I love to travel. I love nature and I love learning about different cultures. The map below summarizes where I come from, what cities I lived in and what places I have visited so far. I feel very fortunate having lived in four amazing metropilitan areas in the Middle East, Europe and USA: Tehran, London, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Also, to have visited over 50 cities in 20 different countries. Still, there are so many countries that I haven't seen and are on my list: Japan, Russia, China, Egypt and South Africa to name a few.
My family is very important to me. I met the love of my life about 20 years ago and we got married at the turn of the century. We have always been together and I hope our happiness and love never ends. We have a 6 year old son who has added so much joy and happiness to our lives.
I am a very private person, which means that I don't share much about my private life in the public sphere (especially on Facebook). This can be really hard at our time, but I do my best to protect certain things about my personal life and family.
As it comes to influence, I would like to mention a few names. Apart from my close family members (my wife, my son, mother, father and brother), there have been a few people who greatly influenced the way I think, work and live:
1. Mr Tajik: my 7th and 8th grade math teacher. He formed a group of 10-12 students at our school and offered us a special extracurricular program. This process had a profound impact on me and significantly increased my self-confidence and academic aptitude.
2. Master Faramarz Payvar: my music teacher for 10 years since I was 11. Exposure to the mindset and work ethics of this grand master throughout my teenage years changed me forever. I owe a great deal of my self-discipline, determination and perseverance to him.
3. Panjool: a circle of friends consisting of Sina, Behdad, Peyman, Houman and I (picture on the right). When I was 20, we formed this group at Tehran Medical School and committed to hold weekly sessions on the history of science, philosophy, culture, religion, psychology, literature, world cinema and current affairs. This entity uplifted my intellect from a straight A nerd to someone with a deep appreciation for other cultures and in particular Western civilizations.
4. Professor Malekzadeh: my first boss and professional mentor. What I learned from him at the Academy of Medical Sciences was to be optimistic (and pragmatic) in both favorable and unfavorable circumstances, to have unconditional trust for others and to have an endless drive to develop others even if you know they might not stay in your organization.
5. Ms. Jeannette Murphy: the mother of my career. When we moved to London, Jeannette as a senior lecturer at UCL was the first person who took me under her wings, gave me a project to work on, found me my first full-time job at the Whittington Hospital, introduced me to my next academic supervisors (Professor Greenhalgh and Professor Wallace) and ensured that I would teach regularly at various institutions. Without her influence and supports, adjusting to my new life in the UK would have been a totally different experience.
6. Peter Senge and Jamshid Gharajedaghi: When I told Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein, who is such an extraordinary friend and source of wisdom, about my new venture, Thinkocrats; he gave me a few useful tips and mentioned several names. Among them was Peter Senge and the Society for Organization Learning. One month later, I was at Peter's Foundation for Leadership course at MIT. What a life-changing experience! On my return journey to New York, I called my brother in Tehran and he reminded me of our grandmother's cousin, who was a pioneer in the field of Systems Thinking. I googled him and to my surprise, I learned that he was living just a couple of hours away from where we lived. An email to introduce myself and the rest is history. The outcome of (re)connecting with Jamshid Gharajedaghi was trifold: 1) He gave me a whole new perspective on Systems Thinking through his magnificent book, 2) I found so many wonderful family connections through him in the US (originally I was under the impression that we had no family in the US), and 3) Through a family tree that Jamshid's brother shared with me, I learned about my influential ancestors over the past 200 years, which gave me a whole new perspective of where I came from, who I am, and what I am capable of.