Moderators & Guest of Honors




Session 1- October 27, 2017


Retired Under Sheriff of Santa Clara County

John served in the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office with distinction for 38 years.  He retired in July 2016 at the rank of Undersheriff, which is the number 2 in the organization. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office has a total of 1800 sworn and civilian personnel and a budget of over $350 million dollars.  The Sheriff’s Office serves the communities of CupertinoLos Altos HillsSaratoga and the unincorporated areas of the County. The Sheriff’s Office also maintains contracts with the Valley Transportation Authority, the Santa Clara County Parks Department and Superior Court for the 10+ Court Houses in the County. With a total County population of approximately 1.8 million people, the Sheriff’s Office has a service population of approximately 200,000.

In 2010, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors appointed John as Chief of Correction, with the dual responsibility of continuing to serve as Undersheriff.  This was a budget cutting measure in 2010, when the jails were merged with the Sheriff’s Office.  The Santa Clara County Department of Correction is the fifth largest jail system in California, and among the 20 largest systems in the United States.

Prior to becoming Undersheriff, he was 1 of 2 Assistant Sheriffs.  As Field Enforcement Assistant Sheriff he was responsible for the operations of Headquarters Patrol, West Valley Patrol, Santa Clara County Valley Transit Patrol, Santa Clara County Parks Patrol, Investigations, and Special Operations.

Prior to his promotion to Assistant Sheriff,  John was the Captain at the West Valley Patrol Division, which is consider the Chief of Police for the Contract Cities of Cupertino, Saratoga and Los Altos Hills.

John’s other Command experience includes Division Commander of the Community Services/Reserves and Community Oriented Policing Division, Assistant Division Commander of Court Security and West Valley Patrol Divisions.

He has served as the Tactical Commander and Entry Team Leader of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SWAT). He has been assigned to the jails, courts, patrol, detectives, Public Information Officer, and Intelligence/Vice/Special Operations Unit.

John was a Training Officer, Instructor, and Mentor.  He move up through the ranks of the Sheriff’s Office from Deputy, Supervisor, Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Sheriff, to Undersheriff.    John is known for his Positive Leadership Skills and Integrity.

John has been recognized for numerous awards for his work within the community.  A few examples are:

  • Santa Clara County Resolution for “Outstanding Work in the Area of Human Rights and Human Relations.”
  • Award of Special Merit for Dedication and Outstanding Service in the area of Human Relations and Human Rights.
  • Unity and Diversity Achievement Award, Santa Clara County Executive’s Office.

Finally John attended San Jose State University, earning a BS in Administrative Justice. In addition, he graduated from FBI National Academy, Class of 209.


Session 2- November , 2017


Azizeh Rezaiyan

Founder of Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling Center

Azizeh Rezaiyan has been a licensed Marriage Family Therapist for two decades. She studied at the Phillips Graduate Institute of Psychology. Upon graduation, she spent another five years studying at the Integrated Body Psychotherapy (IBP) in Southern California and the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, where she focused on couples therapy, sexuality and infidelity. She has also studied in several countries, including Switzerland and Germany.
With offices in Burlingame and Palo Alto, she offers a multi-cultural view in her warm, empathic and interactive approach as a trained Body Psychotherapist with couples.
Azizeh believes that couple relationship is one of the most challenging, yet inspiring and enriching relations. When conflict is dealt with constructively, it enhances awareness, compassion and gratitude in both partners.
When working with couples, she first explores the underlying dynamics and then helps participants understand and undo the early injuries that form the base of their communication difficulties, fights, infidelity, sexual boredom, emotional distance and even parenting issues. In her work with couples, Azizeh focuses on their level of communion, or bond, and helps them set healthy boundaries that lead to a healthy sense of self for each partner. Healthy boundaries lead to greater awareness of one’s inner life; improve their dynamics with not only their partner but also with others; enrich our communication; and expand the level of creativity to face life’s challenges.
Her work with couples can be a joyous and fulfilling journey that transforms each partner, leading them to achieve greater intimacy, romance and sexuality in their relationship.





Fariba Nejat is a leading Iranian-American community organizer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, educator, teacher, engineer and portrait painter. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physics from the Shahid Beheshti University (formerly Meli University) in Iran, B.S. in Computer Science and a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the National University in San Jose, California. Before assuming leadership roles with various not-for-profit organizations and in the community, she worked as a technology leader in Silicon Valley, California, and also volunteered with Santa Clara Valley charities.

She became certified high school teacher in Iran and thought Physics and Math till 1983. Her passion of creating teaching technique through science and Art helped her on creating a system to teach Iranian American how to read and write Persian. She became mentors to so many youth in Silicon Valley.

She was featured as “one of the six women who changed the face of Silicon Valley” by the San Jose Mercury News in 2004. She has also produced a number of award-winning artistic paintings and sculptures. For example, one of her paintings, “Beaded Veils from the Gulf,” was prominently-displayed in the Capitol Building in Sacramento as a representative of district 13 of California. Her artwork has culminated in a manifestation titled “Faces in the Crowd” which displays her love for art and people. Of particular achievement in this regard is her work on the portrait painting of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, which included a message of peace by one of the greatest Iranian poets, Sa’di.




Rev. Kathy Homara is a New Thought professionally licensed science of mind spiritual leader, speaker, ritualist and officiator and recently completed her Master’s Degree in Consciousness Studies, focused on education, science, psychology, philosophy and world religions. Her passion for understanding human potential and her love for life, science, humanity and the way of the Universe has taken her from the corporate world toward a path of enlightenment and wisdom teaching. She serves, empowers and educates communities to enable them to transform their lives, live their dreams and thrive. Kathy is committed to teaching principles of life, living fully and loving freely.

Currently Kathy serves at the San Jose Center for Spiritual Living, Payvand and Iranian Women’s Federated Club providing spiritual support to people with health, relationship and career discontentment. Kathy also offers classes on foundations of spiritual parenting, principles of life, radical forgiveness, and living powerfully and abundantly. Based on availability, Kathy also offers various ceremonies including weddings and memorial services.

Kathy is environmentally awake. She sees a world that works for everyone and holds the vision for our children and future generations to thrive in peace and harmony on our beautiful blue and green planet. Kathy knows we are borrowing this planet from our children and nurturing our children’s brilliant minds is the key to our futures. She is a dedicated advocate for gifted children. She believes in an education system and curriculum that empowers children and their innovative minds through hands-on experiences, combined with Science of Mind and Spirit wisdom teachings. Kathy is a very artistic, creative and grounded in her spiritual practices such of love, companionship, and peace as the ground of her path to excellence. Kathy believes nurturing the potential of children is one of the most important solutions to our future now. Nurturing our future generation is one of the most important keys to longevity as a thriving human race. Kathy’s natural inclination in the field of human potential along with her organizational skill, and spiritual practices has helped her to live powerfully and overcome many challenges as the mother of two young boys. Kathy loves and values music, dance, nature, and spiritual conscious living as the ground of her being and the welfare of our children and this blue planet.



Social Justice & Moderator

Jennifer was born in Piedmont Oakland, to a 5th generation Californian family; of accomplished Scientists, gifted artists and loving musicians.
Jennifer’s home, was at the top of the wonderful street, filled with an amazing assortment of eclectic neighbors, books, and romantic gardens.
From Jen’s first waking moments through her whole life, either through through her parents early exposure or later, Jennifer has had three intense interests; writing, art and medicine and she considers medicine, the healing art.
Jennifer is totally self educated, with spurts and experiences at the College of San Mateo, Foothill College, Pima College and the University of Arizona. Jen’s real education has been the world.
Through Jennifer and her husbands interests, they traveled extensively with their family of 4 children. Ultimately upon their last child graduating from high school, Jennifer and her husband moved to Panama in 2006, where they started a small organic coffee farm.
Living in Panama, Jennifer feels that her experience was the most transforming of all her exposures and experiences; particularly in broadening her social awareness and acquiring a deeper understanding of people.
In living without Jennifer’s children, in a foreign land, struggling to find a new definition of herself, she discovered, what it is like to be an immigrant, what it is like, to try to blend into a new society, and what it is like to be profiled.
In 2015, Jennifer husband passed away unexpectedly died and at this point she permanently moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area. The experiences of her life and her journey, are what ultimately led Jennifer to being involved with Fariba and her amazing interests and projects.
In general the American Federated Women’s Club, and in particular, the IFWC, bring to Jennifer, a group of people that have a serious and gifted focus on social change, along with the addition of artistic drive.


The Nosh Cafe 19700 Vallco Parkway, # 190 Cupertino 95014

Alex Shahidi is a technologist and an entrepreneur. A Bio-Engineer from NYU, executive education at Stanford, and a relatively recent MBA. He had authored articles, patents and various technical publications. His interviews on matters of technology, security and privacy has been published in Wall Street Journal, Tribune and other major newspapers. Alex’s career with global technology and consulting firms has taken him to many parts of the world and helped him gain a unique global perspective. He is currently active in two projects. A startup focused on patent pending advanced enterprise cyber-security, and a concept cafe called Nosh. Alex and his family are long time residents of Bay area.