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Friday, June 5, 2020

Girl Uninterrupted

February 14, 2010  
Filed under Profiles / Interviews

Text by Annie Suh
Photos by Isaac White
Wardrobe Stylist: Stacy Ellen
Makeup/Hair: Katrine Lieberkind, Beauty Editor

Photo (from top): jeans, tank top shell and necklace on shoulder from ANGL; jacket from ANGL; jeans and cuff bracelets from ANGL

Jeans, tank top shell and necklace on shoulder from ANGL

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“I don’t believe in being burned out,” is the way Arameh Anvarizadeh coolly put it. Her first name is pronounced ah-rah-may, but regarding her last name, you’ll have to ask her yourself. At 26, and with a doctorate in occupational therapy (OT) from USC, Arameh juggles a full-time job as an OT while being co-editor of an OT association newsletter, managing a global telecom franchise on the side chock-full with meeting after meeting, and acting as a board member for BWW (Black Women for Wellness). And with it all she can still muster up enough energy to squeeze in a daily workout and keep an active social life. Anyone up for a challenge?

Rewind a few chapters and you’ll see Arameh in high school as ASB vice president. Come college, you’ll see her take up the reigns in a community outreach organization she started called Blacks In Action (BIA)—which became “humbly and thankfully” the number one organization on campus. And still, you sense no ego trip brewing. Her ability and desire to attain success came at an early age, but Arameh also has an answer to the why. “I want the money that I make to be not for pocket, but for purpose.” (More on that later.)

Did I hear someone call her superwoman? Not many young twentysomethings can do what she does, but Arameh knows it’s a gift and she intends to use it. Growing up with two cultures gave her a different outlook on life, and she credits this to her African–American mother and Iranian father who made her feel comfortable with both identities. She’s able to fit into both cultures seamlessly, and it helps that she’s fluent in Farsi. But we’ll just let her do more of the talking.

CM: Did you always have an idea of what you wanted to do in life?
AA: When I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to go to USC and then I just focused on that. And then at ’SC, I knew that I wanted to become a doctor in something. I’ve always had the innate feeling of wanting to help people, so that’s also how I started my organization there. When I graduated and got my degrees, everyone was like “okay, you have your doctorate. You’re good now.” But I just felt like, “what’s next?” and never wanted to feel complacent. I didn’t want to be that person who just goes to work and comes home. I’ve always had the vision that I was going to change the world somehow. I know that kind of sounds crazy, but I believe it. I really do. And that’s just a gift the Lord has given me, I believe. It’s such a big feat to overcome, but it’s something I feel confident in.

CM: You’re doing a lot right now, but do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough?
AA: I’m in the season of my life where I’m focused on specific goals. I started my own global telecom franchise where I help people save money and teach families how to make more income. I want to achieve a position where I feel like I’ve arrived, and then I’ll probably be hungry for something else, but right now I’m going to focus on that and OT…I want to do a lot of policy making in OT.

CM: How did you start your global franchise?
AA: Knowing that it was going to change my lifestyle so that I can do what I want in the future is something that was exciting to me. It’s challenging and not everyone can handle it, but I love it. FDI provides financial, health and communication services. One thing I like is our newest mobile and voice service that allows hands free calling, texting and emailing. It’s a campaign to save lives by eliminating distracted driving. As you know, Legislature and media are pushing the topic right now, as on Oprah, and right now we’re the only one with a solution.

Jacket from ANGL

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We also help families earn extra income. We help people have a serious plan B, especially right now with the state of the economy where people are struggling big time. To be able to provide that access to financial stability and help them is something that has really become a ministry to me. I think when you help people and help them achieve their dreams, the money will come. The money’s not first.

CM: Could you briefly describe the campus organization you started when you were at USC?
AA: Blacks In Action. I started it during my junior year in undergrad. An epiphany came to me at a random retreat I was at. I saw that everyone was doing things in the community except the minority, so I thought “We need to do something that will make them recognize our faces and make a connection to us.” So I started a community outreach organization where we dealt with youth, environment, education and all different issues. We organized different events, but our most popular event was hip-hop culture night. We went to schools and a foster home where the kids were all really talented and I thought, “What a good a way to connect the kids. It’ll help them with their confidence, their hygiene… all the things that are needed to put on a show. So we linked the kids to our school to perform—foster kids and ’SC students. It was a packed auditorium with around 200 people. It was like our heyday. We got several awards. And we’ve had a lot of people start several organizations based on our model, and that’s when I knew….We were just gung ho about making a change. We started a scholarship which was going to be our legacy. We were able to give out four scholarships for about $1,000 each. Our whole criteria were for students who were giving to the community. We had a lot of people change the way they thought about their position on ethnicity.

Jeans and cuff bracelets from ANGL

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CM: What does a normal week look like? Do you ever get burned out?
AA: No, I don’t believe in being burned out. My dad’s like “but you’re going to age fast.” Whatever. I’d rather age now and relax at 30! But a typical week: I go to my job and in between, my lunch, I’m working my franchise. And after work I go to the gym because I believe in balance…gotta have balance. And I’m in meetings all after work for my franchise. I love people. It’s all about people. I think that if you have something that can change people’s lives immensely, why not share that? I don’t know how I balance. I just do it…it’s part of my lifestyle and if I just stopped, I’d feel lost—so lost. I wouldn’t know what to do. I don’t see myself working a nine to five for 40 years, and I don’t want that. We’re here on earth for a purpose and I believe that we’re game changers. We have to change the way things are in this world. And you can’t do that with a nine to five…there’s no time. I’m at the point where I’m not married, I don’t have kids and what the heck…why not just go crazy, inspire people, have ambition, and be humble while you do it, enjoy life and just learn? I’m learning that now.

CM: Okay, so let’s just say that you had all the money in the world. What would you do with it?
AA: I wish you would’ve told me that sooner. I would’ve brought my notebook—my 10 page notebook of goals. I’m type A if you didn’t already know. One wonderful thing is that I have a success partner. He’s amazing. What that means is that we’re agents for success for each other. We work together and write down goals that are achievable and review them quarterly. I want to open up clinics all over the world. I want to open up spas, I want to get an island and retire my parents. I want the money that I make to be not for pocket, but for purpose. I hate when people say “Money’s not everything.” Well it’s not, but it’s pretty much up there with air because you can do things. You can help people and bless them with something—provide investments for people who want to start their own music label, etc—make an impact with finance. You can’t do that with a nine to five. My goals are big. And when I set a goal, I’m going to make it happen.

CM: Do you have any favorite books?
AA: I’m not a girl who sits down and reads Twilight. I’m busy and for me to sit down and read a book, it has to be worth my time. I told myself “Arameh, you need to slow down and read because it makes you think.” I like reading books about life: Think and Grow Rich, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. Right now I’m reading The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, and the Bible—definitely key.

arameh3

CM: Who are your inspirations, heroes, or people you look up to?
AA: I gravitate toward women who have stories. As far as celebrities, I don’t get caught up in all that nonsense. But as for Oprah, I do love Oprah—just her spirit. And you must think I’m crazy, but I love P. Diddy…his hustle. Other people I look up to are my mom, aunt and grandma.

CM: What are your guilty pleasures?
AA: Sometimes I’ll just sit and turn on the devil…I’ll turn on the TV, VH1 and watch the stupidest shows. It’s culture and I still like it … and chocolate—milk chocolate. I don’t do that dark chocolate, healthy nonsense. Give me all the chocolate and keep it going!

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Comments

4 Responses to “Girl Uninterrupted”
  1. MK says:

    very inspiring! I wish I had 1/5 the focus and energy she seems to have. So amazing that Arameh had such a clear idea of what she wanted to do at such a young age.

  2. Denise Lamb says:

    Great article. Very inspiring. This young lady is on a mission, has a plan and is going places. We definitely need to hear more stories like this. So positive

  3. Donia says:

    its me ur sis. woooow u look beautiful.

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