I'm humbled to be included in such a distinguished list.
I've lived in #Atlanta, off- and on- since May 23, 1981, when I immigrated to the U.S. from Iran. I arrived here via Eastern Airlines, grew up in the suburbs (Doraville/Dunwoody area), finished high school (Norcross), attended Georgia State for undergrad, and Emory University for graduate school. Although I've moved away several times, I keep finding my way back, most recently in 2002. Even when I travel extensively for work (208 days in 2019), Atlanta is home, and my family, many friends, and my heart is here.
In full transparency, I had known of Leadership Atlanta for several years and even applied to their program back in 2008 or 2012 timeframe. When I didn't make it, I was disappointed and moved on. Until a recent lunch with a long-time friend, Ken Ashley, who encouraged me to apply again. I reached out to several other execs who were alumni of previous classes and asked about their experience. The more I heard about the opportunity to intimately get to know my hometown, meet other accomplished execs, learn and grow through the nine-month process. At the same time, I give back and contribute to some of our city's most pressing challenges; I was all in.
We start in July with an orientation, an opening retreat in August, and jump right into Race Awareness, Criminal Justice & Public Safety, Education, Leadership, Community Issues, Power and Influence, and finally, a closing retreat. Nine-months of intense focus on all that's amazing about this beautiful city, as well as its fair share of challenges like homelessness, poverty, a visible delineation between Haves and Have-Nots, divergent education system, lack of cognitive diversity in our political ranks, and plenty of outdated beliefs and small minds squashing big ideas. I can't wait and will post my perspectives in our newly created Nour Forum community. Join us there if you care to know more, ask questions, or jump into a discussion.
Be safe and lead well,