Home: Austin, TX. Age: My salt and pepper hair says it all. Birthplace: Iran. Profession: Life scientist, academic turned venture investor and others in between. Organization: Aurora Equity and Band of Angles. Title: Partner / Chairman of AgFood Tech.
Recent professional development: Establishing an apiary and wildflowers on my ranch to enhance the pollinator habitat. Latest accomplishment: Organized and launched sustainability event at global stage. Latest contribution to others: Continue mentoring founders, women and people of color. What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Among many, leaving my beloved Bay Area for Austin. Hobbies: Reading, opera; cooking is my love language. Recent travel or adventure: Alaska. Last book read: Log from Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck. Recent unique acquisition: A ranch in the Texas Hill Country with giant oak trees and great views of the valley.
Personality profile: Giving, curious; I connect the dots and see patterns beyond the particulars. What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Trustworthy. Moral compass: The Ten Commandments, updated for the modern age. How do you define a perfect friendship? It ain’t about just taking. How do you define an ideal business relationship? Complementary thoughts. What is your greatest joy? Walking in nature. What is your greatest fear? Shhh.. the universe may hear me. What is your guilty pleasure? Cheese. What natural talent have you neglected? My artistic side. What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Architects and interior designers. How do you relieve stress? Soundscape music over special tea. What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Nature, food, culture.
What was your first paying job? Typing instructor at fourteen. What was your favorite college course? Biochemistry. What was your favorite childhood toy or game? My dolls tea party. What movie have you repeatedly watched? Out of Africa. Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? Several male colleagues in academia. What’s the best advice you received growing up? Be honest. What’s the best advice you’ve given to those you mentor? Reputation is everything; earn it and then protect it.
What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Emojies. What company or organization do you most admire? World Food Program. What public or historical figure do you most admire? Nelson Mandela. Who is your favorite author? John Steinbeck. What world event has had the greatest influence on your life? President Reagan’s rescission of President Carter’s executive order to deport Iranians during the hostage crisis. What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? Targeted for deportation just before my dissertation defense.
Innovation in sustainable agriculture and global food security.
What message do you want to send out into the world? Don’t judge the book by its cover. What widely held belief do you reject? You can have things without earning them. What mega-trend most excites you? Reducing waste and medical miracles. What mega-trend most concerns you? Artificial intelligence and aging of the world.
What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Against All Odds. What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Meryl Streep. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A fashion designer. How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? At a Michelin 3 Star restaurant in San Sebastian. Who would you like to meet in heaven? Leonardo de Vinci. Who would you like to spend an evening with in heaven? George P. Schultz. Who would like to take courses from in heaven? Thomas Jefferson. Who would still like to meet here on earth? Walter Isaacson.
Personal mission: I will remain a good person all my life. Personal motto: Trust is not regained easily. Favorite quote: “When I do good, I feel good, when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion” (Abraham Lincoln). Desired epitaph: She cared.