Board of Directors
Founder & Executive Director
Bita Daryabari embodies the spirit of humanist philanthropy. She received her Master’s degree at Golden Gate University in California, where she was awarded Alumni of the Year in 2008. Upon graduation, she joined GammaLink, Inc., one of the early pioneers in the field of telecommunications. She later moved to MCI Communications where, more than once, she received distinguished awards and recognition for her work. On a personal level, Ms. Daryabari has had a long-standing passion for increasing knowledge of her native Iranian culture, as well as improving the lives of people from Iran and beyond.
Mr. Babakhanian joins Pars' team with over 30 years of financial executive experience; 18 years of which have been in the nonprofit world. He has been responsible for creating complex and strategic plans and budgets with limited funding to support various private and public projects. With his diverse leadership skills in the world of finance he is able to turn a vision into a reality.
Francis Najafi is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pivotal Group, a thirty year old investment firm with experience in private equity and real estate investments. Mr. Najafi currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Global Capacity, on the Board of Directors of the EastWest Institute, active in the World President’s Organization (WPO) and Chief Executives Organization (CEO).
Mr. Odabaee has dedicated his life to others, especially refugees and asylees. Whether developing social service programs, organizing a refugee cultural celebration, speaking at a national conference, advocating for refugees and immigrants. Mr. Odabaee brings a marvelous mix of energy, compassion and joy to the people with whom and for whom he works. In May 2001 Mr. Odabaee was personally honored by the Dalai Lama as an “Unsung Hero of Compassion” at a special ceremony in San Jose, CA.
Dr. Reza Oliyai is currently the Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical and Biologics Development at Gilead Sciences. He provides strategic leadership to 350 plus personnel responsible for two main functions: pharmaceutical development for small molecules and end-to-end development for biologics. Dr. Oliyai received a B.S. in Pharmacy with a minor in Chemistry from the Oregon State University and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Kansas. He joined Gilead Sciences in 1994, and he is an inventor on multiple U.S. and international patents including Viread®, Truvada®, and Atripla®. Dr. Oliyai has contributed to the development and global commercialization of over 25 new pharmaceutical products. He also serves as executive sponsor for Gileados.
Lily Sarafan is co-founder and CEO of Home Care Assistance, one of the fastest-growing companies in America with more than 6000 employees across 100 global markets changing the way the world ages. She is also an investor, advisor and mentor for startups and accelerators, including 500 Startups and StartX. Lily serves on the boards of several high-impact organizations including Pars Equality Center, the Stanford Alumni Association, the BerkeleyHaas Center for Entrepreneurship and Development and the National Iranian American Council. Lily has been recognized as one of Silicon Valley's 40 under 40 and completed an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering and B.S. in Science Technology and Society with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies in 2003 from Stanford University, where she was Eben Tisdale Fellow and Class President.
Angel is an accomplished technology leader and social entrepreneur. Growing up, Angel always had a fascination with science and technology, and fulfilled this passion by earning two bachelor degrees in Mathematics and Computer Engineering in Iran, and then moving back to the United States to earn her Master’s degree in Software Engineering. She leveraged her academic focus on computer networking and security by taking a position at Cisco Systems, where she has worked for over 10 years, and now serves as a team leader and an expert on Cisco’s IOS architecture. Along the way, Angel helped start two philanthropic startups, 7rooz.com and Sarkhat.com. Founded in 2005, 7rooz.com is one of the top Persian events website, which includes a popular Persian calendar service featured as a prominent Facebook app. Over 20,000 people use 7rooz to access events and news around the world. Sarkhat is a Persian news aggregator, which crawls thousands of websites every day and using machine learning to clusters the news pages into various categories for the benefit of its readers. Angel recently founded DiverseUp, a benefit corporation that serves professional women seeking to expand their careers and achieve a proper work-life balance. DiverseUp provides women an inside look into which companies are female-friendly and also matches them with job opportunities. DiverseUp's goal is to bring transparency to work practices, measure policy effectiveness, and help the technology sector attract and retain female talent. Angel is passionate about giving back to the Persian community, and has been active in mentoring and helping refugees through the Pars Equality Center.
Ms. Ardalan is the producer and host of a popular radio show called Life is Beautiful on LA-based 670am–kirn Radio Iran which airs at 10 am to 12 noon Monday through Friday. She also hosts a variety of infomercials at the station.
Since 2000, Nazila Doroodian has been practicing dentistry in Atherton, California. She earned her Doctorate of Dental Medicine from Boston's Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Further, she completed the advanced post-graduate residency program at U.C.S.F. School of Dentistry, where she was also a chief resident and clinical instructor. Nazila has been part of the Pars family since 2010, as volunteer and member of our annual fundraising Gala committee.
Gerald Gray is a psychotherapist who has been involved for over twenty years with survivors of war, torture, and exile by providing psychotherapy, or founding clinical treatment centers, or by founding legal centers to track and bring to justice human rights violators who have entered North America to hide in the refugee communities. He is forging a national system to find torturers and hold them accountable, involving intertwining projects in law, psychology, journalism, investigation, research, education and policy development.
Laleh Kazemi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Organizational Management from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. Ms. Kazemi worked in the financial services industry for companies such as Wells Fargo, Citibank, California Bank & Trust, and Tamalpais Bank. Her positions included personal banking, branch management, investment consulting, private client services in wealth management departments, and Vice President of Marketing and Branding.
Ms. Mahdavi brings over 16 years of experience in the area of Career Development, Human Resources, and Entrepreneurship. After her graduate studies, Ms. Mahdavi consulted with many Fortune 500 companies to design and implement highly efficient senior level Talent Acquisition programs with 100% success rate.
Neema Mahdavian is an entrepreneur in the financial world. From starting a banking operation in the Bay Area at the age of 28 and selling to a large financial firm years later. He has a strong passion for the community and serves on several other boards in the Los Angeles area. Being born to Iranian immigrants Mr. Mahdavian has a passion for helping Iranian Refugees and has a desire to help Iranian immigrants become successful entrepreneurs here in America. Mr. Mahdavian is currently a Financial Services Manager at US Bank and through his work at US Bank he is able to serve the community and the Iranian People in Los Angeles County.
Mr. Milani is the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University and a visiting professor in the department of political science. In addition, Dr. Milani is a research fellow and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. His expertise is U.S./Iran relations, Iranian cultural, political, and security issues.
Mr. Farzad Naimi is Founder and CEO at NAIMIgroup, overseeing and leading its operational arms: RONA Investment, FARZAD Studio, and Nima & Farzan Philanthropy. Built on three cornerstones—Create, Grow, Share—NAIMIgroup is a foundation unlike any other, investing in innovative ideas that challenge us to think outside the box and have the potential to not only reshape, but also improve the world we live in.
Ms. Salem is Corporate and Government Affairs Counsel at Synopsys, Inc and possesses a background of policy, politics, and technology. Ms. Salem has worked as legislative counsel for Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, a congressional aide for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and served as a legislative fellow with Congressman Patrick Murphy.
Born in Iran, Ms. Shad grew up in Paris and immigrated to the US in 2003. Ms. Shad has been a respected and well-known member of the Iranian community, inside and outside the country. For six years she was the anchor, and much-acclaimed face of two cultural programs on the Persian programs of Voice of America. Her astute observations, her organic ties to the youthful dynamic cultural evolution inside and outside the country made her a household name. It is far from hyperbole to say that she was one of the most popular and at the same time respected names in cultural and musical domains.
Abdi Soltani has served as the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California since April 2009. The ACLU of Northern California works to preserve and guarantee the protections of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, due process, and equal protection of the law. The largest of the ACLU’s 53 affiliates nationwide, the ACLU-NC has over 50,000 members, 50 staff located at its San Francisco headquarters and a legislative office in Sacramento.
Dr. Foojan Zeine is an International Speaker, Psychotherapist, and Author. She has her doctorate in clinical psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is the originator of Awareness Integration Model. Dr. Zeine is the founder of Personal Growth Institute serving the multi-cultural and Multi-lingual community in the Los Angeles and Orange County. She is a guest speaker at many universities including Harvard, MIT, UCLA, USC, UC Santa Barbara, and Cal State Long Beach. She has been a guest on the Dr. Phil show in CBS, Fox, Voice of America Television Programs; KPFK 90.7, KIRN 670, Hamrah Radio Programs, and co-hosts 2 television shows in the International television program of GEM TV.
Mahnaz Milani Baladi
Mahnaz comes to Pars Equality Center Generation + with background in connecting Iranian and non Iranian-Americans to the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Iran in several non-profit and academic centers in NY and OR. She worked over 10 years in corporate US, has two BS with honors in Physics and Chemical Engineering from Adelphi and Columbia U, MS in Physics from University of Oregon and Strategic Making Risk Management Certificate from Stanford U. She’s passionate about helping strengthen the ecosystem of support for community engagement for Young Iranians in Bay Area.
Shokraneh is passionate about building organizations that are financially sustainable and operational long term and is eager to share her knowledge with Pars Generation+. She has extensive experience in multiple industries such as finance, media and particularly non-profit management and consulting. Shokraneh has an Executive MBA from San Francisco State University and earned her bachelor in International Relations and minor in Spanish from University of California, Davis. She is also a committed athlete and motivated to achieve excellence by building strong and healthy teams.
Nima is an attorney born and raised in the Bay Area. He has maintained a strong tie to the Iranian language and culture his whole life. He has advocated on behalf of the Iranian-American community through his work with the Bay Area Iranian American Democrats and Iranian American Bar Association on issues like the Iran nuclear deal and the discriminatory changes to the U.S. visa waiver program. He looks forward to working with the Pars Generation+ board to bring Iranian American professionals from all backgrounds together through a community-building and culturally invigorating platform.
Sina Tabesh is founder of a SF-based education technology startup with mission to provide more tools and opportunity for language teachers. Prior moving to Bay Area in 2012, he has worked and studied in France. Sina is passionate about bringing community together through organizing cultural events and give back to the community to make a positive difference. He has been working with various nonprofits as a board member and adviser.