2010-2011 White House Fellowships


As the director of a community leadership program, educating and engaging our future leaders to assure the success of a community is my life’s mission. This understanding comes from an array of experiences, travels, and service.

As an infant, my father’s career took our family to Tehran, Iran. We stayed until 1978, when the unrest that would eventually lead to the exile of the Shah erupted. Following a brief time in San Diego, we would return overseas, making a home in Sicily. Even though my brothers and I attended school on the American base, Sigonella, our family lived outside the gates.

By 1983, we found our way to St. Louis and eventually Seattle. I graduated from Mt. Rainier High School in 1992 and began at Highline Community College the next week. In March 1995, I transferred to Western Washington University. I wrote for our school paper while earning a bachelor of arts in journalism/public relations.

Following graduation, I moved closer to my extended family. With my worldly belongings in a yellow 1991 Ford Festiva, I drove to Huntsville, Ala., a place I have called home for 12 years. I began a career in TV news, staying until Sept. 13, 2001. At that time, I traveled to Australia. It was a unique time to hear the concern expressed from various angles and accents.

Upon returning to Huntsville, I secured a position at the Huntsville Museum of Art. During this time I began volunteering at local and state level on organizations including the Alabama Museums Association, Create Huntsville, and Public Relations Council of America. As an advocate for community engagement, I helped form Huntsville Young Professionals, a non-profit that provides development and networking opportunities. Three years into my time with the Museum, I went through Connect, an experience that changed the course of my life.

A year after completing Connect, I was hired direct the program. My most significant accomplishment is growing the program into the success it is today. Teaching service, leadership, and community engagement is my life’s calling. I guide emerging leaders to impact our community through projects that include fundraising, creation of non-profits, and mentoring programs. I have been nominated as Young Professional of the Year three times.

During the last few years, my interests have evolved from young professional retention to community engagement in education. After attending a Harlem Children’s Zone conference, I am working with others to create a cradle-to-college pipeline aimed at reducing drop-out rates.

Outside of work and volunteering, I write a slice-of-life column in our local arts paper, Valley Planet. I am an active runner, having completed seven half-marathons. My two dogs receive more love than they can handle, but not as much as they deserve. I enjoy Sunday dinners with my extended family and the spirited debates on politics, pop culture, and religion that are served at our meals.


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