Sahar’s Story

The PAAIA Mentorship Program has outdone itself; not only has it served as a resource and facilitator for those already on the path to accomplishing their goals, but it also has served as a lighthouse of hope for those who failed to see the horizon ahead. Sahar’s story is about gaining a positive mindset through the kind of valuable advice that can miraculously motivate an individual to seek and find their purpose,or their calling or path in life. Here is the story; stay tuned for more!

Leila Bidad, Asst. Manager, PAAIA Youth Programs, 2/10/11


Sahar Iranipour, an American University of Paris/Institut Catholique de Paris graduate with dual Masters of Arts degrees in International Affairs, Conflict Resolution, and Civic Society Development came to PAAIA Mentorship because she was overwhelmed with confusion.  Sahar had a passion for working in the nonprofit sector but also saw a future in Environmental policy. We matched her with Shirin Rahimian who has extensive involvement with philanthropy; she serves on the boards of ME/SE Asia/UC Davis, IAPAC, and Shifa Clinic in Sacramento. 


The “Double-Experience”: Dual mentorship 

Ms. Rahimian provided Sahar with lots of positive, motivational advice. In an effort to further extend the benefit of PAAIA to Sahar, Ms.Rahimian introduced Sahar to a dear friend and fellow PAAIAn, Mariam Khosravani. Ms. Khosravani, who is the Executive Director of Coastline Community College Foundation in Fountain Valley, CA, and serves on the PAAIA board agreed to mentor Sahar with open arms. Sparks flew when this dual support system enabled Sahar to focus, set constructive goals for herself and aim high!

 A note from Ms. Rahimian:

Sahar is a hard working and self made person. I wanted to introduce Sahar to Mariam because she is in her area and can use her connections to network. I also suggested to Sahar to try to do some volunteer work at least a couple of hours a week to further network.  


In Sahar’s Own Words

When a friend mentioned PAAIA’s mentorship program I immediately knew I had to take advantage of the great opportunity, as it was exactly what I was looking for -guidance and direction. I recently graduated from my Masters program and rather than being optimistic about career possibilities I was overwhelmed with worry about finding a job in this economy and fears of failure. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and didn’t know where I was going.

After being selected, I was paired with a well-established, successful entrepreneur named Shirin Rahimian. We spoke on the phone and the words of wisdom she provided me have made such a lasting impression on me and helped give me a sense of relief. She shared with me her own story, not only about her career and how she’s gotten to where she is, but also about life experiences and lessons learned. After our conversation I had a list of people she offered as connections to help me in my career path. I expected only to get career advice out of the experience, but she gave me advice that not only has changed my outlook, but has made me more positive. 

One person she introduced me to was Mariam Koshravani, a strong woman in the Iranian community who even without the PAAIA mentorship program has helped dozens of Iranian-Americans achieve their goals. Mariam is extremely well connected in the Iranian-American community and once I expressed my interest in a career in the environmental and sustainability field she started emailing straightaway to all of her relative contacts. From there it just branched out and I was exposed to numerous people in the field I was trying to get into. Mariam even offered that I use her as a reference for an extremely competitive job, which was my dream job. With her help I got significantly far along in the hiring process, however another wonderful job opportunity came about which I accepted.

I am truly grateful for participating in PAAIA’s mentorship program and for meeting such wonderful sources of guidance.  Their openness and strong will to help was amazing and I am lucky to have made such lasting connections.


A note from Ms. Khosravani:

I think our true legacy is defined by the skills, ability and success of the people we mentor. I believe people will succeed where their passion is. At Paaia’s mentoring program,  we take the responsibility for mentoring very seriously and try to see something in mentee that he or she doesn’t know is there.



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