gathering. I studied it as a young child and then later as a young teen through my high school years and even performed and choreographed pieces, as part of a dance production I belonged to. I choreographed classical Persian dance and trained non-Iranian students to be part of the performance. I learned to play the accordion as a young teen in Tehran; a musical instrument I love, but unfortunately gave up playing once we left. So, I guess it’s in my nature to love art and culture.
In 2008, a traditional Persian musical ensemble was brought to the U.S. by a philanthropist who was producing their concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall on July 3, 2008. I was referred to their team and was hired to manage their production and publicity needs. The event received rave reviews in LA Times and other media outlets and turned out to be one of the fastest selling concerts within the summer months in that venue. I realized that our community could benefit from a professional production & public relations agency that can help showcase our art and culture on a global level, which was the inspiration point for me to start Butterfly Buzz (bflybuzz.com) and focus on just doing so, which lead me to my role at Farhang Foundation (farhang.org).
Tell us about the Farhang Foundation and how it came about.
Farhang Foundation was founded in 2008 as a result of the coming together of a group of successful Iranian Americans who cared deeply about their heritage and wanted to share it with the next generation and the community at large. The purpose was to give back to the community and to help promote and celebrate our culture. In a nutshell, the Foundation’s mission is to celebrate Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large here in Southern California.
How do you manage your time between family and career?
I’m really lucky to have a supportive husband and parents who care for me and support me unconditionally. I love what I do and spend many hours at work, but I try to do my best to be alert and aware to take care of my personal life. I try to make time for family gatherings where I cook for my loved ones. I’m passionate about food and eating healthy. For the past five years I’ve not been taking care of myself as I started a new chapter in my career life, but I’m working on having a more balanced life.
What is your advice for young entrepreneurs?
These are challenging times for recent graduates who wish to start their careers and their own businesses. My advice is to stay focused and don’t give up quickly. It’s important to have a tough skin and work hard. It’s also important to have ambition and desire in order to succeed.
Photo by Jahanshah Ardalan