Board of Directors

Bita Daryabari

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.


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Sargis Babakhanian

Board Member

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.


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Francis Najafi

Board Member

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).

 


Matin Nasiriha

Board Member

Matin Nasiriha is an actress, graphic, and costume designer.  In Iran, her works were featured in various publications and one magazine named her "best designer" of the year.   Eventually, she realized her goal of moving to the United States, and entered the graduate program at the American Art University where she received her MFA in Fashion Design in 2012.  She has attended workshops conducted by Mr. Bahram Beyzaei at Stanford University and played lead acting roles in his plays, while also designing costumes and other production pieces.   


Reza Odabaee

Chief Operating Officer

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.

 


Sassan Rafizadeh

Board Member

Dr. Sassan Rafizadeh, M.D., Ph.D. (Dr. Rafi), is a scientist, physician, and entrepreneur.  In addition to his medical doctorate, Dr. Rafi completed a doctorate degree in molecular, cellular and systematic physiology from the University of California, Davis and is a recipient of the U.C. Davis Max Kleiber Research Prize for superior scholarly achievement. He serves as chief medical officer and chief science officer to early stage life science companies. Dr. Rafi has spent hundreds of hours volunteering his time to provide free care for patients of underserved backgrounds, in the U.S. and internationally. 


Lily Sarafan

Board Member

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.


 

ADVISORY BOARD

Shahrzad Ardalan

Board Member

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.

Gerald Gray

Board Member

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.

Nahal Iravani-Sani

Board Member

Nahal Iravani-Sani is a Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County, California. She has been a criminal prosecutor with the office since 1995 having been the sole lead trial attorney on a variety of felonies through all phases of the criminal justice system. Her assignments have included serving on Central Felonies, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Wards, Narcotics, Consumer Fraud and Environmental Protection units. She is currently assigned to the Sexual Assault Unit where she prosecutes rape, child molestation, and human trafficking cases.

Laleh Kazemi

Board Member

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.

Mitra Mahdavi

Board Member

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.

Abbas Milani

Board Member

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.

Farzad Naimi

Board Member

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.

Mercedes Salem

Board Member

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.

Luna Shad

Media Director

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

Board Member

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.


GENERATION +

Sepideh Nasiri

Board Chair

Sepideh (“Sepi”) Nasiri  is an award winning serial Entrepreneur. Sepi started her career as a Co-founder and Managing Editor of a digital and print Los Angeles Magazine and later joined a number of successful startups in Silicon Valley including as the VP of Women 2.0. Currently, Ms Nasiri advises early stage startups, is an avid technology enthusiast and mentors globally many female entrepreneurs and founders in technology. She is passionate about supporting the community of Young Iranians in the Bay Area and beyond.

Elnaz Eilkhani

Board Member

Elnaz Eilkhani joins the Generation + team with a strong enthusiasm for community building and engagement, especially among the young Iranian generation. She completed her BS in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior from UC Davis and Master’s in Public Health from San Francisco State University. While her professional interests have steered her towards a career in healthcare policy and social health research, her love for Iranian art and culture have led to her involvement with non-profit organizations serving the Iranian community for over 10 years. She is currently the Executive Director at Iranican Inc., serves on the executive team for the NeekOn festival, and is motivated to build a better, stronger and more united community for Young Iranians.

Mahnaz Milani Baladi

Board Member

 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.

Nima Rahimi

Board Member

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.

Shadi Rezvan

Board Member

Shadi Rezvan has a long-standing passion for mentoring, coaching and empowering others to achieve their highest potential. She completed Bachelor of Economics from Shahid Beheshti University and Master of Executive Management from Allameh Tabatabaee in Tehran before moving to Toronto, Canada to complete her MBA at the Schulich School of Business. Shadi has held progressive roles in several Fortune 500 companies including UPS, Scotiabank, Deloitte and Bank of Montreal. She is currently working at Twitter as a Senior Manager, Shared Services and Transformation where she leads global teams in their transformation journeys. Having lived in Iran, Canada and now United States, Shadi understands the challenges of newcomers and is excited to share her experience and knowledge to help young Iranians become successful. 

Navid Shahdi

Board Member 

Navid Shahdi’s key passion is to connect and empower people and communities. He did his PhD and Postdoc in Robotics and Intelligent Systems at Stanford University. He has worked as an engineer, manager and senior leader in multiple startups and corporates. He has always been an active member of the community, has been an integral part of leadership in various high impact community projects such as Tirgan and NeekOn, and has been a board member of multiple NGOs such Nawranj, Iranican, and Pars G+. Besides being in the high-tech industry, he has a great passion for arts. He is an amateur actor and has participated in multiple theater and movie projects. He also plays piano, tar and enjoys calligraphy and modern Persian.


DIRECTORS 

Ellie Clelland 

Senior Director of Social Services

Prior to joining Pars, Ellie Clelland was a founding member and Program Director at Global Catalyst Foundation. Ms. Clelland’s in-country project work includes South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Lebanon, Jordon, Israel, Palestine and Iran to evaluate and advise on funded programs. She also currently serves on two boards; New Global Citizens and Support for Partners of Sustainable Development. Ms. Clelland received a double major in Business Administration and Food Science from Utah State University.

Sarvenaz Fahimi

 Senior Director of the Legal Department

As a native of Minnesota, Ms. Fahimi completed her education in the Midwest and began her career at the Minneapolis firm of Winthrop and Weinstine.  After obtaining valuable experience at W&W, she moved to the Bay Area and continued to focus her practice upon all aspects of litigation and advising both individuals and corporations.  Ms. Fahimi received her Bachelor of Arts from Marquette University in Wisconsin. In 2001, she earned her Juris Doctor from Marquette University Law School, cum laude, graduating in the top 10% of her class. She is licensed to practice in California, Minnesota and Wisconsin.