June 23, 2012, Washington DC – As Mariam Khosravani, the founder and president of the Iranian American Women (IAW) Foundation, walked the halls of the Georgetown University Conference Center, she was touched by the number of women who had volunteered their time and efforts to make the third IAW Foundation Conference a success. The time was 8:30 a.m. and in less than two hours nearly 380 women would fills the halls and conference rooms to be inspired, educated and empowered by a select group of women who would share their personal and professional experiences. For over five months, the group of volunteers had met, under the direction of Nadereh Chamlou and Khosravani, a member of the board of Directors of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), to select the Conference’s speakers, define the panel presentations, outreach to sponsors, and refine the hundreds of details that would make the conference a success. Only last night, many had stayed behind till the wee hours of the morning to make sure that every detail had been implemented as planned. Not surprisingly, all of the women seemed to be inspired and energized by the work they had done.
Over the course of the next few hours, the women presenters used their personal and professional experiences to give the women, and handful of men, in the audience something to think about over the days to come. The audience had the option of choosing from ten panel presentations ranging from topics such as Women in Entrepreneurship, Lead like a Woman, Women and Philanthropy, Women Engaging Across Digital Platforms, and Women in Politics and Public Policy to Balancing Career and Family. The panelists had been selected based on their overall professional and personal experiences as well as skill sets. Each panelists included specific examples from their own career and day to day life to ensure that their message resonated with the audience.
The diversity of the panelists, including individuals such as Homaira Akbari (President and CEO of SkyBitz) Parisima Hassani (Managing Principal and CEO of Westgroup Designs), Parisa Khosravi (Senior VP of International Newsgathering at CNN), Farah Majidzadeh (President of Resource International, Inc.), Mariam Memarsadeghi (women’s rights and civic education advocate), and Azita Valinia (Associate Director for Research and Development at the Sciences and Exploration Directorate, NASA) was one of the highlights of the event. An additional highlight was the strength and unique perspective of the panel moderators, such as Mina Amir-Mokri (partner with Edwards Wildman Palmer & PAAIA Board Member), Shahrzad Ardalan (news personality), Nazie Efekhari (CEO of HealthEZ, founder of the Araz group, and PAAIA Board member), Roya Ferdows (health and wellness coach), and Roshi Rahnama (lawyer and Chair of the Fine Arts Council of Farhang Foundation). Finally, the scope of local and national businesses and organizations, such as PAAIA, that had sponsored the event and women-owned businesses that were available to present their products made the event an enticing and memorable one for all who attended.
As Khosravani noted “we have, once again, successfully met our mission of providing a platform of empowerment and mentorship for Iranian American women of all ages and career paths to network with peers and stay informed on a contemporary and valuable issues.”
To find out more about the IAW Foundation and their upcoming conferences, click here.