According to the U.S. Census Bureau an estimated five hundred thousand to one million Iranian-American’s are living in the United States today. Yet, what’s so remarkable about this group of individuals is not their demographics in and of itself but the level of success they have achieved in such a short span of time. From arts and entertainment to business and academic research, Iranian-Americans have excelled within every segment of American culture. However, their greatest asset does not lie within the board room but inside the community instead. This segment thrives on success and in an effort to attain it, have seamlessly paved the way for the next generation. One clear example of this is POOIA, the Professional Organization of Iranian-Americans.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia POOIA aims to bring Iranian American professionals together based on a notion of networking, fellowship, and the desire to give back to the community. As a means to counter balance the negative stereotypes the media portrays about Iranians, the organizations stands as a conduit through which Iranian-Americans may showcase their success. Since its establishment, the organization has developed three main objectives to meet its goals. The first is in regards to networking and creating a sense of synergy among professionals who are eager to give back to the community. The second concerns Generation Y and assisting them with their professional growth and the third involves protecting and portraying Iranian-Americans true image. Professionals and members alike who are eager to share their experiences may finally do so on an entirely new platform regardless of their political or cultural affiliation. Whether this is through mentorship opportunities or extended education programs, the goal is to provide a positive impact within society.
POOIA is a prime illustration of this very endeavor and in an effort to reach a larger demographic has recently recruited new volunteers to help spread the word. A mass email was distributed calling for candidates who were willing to offer their expertise within the realm of membership, public relations, education, event planning and community service. Candidates were asked to identify two roles they felt passionate about and indicate how they could contribute. The response was tremendous and a follow-up email was delivered days later listing the new volunteers as well as their titles. Since then, the organization has had an outstanding kick start as volunteers’ work diligently to revamp POOIA’s website and attract new members.
Yet, one may still beg to ask the question, why POOIA? Why now? The answer is simple. In no other time has it been so important for Iranian-Americans to reveal their true image than now. Iranian-Americans continue to play an integral role in our society and with each successful endeavor they pursue, the community benefits. However, very seldom does this group have the chance to join other like-minded individuals to help foster change and exchange ideas. Until now that is. POOIA stands as a tool in which members from various communities may come together to further their ambitions. Whether this includes attending a local networking event, working behind the scenes as a volunteer, or donating one’s time to mentor an up and coming young adult professional, the possibilities are endless and so too are the rewards.
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