Performers/ Artists/ Program
The Magical Musical story tale of
MC of the Program
One of San Francisco’s few Family Business Lawyers™, Yaasha Sabba manages Sky Unlimited Legal Advisory PC and is a part of a larger network of attorneys who view the business of law as flawed. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to managing business or personal risk, Yaasha and his team have created one-of-a-kind systems for entrepreneurs and families to use in their legal planning that can keep up with the constantly changing business climate and will proactively position them for continued growth.
Yaasha formerly worked as a patent attorney at Visa Inc. with a portfolio of over 1,500 patents under his team’s management, including the technology behind Apple Pay and Android Pay. Now, his day-to-day ranges between counseling business owners on their legal, insurance, financial and tax foundations, helping families protect their children and estates, and providing inventors with guidance on expanding their ideas.
Yaasha spends most of the free time he can spare from his own family hosting workshops, mentoring Millenniums and iGens on financial literacy, and giving presentations on personal financial growth, kids protection planning, and asset protection. Yaasha is known for stating, “Its easier than ever to start growing your family wealth and take control of your life.”
Sabiba grew up surrounded by the arts, her mother having been a National Champion Skater and having several artists in the family. She began dancing ballet, jazz and contemporary and got involved with theatre at a young age. She majored in Theatre Arts and Dance at San Francisco State where she was introduced to various genres such as Flamenco and Middle Eastern dance. This led to her many accolades as a choreographer and featured performer in Greek and Middle Eastern venues. She has always share her knowledge and joy of the dance through the her teaching.
Sabiba returned to college to earn a Bachelor of Science from San Jose State University. As a Registered Dietitian specializing in Diabetes Care, she is the Director of Nutrition Services for six out patient clinics within the Gardner Family Health Network. Her work caring for patients is challenging and gratifying but a part of her heart is always with the “dance”. Having a connection to many in the Persian community, she has come to love the elegance, emotion and complexity of the Persian music and dance.
Sabiba is humbled and delighted to find that her interpretation of the dance has been welcomed by the Persian community. On December 21, 2017, she shares the joy of Persian dance in celebration of Winter solstice of the Festival “YALDA.”
Designer & Artist & Social Justice
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.
POET & HISTORIAN & AUTHOR & TEACHER
Homa received her M.A. in Educational Psychology from Tehran University..
Her thesis was on Persian grammar and the role of mozaaf and mozafon elayh مضاف و مضافٌ علیه, under the supervision of Dr. Qharib at Tehran University. She received her B.A in Persian Literature. Her thesis was written on the role of women in Divaan-e Nezaami, under Dr. Zabihollah Safa’s supervision.
Homa has served as lecturer in Persian literature to undergraduate students working toward their Bachelor of Arts degree. The course work comprised of teaching the works of various Persian poets/philosophers such as Rumi, Saadi and Khayam. She taught Arabic and Persian to 12th grade students at Bu Ali Senior High School in Tehran. The course work comprised of Grammar, Reading comprehension, and Interpretation. She has also taught philosophy, history, Arabic Instructor. Modern Philosophy course work covered post Hegel theories spanning 19th through 20th centuries. History courses covered the Iranian historical occurrences during the last 300 years. The course work comprised of Grammar, Reading comprehension, and Interpretation.
DANCE and ART
Babi is born in Tehran-Iran in 1935 in an upper-middle class family. She married at a very young age of 16. A year later she gave birth to a baby girl; and was faced to make one of the most critical decisions of her life, which was to pursue her professional career.
She and her sister both were able to pursue their dreams of becoming a mid-wife as they moved to Germany to attend the university (while their supporting mother graciously took care of their 2 toddlers at ages 3 and 2.)
Upon completion of her university, she moved back to Tehran and then went to serve 2 years of service in rural area (kharej as Markaz) before she could work in the capital of Iran, Tehran.
She then got appointed for 2 years as Colonel “sarhang” in Iranian Air force “niero havayee babolsar” prior to the revolution. She was running and managing her own Gynecology Clinics.
After 2 years working in rural area, She returned back to Tehran and worked in various hospitals where she helped in delivering over three thousand babies. One of the hospitals being “Hemaateh Madaran” which was then changed to “Farah Hospital,” named after queen Farah Phalavi. It was at this hospital Queen Farah Pahlavi delivered her first child, son, “Reza Pahlavi Valiahd”
She moved to Germany on December12, 1984 and, then after two years to US, December 12, 1986. Her husband passed away in 1992; and years later she fell in love and got married to Ron Jon (the love of her life). Her passion is in dancing, and she’s been ballroom dancing for over 25 years.
She has a very active role at the Iranian Federated Women’s Club and Payvand for over 2 decades. She has lead many successful projects such as Iranian Senior gathering at the Cupertino Senior center for 2 years.
She’s been blessed with 3 children; 3 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. She’s now a full time grandmother & a part time passionate dancer (still teaching, and performing)
DANCE & COSTUME DESIGNE
Marzieh, is from the Persian Gulf, where she grew up and that’s where she began her journey in dance.
She fled from her country with her family, as a political refugee to seek freedom and human rights. She began to explore aspect of her own freedom through dance, as a little girl. She became adventurous, and started training in yoga, soccer, swimming, hiking and dance. However, no practice has endured her like dance has. She believes that dance is in her blood, and that much of this artistic inheritance has led her to explore many other dance genres to form the woman she is today.
Marzieh has taken classes in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Armenian, Azeri, Afghanish, Kurdish Rajashani, Khalijiee, Iraqi, Egyptian, Arial Silk dance, and many Persian dances of all styles. Marzieh is a performer and a teacher at cultural and community events. She currently teaches at Mountain View Community Center every Tuesday.
Her hard work and dedication, and love for her journey is evident in everything from the way she interacts with her students, her audience and in the details of her self made costumes, and her attention to her friends, and family. Marzieh finds love, dedication, peace, and therapy in dance and, she hopes, that a little of that is shared with you.
Dancer & Medicine
Mahshaad, obtained her doctorate degree in pharmacy in Iran. After moving to the U.S., she got her California Pharmacist license as well.
She has been working as a community pharmacist for 18 years. She is also a Medical Qigong instructor, Certified Ayurvedic Body Therapy and Massage Therapist and Therapeutic Tai Chi instructor. She is currently working on completing her education in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
With her pharmacy degree combined with multiple holistic medicine modalities, she aims to understand the full spectrum of health and address the causes of diseases. She wants to use all the knowledge and skill she has acquired to serve her community and people all over the world. Mahshaad has a strong dedication to patient care and is truly driven by the fulfillment she receives from helping others.
She has studied Persian and Sufi dance with many well-known dance artists and teachers, such as Miriam Peretz (Nava Dance Collectives), Aisan Hoss, Sahar Dehghan, Banafsheh Sayyad, Shohrokh Moshkin Ghalam, Shahrzad Khorsandi and Afsaneh Dance Academy in the Bay Area for 10 years. She loves music and plays Persian Daf. She believes that her passion for dance and music have brought balance to her professional life. She sees her dance as a way to express herself, meditate and pray. Mahshaad says: “When I dance, I can not think about anything else. I am in the moment. I feel that my body and soul are communicating through music and poetry. I feel powerful and beautiful. I am reminded of how grateful I am for everything in my life.”
Dancer, Artist, Poet and Social Advocate
Yesenia is an Artist, a massage therapist (“sobadora”), a poet, a painter, an unschooler, and a doula. Her fields of study have been through Latino Literature, philosophy, ethnic studies, feminist studies and, current, “yerbeteria” as she is guided to build a relationship with the Land, and to surrender to her own path of healing. She is a strong believer in the power of dance. She was exposed to a variety of African Dances, taught by healer, storyteller, and peacemaker Masanko. These dances, though they are not the traditional Latino dances. These dances inspired the notion that dance holds the potential to communicate the soul of a people, culture, and even of their land; furthermore, to communicate their collective journey into deeper levels of consciousness. She does believe that dance can serve as a medium to break through cross cultural divides, prejudice, histories of violence and oppression between people, and even to examine and wash through individual trauma into recognition of likeness, humanity, and wholeness. She started to learn Middle eastern dancing in 2016 in the Mountain View recreation center under the mentorship and experience of longtime Dance Teacher Marzieh. It became my commitment to experience the discipline of dance, by formally learning a type of dance which wasn’t wholly experiential.
“These are lessons which forge difference in the way we carry ourselves in our daily interactions and in our self perception.I couldn’t be more honored to extend this practice and this learning to an audience who can, for themselves, define me as an artist and the nature of my contributions to their lives.”
Talya Dallal has danced her way out of the womb and is dancing ever since. She has taken Middle Eastern dance classes as a preschooler with Marzieh Gachpour, and started formal Ballet training at the age of three in Menlo Park Academy of Dance. She enjoys many forms of dance and has taken classes in many styles, including Ballet, Belly Dance, Jazz, Acro, and Hip Hop. Over the years Talya performed in numerous few ballet shows. This includes multiple roles in ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by Dancers Repertory Theatre; It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker production by Menlowe Ballet; Disneyland Dance Parade with Dance Expressions; and numerous other dance showcases over the years. Talya loves the stage and feels at home entertaining and dancing in front of audiences.
TV Producer, Host, Editor and Entrepreneur
Jennylyn was born to a father from Beirut and mother from Grenada in the East Caribbean. She grew up and was educated in British Guyana, now Republic of Guyana in a small town on the Venezuelan border. After high school she went to Guyana school of agriculture as she had plans on becoming a veterinarian. She suffered from severe Asthma attacks as a child and had to leave the program because of continued asthma attacks, instigated by molds and pollen. She later attended Guyana School of Nursing in an RN program and was an active member of the Theater Guild of Guyana. She started “acting” as a child and won her first Drama Competition at 12 years old. Jennylyn traveled to quite a few of the Caribbean islands before immigrating to California in 1986. She came to California in marriage to a Dentist from San Francisco who was invited by a Catholic Organization in Trinidad and Tobago to provide dentistry for the under-privileged. While he was living there they met and got married, after ten years of marriage and two daughters, like some, her marriage dissolved and she had to reinvent her life.
On February 2011 she launched “The Jennylyn show” a TV show designed to encourage people regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds to make it their best life. Jennylyn’s focus when she interviews guests is on the pathways to their success. Her featured guests have included: Topmost innovators / surgeons / technologists / scientists from America including:
– Steve Wozniak, Co- Founder of Apple Computers
– Willie Brown former Mayor of San Francisco and many others…
She is an Entrepreneur, who is tenacious, a dare devil, who believes if it can be done she can do it. In 2014 she created a luxurious boutique Medical Cosmetic Clinic in Cupertino, from scratch. She designed it, negotiated the lease, and was involved in all aspects of its creation.
Jennylyn is convinced all the difficulties she has experienced in her life have created the indestructible, resilient, fearless wall that she has become. She is driven by challenge and knows without a doubt that challenges can make us stronger. We have a choice.
DR. ARDESHIR SALEM
MUSICIAN/ STAGE DIRECTOR
Ardeshir, an Iranian-American Cosmetic Dentist (since 1988), Philanthropist, Musician, Sailer, Skier and painter. He holds a B.S. degree in Bio Chemistry and Art from U.C. Santa Cruz. He came to USA in 1976.
“There must be no preconceived idea and each of my paintings is an adventure. When I start to create my forms and shapes of nature, I never know how it will come out. Some times this is the risk that I must take. I almost never visualize a picture in my mind before starting to paint. I do believe that a piece is finished only after one has completely expressed the idea that was there at the start.
Nature, in combination with tattooed experiences of my past is the main source of my “Spontaneous Expressionism”.
To see through my paintings requires one’s own effort, as it requires my effort to create a painting. There is no recipe for beauty.”
DANCE & ETHNIC DANCE MUSIC COLLECTOR
Kevin holds Phd. in Nuclear Engineering, and BS. Electrical Engineering. He is Currently working as Senior Software Developer for the past 20years..
Kevin began dancing at the early age of 5 and so far hasn’t been able to stop. As an international folk dancer and proponent for over 25 years, he travels the globe in dance regularly throughout Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, Asia, and occasionally Latin America and Africa yet still returns home nightly. An avid and lifetime learner of dance from all cultures, he has performed Macedonian, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, Turkish, Romani, Greek, Persian, Israeli, Azeri, Tajik, and other folklore dances in amateur ensembles or with professional dancers. He enjoys recreational dance of all cultures with all people.
Since 2006, Kevin has studied Bollywood dance first with Mona (Sampath) Kahn and Aditya Patel under Naach and later with Aditya Patel under Gurus of Dance. He has performed with dance teams in semi-annual Bollywood productions each year since 2006 for audiences up to 500 people at venues such as the McAfee Center for Performing Arts (Saratoga) and the Mexican Heritage Theater (San Jose), to name a few.
He has studied and performed dances of the Silk Road and whirling sacred dance with Farima Berenji since January 2009.
Kevin is well known and welcome member and/or volunteer with the following dance organizations: the Folk Dance Federation of N. California, the former Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association (MECDA) now Bay Area Belly Dance and Music Association (BABDMA), and Dancer’s Group. He was a guest member of Stanford’s Yore Turkish Folk Dance ensemble from 2011-2012. He has performed and choreographed Middle Eastern and Turkish dances with professional dancers at Rakassah West, the Festival of the Silk Road, Desert Dance Festival, the Santa Clara Arts and Wine Festival, and other locations since 2008. Kevin is the 2015-2017 president of the Folk Dance Federation of N. Ca.
Kevin has been volunteer facilitator for Stanford International Dancers—a recreational folk dance club—since 1991, sharing responsibility in setup, programming, promotion, lessons, and facilitating dances. He has attended and supported the Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle, WA since 1989, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, the San Francisco Free Folk Festival, and, since 2009, has promoted and volunteered for the Festival of the Silk Road, San Jose.
Kevin enjoys ethnic dance music and has an extensive recording and dance notes collection. Finally, Kevin is immensely grateful to and humbled by all the amazing dancers he has met, learned from, and shared a dance floor with in his life.
Neda Abootorabi, Ariana Kashani, Dorna Mehrkish and Tara Samiee are four Iranian-American women who have been best friends for over a decade. While they enjoy spending time and sharing many laughs and memories together, they also bond through their common passion for Iranian dance. Although they are all working professionals in the real world, they love choreographing Iranian dances together in their free time. They specifically carry interest in advancing the art of Iranian dance by adding modern and unique twists to it.
Neda graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Biology and Public Health Science. After graduating, she first worked at a private pain management clinic and later transitioned to Stanford Hospital’s oncology center as a clinical medical assistant. After gaining exposure to the many different areas of healthcare that exist, Neda decided to pursue a Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy; a holistic healthcare profession that helps patients with physical or cognitive impairments achieving independence and participation in their daily activities to living a meaningful life. Neda was attracted to Occupational Therapy because she sees it has a combination of arts and science.
Although Neda has dedicated a significant portion of her life to working in the medical field, she believes that a successful life is a balanced one; one in which you explore your passions alongside your studies and/or career. As an Iranian-American who was born and raised in California, it was always important for Neda to keep her Iranian culture alive within herself. For almost two decades, Neda has been actively involved in traditional and modern Iranian dance classes, choreographies, and performances throughout the Bay Area. In the process, she learned the art of embodying the passion of Iranian music with grace, elegance and confidence. She strives to teach these skills to others. She is also particularly interested in being a voice of inspiration and advocacy for the younger Iranian-American generation who may feel confused in identifying themselves. Neda understands the challenges that come, by trying to bridge two cultures as one, and her goal is to guide Iranian Americans by connecting and learning about their Iranian roots.
Ariana Kashani is a first generation American born and raised in the Bay Area to parents of Iranian descent. She has always been curious about her heritage and embraces both ancient and modern Persian culture by choreographing Persian dances with her best friends, reading Mulla Nasruddin folktales to practice her Farsi, learning to play famous Persian songs on the piano, and frequenting Radio Javan to hear the latest 6 o 8 hits. While in college at University of California Santa Barbara, Ariana was a leader in the Persian Student Group and maintained her close ties to Persian dance by choreographing, teaching, and performing routines for the annual Persian culture show. When she is not working as a technology sales professional, she loves to learn about other cultures and languages by traveling as often as possible. So far, she has been to 45 countries and her goal is to make it to every single one!
Dorna Mehrkish studied business at San Francisco State and since then has been investing in further education as a software designer. When she is not working, her primary hobby is Iranian Dance. What began as a way to stay fit quickly became a connection to her roots. She believes dance is not just a form of entertainment, but a beautiful conversation rooted in a deep understanding of the audience it serves.
Tara Samiee is an alumna from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is currently working as a Medical Scribe at El Camino Hospital Emergency Department and applying to medical schools. Tara has been involved with Iranian dance groups since the eighth grade. Through dance, she has strengthened her understanding and appreciation of Iranian culture. Tara enjoys that Iranian dance gives her the opportunity to share her heritage with other communities. She especially loves seeing people of all ethnicities experience and celebrate what is so dear to her—performing traditional choreographies that display the beauty of Iranian culture. These experiences with dance fostered her own interest in seeking out the cultures, values, and experiences of others.
FACULTY COMPUTER SCIENCE & VOCALIST
Firouzeh Zandi is teaching Computer Science at Diablo Valley College. She has her Bachelors Degree from San Francisco State University, Masters from Cal State University Hayward and has done post graduate work in Computer simulation at UCLA. She loves teaching. Another great passion of her life is Music. She has had enough music classes in college to claim a Minor in Music. Other than vocal classes in college she has worked with renowned Masters such as Ostad Mohseni and Ruhan Parsa. One of her rare talents that is claimed by only a few is to play Santour and sing at the same time. She can sing in Farsi/Persian, English, French and Italian. She likes to sing folkloric Iranian songs to preserve the culture. She also loves to compose poetry.
Because of her love for dancing she has taken classes from Madam Yelena in Iran and numerous workshops with Shahrokh Moskin Ghalam, Sahar Dehghan, Sharlyn Sawyer and Niosha Nafei.
Firouzeh loves to connect people together and has dedicated herself to preserving the culture. She is one of the founders of the Persian Center in Berkeley which hosts many cultural events. At Diablo Valley College, she is the advisor of Persian club which has hosted many beautiful Nowruz shows with over 300 attendees. She has also helped with Kaanun Mehr and brought many talents to Kaanun to cheer the seniors up. She says “my greatest joy in life is to bring a smile to someone’s face.”
VOCAL and MUSIC
Moein Vahdat is a musician who has been playing piano over 18 years. He has been playing keyboard for the famous Iranian singers in their concerts.
Moein also hosting and directing public and private events. He is familiar with both western as well as Middle Eastern style music.
He can play other instruments like guitar and keyboard and has been tutoring over 10 years.
Moein is a talented musician and singer who can perform on his own or with a band for all occasions.
He is interested in psychology and law.
MICHAEL STROUD – Magician & MAYA
PERSIAN STORY TELLER
Michael Stroud, is a 12-time award-winning magician, consultant, inventor, author and lecturer in the art of magic.
His performances range from strolling close-up sleight-of-hand or “street style” magic to grand stage illusions with a live band and a cast of circus performers. He has appeared on radio and television across the US, Japan, Europe, and India and has been featured on a Bill Moyers PBS Special.
He has performed as headline entertainment in 12 countries as well as throughout hotels in Las Vegas and at the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. As an author, his best-selling “Book of Magic” through Klutz Press has sold over 2 million copies. He has been published multiple times and has contributed to 9 titles currently at your local bookstore.
He blends comedy, audience participation, circus skills and many surprises with special effects in his performances. Each show is carefully customized for maximum impact and he performs many classic magic feats as well as inventions of his own you will see no one else perform. His repertoire includes magic from around the world- including esoteric art forms many audiences will never get a chance to see live, in person.
For his close-up magic, he causes borrowed objects to float in the air, coins turn invisible and reappear right in your own hand, amazing acts of esp and mind-reading, and dextrous abilities with a pack of cards that take years of diligent practice. Your guests will be spellbound and bursts of laughter will be heard rippling through the room in between rounds of applause for an experience you will not forget, by this master of the craft of magical entertainment.
Mystical Maya is a professional performer and one of the original cast members of The Magique Bazaar, the longest running magic company on the West Coast. She began her career as a dancer studying classic dance and eventually embraced several folkloric dance arts including African dance, Middle Eastern dance and Capoeira. Maya joined the cast of the Magique Bazaar in 1998 and quickly became fascinated with the art of illusion, eventually becoming a magic assistant and makeup artist. She is also the owner of Spin Within Yarns and creates unique artisan yarns for weavers and fiber artists.
FARIBA DADFARMAY NEJAT
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, STORY WRITER & ORGANIZER
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
DANCER & EDUCATOR
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.
Shaida Biglari is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. During the three years she lived in Cupertino, she was involved with the De Anza College Iranian Student Association community, celebrating the Persian culture with students of different cultures. Being half Tajik and half Iranian, she is constantly involved in sharing both cultures with the people she meets.
Nishant Raveendran Greene
Nishant Greene was raised in Cupertino for almost 20 years. He is passionate in pursuing a career in 3D Animation. He loves to tell stories and use animation to give those stories life. He recently graduated from Cogswell College with a Bachelors in Digital Art and Animation and is currently taking online courses at Animschool. While pursuing animation, he also has a passion for photography. He loves capturing special moments from the things he sees, whether it is nature or people. While enrolled in college, he worked at Treasured Prints, a photography studio, where he got the opportunity to capture events such as birthday parties and weddings.
Anahita Biglari is a student at San Jose State University, studying Applied Mathematics, Concentration in Economics and Actuarial Science. From a young age, she has been fascinated with being a leader, and she has been successful with running different programs during school and in college. Through her leadership experiences, she has gained insight on the artistic and communication skills needed in bringing an idea into reality. In addition, from a young age, Anahita has been involved with her community, volunteering at orphanages, Baha’i Centers, and organizing different necessities drives. Moving to the United States in 2014 with her sister, Shaida Biglari, they have been involved with their cultural community at De Anza College, where they were able to share their experiences living in four different countries. Anahita is planning on sharing her cultural experiences and gaining from other cultures by continuing her studies in Germany.
Armin Agha-Ebrahim coordinates with Payvand to build awareness about Payvand’s special capabilities among community members , while establishing a bridge with in communities in Northern California. Having been born and raised in Silicon Valley, he has a sense of innovation that could only be instilled into him by the countless years spent in the backyards of local tech corporations.
Armin is a recent graduate from Saratoga High School, one of the highest ranking schools in the entire United States, and the intense competition there has only fueled his desire for success. He strives to be the best among his peers not only academically, but athletically as well; Armin was a varsity water polo athlete all four years during his high school career, even being awarded MVP his final year.
With proven leadership, excellent organizational skills, and minute attention to detail, Armin has shown beyond any doubt that he is an extremely valuable team player.
He is currently a dedicated student at De Anza College working towards a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, with plans afterwards to further his mastery of the tech business by enrolling in an MBA program.
Armin is also presently employed as a sales & marketing lead at a tech startup for which he is a crucial cornerstone of the operation, but never allows his work to interfere with his passion for Payvand.
As a proud Iranian-American, Armin hopes to bring the community and its culture closer together by working for Payvand, while making unique connections and furthering his own career.
16 year-old Neeka Mirpour is a teen commissioner at Payvand. Born in Mountain View – California, attending Saratoga High School. She has a unique, yet educated perspective of the needs of both the youth and the general community around her. She has effectively used her skills to volunteer and closely work with non-profit organizations like the YMCA, and other centers such as retirement homes, tutoring centers, and soup kitchens. Motivated by her immigrant parent’s struggles to initially assimilate into American culture, she wishes to one day mimic their success and drive.
Attending Farsi/Persian school during her childhood, she eventually attained the skills to fluently speak, read, and write Farsi/Persian. As an Iranian-American fully immersed into both cultures, she is impassioned to help other Iranian-Americans keep in touch with their ethnic roots, while simultaneously participating in American culture. She hopes to give motivation to such youth to bring mainstream awareness to the Persian culture.
Her passion for writing has been recognized among her teachers and schools, going as far as winning awards for her achievements. Her other passions also include reading and art. She wishes to one day pursue a career in political science with a background in international affairs.
Amir Kalantar has been working very closely with Payvand for the past year. He serves as a project manager, oversees day to day operations and manages finances. Amir comes from a long line of noteworthy business professionals who have shaped his self-driven and focused mind. At a very young age Amir became a successful investor and entrepreneur. He was later hired as a buyer for a renowned men’s formalwear retail chain. In addition, Amir is a business consultant who works with businesses from various industries. As an Iranian-American, Amir is constantly looking for ways to give to his community. His passion and devotion to helping others is unparalleled.
His achievements don’t distract him from his ultimate goal of becoming a plastic surgeon. Amir’s fascination with plastic surgery began at the very young age of four. While his friends dreamt of becoming presidents, Amir dreamt of how many lives he could enhance through plastic surgery.
VOLUNTEER and PIANIST
Darya is an aspiring doctor currently working hard towards attending UCLA. She is an avid piano player, who’s been playing for 13 years now, attending over 100 piano recitals. She has worked as a piano teacher for a couple years- teaching little kids basic piano skills. Her passion is psychology and her dream is to become a psychiatrist. On top of that, she is working two jobs and prioritizes school.
ARTIST and ART COLLECTOR
Born in San Francisco, to an Artistic Family originally from Iran.
From the time of a very young age, he was exposed to all kinds of art, from Traditional Persian miniatures to Modern art, it was at this time he was inspired to work on his own art and do the many whimsical patterns he was so influenced by.
His Father, Mohammad Hourian a renowned Persian miniaturist, known within the Iranian community in the USA, for his gallery, the Hourian Art Gallery on Union Street, took him to museums like, the MOMA, The Legion of Honor, The DeYoung and Asian art museum, where he was inspired by the pieces that were there.
At his Fathers gallery, there were many artists who had shows, Comron was inspired by beauty in the eclectic art that was shown, it was because of this that he was inspired to do art.
One other art gallery owner in particular noticed Comron’s talent, and had two shows for Comron, where he showed his latest work.
One important step in being a good artist is to learn the technique, he is currently studying art at Los Mendanos college, but wants to continue to study Art and Art history at the Academy of Art of San Francisco, to study the more deep aspects of Art.
CULTURAL AMBASSADOR and FLOWER ARTIST
Behnaz Dahmubed is a Zoroastrian Iranian born and brought up in India. She has a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting from one of the prestigious university in India, namely University of Bombay.
She is a multilingual, fluent in English, Dari, Gujarati, Hindi and Marathi, as a result she learnt to speak Farsi on her own by interacting with the Persians.
She has worked as a Senior Financial Analyst for high tech companies for over 20 years. She is now decided to take a different career path where she can balance her work life. Currently, she is working on getting her Certification in Floral Designing, which she enjoys thoroughly.
She is a very devoted mother to her two kids and a caring daughter to her frail mother.
ARTIST & DESIGNER
Neda Khalafi (Urmia, Iran), is a creative designer who earned her Bachelors and Masters degree in Industrial design from Art University of Tehran (2006-2009), and a few years later she graduated with a MS degree in Engineering Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2014. While design has always been her true passion, a combination of these two academic educations has enabled her to become a multifaceted designer who can come up with practical and creative solutions. Neda’s work is best described as union of simplicity and emotion with a mixture of pattern, color and texture from Iran. Her portfolio is not limited to a specific area. She works in a broad range of fields including graphic design, jewelry design, furniture and interior design. Having trained in painting, sculpture and fashion, she brings a unique artistic perspective to each work to enhance today’s lifestyles.
BANA HAND CRAFTS FROM THE WOMEN’S ARTISTS FROM BALUCHISTAN/IRAN
Banafsheh (Bana) Nemati, graduated from California state university long beach in field of civil engineering. She is also a professional engineer in state of California. She has more than 24 years’ work experience both in public and private sector. She loves art and believes that all Persian people are artist.
As a woman she loves to shop! Her collection is a small sample of Persian arts from all corners of Iran.
Mrs. Nemati is also the designer of a new jewelry “Cleavator” . This is a first jewelry that is ever designed for cleavage control. The website is www.cleavator.com.
She believes art can be used as therapy for one’s mind and soul.
“This year I will bring a unique variety of art works from Iran. The selection includes Persian tapestry “termeh”, beautiful handmade table covers in exotic colors from “Sistan” and “Balochestan”, handmade jewelry including rings, necklace in traditional designs. Beautiful leather bag from holy city of “Mashad”, Copper tray from “Isfahan”. Handmade “Torkaman” cushions with colorful beads and much more. All these unique pieces represent different arts from all corners of Iran.”
ROSTAM AND SOHRAB
Book 1 – “Rostam: Tales of the Shahnameh” introduces us to the story of Rostam & Sohrab – the most famous of all Shahnameh stories. It starts with Rostam meeting Princess Tahmineh in Turan (Iran’s fiercely independent neighbor Kingdom) and ends with Rostam facing one of his most difficult challenges – his own son Sohrab!
RETURN OF THE KING
Book 2 – “Rostam: Return of the King” is a prequel to the Rostam & Sohrab story, which tells us how The King (Kai-Kavous) meets and falls in love with Princess Soodabeh in Hamavaran, and subsequently gets himself captured and thrown into a dungeon. Yet again, Rostam has to step in and defeat his country’s enemies and he manages to save the throne from being usurped by Afrasiab.
BATTLE WITH THE DEEVS
Book 3 – “Rostam: Battle with the Deevs” continues with the story immediately after Sohrab’s death in Book 1. After giving Sohrab an honorable burial, Rotsam is forced to battle his own internal demons as well as the red and ultimately the great White Deev! Rostam seeks forgiveness for his sins and ultimately finds peace by taking Siavash under his wing.
SEARCH FOR THE KING
Book 4 – “Rostam: Search for the King” The story begins by chronicling the story of Zal & Rudabeh, the birth of their son Rostam and the Simurgh. It continues with Sam meeting Rostam and ends with the story of Rotsam and Zal’s joint quest to find the King to succeed Kai-Kobad (after his death at the hands of a young Afrasiab).
Bio of Creators:
While growing up in Iran creators Jamshid Douraghy, Cameron Douraghy and Bruce Bahmani were avid comic book readers. From this they learned the power of this genre in teaching youth through the graphic novel format. 30 years later they got together to create the worlds first comic book adapted from Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh. Targeting our youth growing up in diaspora, this is often the first exposure they have with medieval Persian literature. Winner of the International Golden Lioness award and featured on PBS, Frontline, The BBC and Voice of America: Rostam is quickly becoming mainstream and gaining a following outside of our community.
JOHN MILO KIMBALL
John is doing Portrait for 35 years. His mentor, Lee Tacang, taught drawing at Foothill and De Anza colleges for 33 years. John’s goal in a portrait is to catch the essence of the person more than simply a lightness. He likes the term amateur which indicates a love for what you are doing. If people ask him ” is this your profession?,” he responds the word is passion more than profession.
Since 2007, La Patisserie Bakery has been owned by two successful women, Fariba Mirpour and Mojgan Damaghani. Their passion and creativity in the art of pastries has led them into running a business that has been a favorite go to bakery for many people in the Silicon Valley. Mojgan and Fariba’s mission is to provide the finest desserts and pastries at reasonable prices. They take pride in what they do and their products are baked fresh daily; they use the finest ingredients with no preservatives or artificial flavors.
They also believe in giving back to the community each month by donating baked goods to non-profit organizations.