What position do you hold, besides being a HousingWorks Austin board member?
- I serve as President of the Workers Defense Project Board of Directors and as Digital Inclusion Strategy Lead for Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google. I’m also a mom to two young girls, Roxana and Farah.
Where did you grow up and attend school?
- I grew up in Austin. My family and I moved from Iran to the U.S. so that my dad could get his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. I grew up on campus, spending many childhood summer days at the Perry-Castaneda Library, where my mom worked before she went back to school and later taught at Huston-Tillotson University. I’ll never forget watching my parents navigate a new country, learning a new language and culture, building new friendships and careers, all while raising young children.
- I attended UT-Austin, where I was a Plan II major and studied government. After working in Washington, D.C. for a couple of years, I returned home to Austin to attend UT Law and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. So, yes, I bleed burnt orange.
What are your major career accomplishments?
- My journey has been full of humbling moments but even more people and opportunities that have inspired me. As an undergraduate at UT, I was elected student government president — a full circle moment for my immigrant parents who had raised their kids on campus. Upon graduating from law school, I clerked for U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore in Houston, where I had the opportunity to work on a wide range of cases, including jury trials, on civil rights and criminal law matters.
- I then joined the Metropolitan Equity practice at Public Advocates, a nonprofit civil rights law firm in San Francisco — first as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and then as Staff Attorney. There, I drove statewide advocacy and coalitions to define and integrate social equity into California’s climate change policies — so that state, regional, and local policy reforms addressed the most vulnerable residents’ needs, advanced environmental justice, and generated more affordable housing and public transit. I’m particularly proud of co-founding and convening the 6 Wins Network. In partnership with grassroots organizations across California, our coalition built community power and advocated for more sustainable and equitable approaches in regional planning processes.
- I also recently served as Head of Equity, Inclusion and Community Impact for Google Fiber, where I led the company’s strategy to drive equity and inclusion throughout the communities we serve, our internal operations, and our business model. I managed the team of Government and Community Affairs Managers (GCAMs) who led the municipal government engagement and digital inclusion partnerships in Google Fiber cities across the U.S. Here in Austin, I partnered with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, Austin Free-Net, Austin Community College, and others to connect public housing residents to Google Fiber internet, digital literacy education, and refurbished devices at no cost– a program model that has since been replicated across the U.S.
What are some interests of yours not related to your work or HousingWorks?
- In regular times, I love enjoying live music in the sunny outdoors. In pandemic times, I am grateful for the extra time I am getting with my children and their pod-mates during at-home school and play.