Lights! Camera! Ali! At age 26, Ali Zamani has launched a career as a screenwriter/director/filmmaker, and as his projects continually propel him full steam ahead into the Hollywood and international scene, we’re proud to have captured just a small glimpse into this remarkable artist’s life. With his first job as a video store clerk, who would have thought that his path would eventually lead him through graduate school and eventually founding AZ Productions? From music videos to movies, Ali covers all territory; whether scouting sites, hiring crew members, or editing his films, Ali sees his works all the way through wanting always to add one more special touch or creative twist. Now with years of professional work under his belt, Ali has much to show for his dedication to the art of film making. For more information on Ali Zamani and AZ Productions, read on to learn more in this week’s edition of The Mideast Connect!
We’re looking for people to scope out the hottest young talent in the professional and non-profit world. We’re seeking smart people to identify and get in touch with young professionals breaking age barriers in their company, starting their own companies or non-profit organizations, doing the corporate thing by day and moonlighting as something totally different at night or those young professionals that channel their passions towards interesting non-profit ventures.
Gaining admission into an elite MBA program or top-ranked college is a highly competitive process. Differentiating oneself to stand out from all the applicants is no easy feat. That’s where the services of Expartus, an admissions consulting company headed by CEO Chioma Isiadinso, can give a prospective student that winning edge. Chioma, 36, Co-Founded Expartus after working for Harvard Business School’s MBA admissions board. Her company uses personal branding to help clients market themselves effectively to their most desired programs. Admissions advisors and
brand strategists provide personalized services, helping each client with the unique challenges and concerns he or she faces. In addition to providing individual consulting services, Expartus also conducts seminars and workshops, including its new “Brand Your Way to an MBA” workshop. To learn more about how Chioma and Expartus are helping students get into their dream schools, check out this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Based in Washington D.C. with philanthropic efforts in South Africa, the Ithemba Foundation exists for the sole purpose to nourish children in body, spirit, and mind. Laurie Scott, age 34 and Executive Director, founded this non-profit in 2002 and, since then, has expanded the agency to include four primary avenues of support: a computer training program, leadership camps, school meals, and karate classes. The Ithemba Foundation has fed more than 400 children and strives to do more through helping donors realize that physically nourishing an impoverished child only addresses one aspect of larger social issues. Laurie is grateful for an all-volunteer Board of Directors and says that without their tireless efforts Ithemba could not have garnered all of its successes to date. For more information on the Ithemba Foundation and how to help shape the lives of thousands of South Africa’s under-served children, read on to learn more in this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight
People who work in sales and customer service have to manage relationships with large numbers of customers, clients, and other contacts. Traditionally, customer relationship management (CRM) has been complicated and expensive. But James Wong’s company, Avidian Technologies, offers a software solution that makes CRM simple and intuitive. Avidian created Prophet, a CRM software that is built right into Microsoft Outlook. Since sales professionals and customer service people spend so much of their time in Outlook anyway, it made obvious sense to develop a software that was within Outlook. That way, users have to deal with just one application and one customer contact database. Prophet was named “Favorite Small Business Tool” by PC Magazine this year and has been praised in other publications as well. As Co-Founder and CEO, James, 35, is also proud that Avidian has been named as one of Washington state’s “Best Companies to Work For” for three years in a row. To learn more about James and Prophet, check out this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Amy Lin firmly believes in the Taiwanese people’s right to self-determination and right to be free. So strong are her convictions that she works as Program Director of the Formosa Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is committed to strengthening ties between Taiwan and the United States and protecting both their vital interests. The Formosa Foundation takes the position that the United States should recognize and support Taiwan – in keeping with a shared democratic and human rights value system – rather than continue its One China Policy, which the organization believes increases the strategic threat of China against Taiwan. Amy advances this position through educational and advocacy efforts that include conferences, newsletters, media relations, and other forms of publicity. Most notably, she created the organization’s flagship Ambassador Program, which sends young leaders to Washington, DC, to meet with members of Congress and promote enhanced relations between the United States and Taiwan. To learn more about the Formosa Foundation and Amy Lin, check out this week’s Nonprofit Spotlight.
With endless to-do lists at work, appointments and meetings to remember, and constant errands to run, there is high likelihood that you might forget some of your minor personal tasks. Enter Networkcar! The brainchild of Diego A. Borrego, Founder and Director of Product Engineering, Networkcar offers real-time wireless vehicle management for personal or business purposes. Simply put, this system includes GPS tracking, remote diagnostics, preventative maintenance alerts, reporting for fleet vehicles, and a stolen vehicle recovery program. It’s easy enough to use if you’re a parent looking to track your teen’s car use or, perhaps, a truck fleet owner working to reduce operating costs. To learn more about how Diego turned his boyhood truck driving dream into a multi-million dollar and multi-award winning concept, read more in this week’s Young and Professional Profile.
Who doesn’t want to be heard? Whether in the work place, home, school, or in the political arena, having your thoughts and opinions vocalized is a truly validating experience. The Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC) of the State of Minnesota is that key element giving voice those who are often dismissed, or feel dismissed, from mainstream society. As the vital intermediary bridging community life to congressional life, the office has been in operation since 1978 and divides its efforts among five priority areas: education, economic development, immigration, health, and housing. Community Liason, Oscar Echandi Chittenden, age 29, is one of the team’s key members who fills his days meeting with constituents and bringing their wants and needs to the government table. He relishes in the emotionally rewarding experience that both sides offer and feels that this job is helping him achieve his true purpose in life. Given that no day is like the day before it, Oscar believes that the element of surprise keeps him in perpetual motion and brings him to closer to true fulfillment. For more information on the Chicano Latino Affairs Council and Oscar’s career highlights, read on in this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight.
24-year-old Aziz Ansari (who blogs at azizisbored.com) is in the midst of a meteoric rise in comedy.
Over the past couple of years, his awards and honors include: Emerging Comics of New York’s “Best Male Standup,” TimeOut New York’s “Favorite New Standup,” Rolling Stone’s “Hot List,” and New York Magazine’s “Funniest People You’ve Never Heard Of” (that one came early during his rise).
He has appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, and is featured on the upcoming Comedy Central Records CD/DVD compilation “Invite Them Up,” which features many of New York’s top comics. He provides occasional commentary on VH1’s Best Week Ever.
He is also busy with the comedy group Human Giant, which consists of Aziz and his colleagues Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, and Jason Woliner. Human Giant became an internet phenomenon and then, incredibly, MTV offered Human Giant a self-titled TV show. (Let us emphasize this: Human Giant did not approach MTV. MTV approached Human Giant. This is practically unheard of in the television business.)
Eight years ago, Nipun Mehta and a few of his friends went to a homeless shelter to help it build a Web site. That small act of generosity has today blossomed into CharityFocus, a nonprofit organization that is run by a decentralized network of thousands of volunteers. The organization’s volunteers do everything from providing Web services to small nonprofit organizations, to sending inspirational messages to people’s inboxes, to spreading the love with random acts of kindness. The organization doesn’t engage in any fundraising or charge anything for its services. Rather, it strives to model a gift economy, in which goods and services are given freely, rather than traded as they are in a market economy. Nipun, 31, is motivated by Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” He and the other volunteers at CharityFocus follow that message each day through small acts filled with big love. To feel that love, check out this week’s Nonprofit Spotlight.