Adventures with AnnaLiza

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv34946-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-4823756347nu0mrjOnce upon a time lived a family of three, Papa Antoine, Maman Layla, and daughter Delarai. They lived in a small but gorgeous house. God had blessed them with many things including good health, lovely neighbors, and loving friends. There was only one thing that was missing. All members of the family, especially the daughter, wished every night upon a star, that they could have a new addition to their family. A nice little sister for Delarai.


On March 3rd, a beautiful baby girl was born in a magical little city called San Francisco. She was 5 pounds 15 ounces and 20 inches tall.

She was ready for a new home. Maman Layla, Papa Antoine, and daughter Delarai rushed to the hospital to meet the gorgeous little princess. During the drive to the hospital, Delarai chose a name for her little sister, “Annaliza”, which meant a gift from God. As soon as the family entered the hospital room, AnnaLiza turned around & gave a gorgeous smile to her new family. It was love at first sight.

In the first weeks, AnnaLiza loved to sleep. Delarai would stay next to her crib and sing lovely songs for her in French, Farsi


and English.

She was called Annalisa by her sister, Poussine (French nickname) by Papa Antoine, and “Gomboloo” (Farsi nickname) by Maman Layla. AnnaLiza had lots of FANS. From that day on, Annaliza was called in many loving ways. Annaliza was sure special. So many people loved her.

AnnaLiza was sure a personality of her own. She was naughty, kind, and gentle. She sure knew what she wanted, and she was not afraid to ask for it.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-357-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-436;-57347nu0mrjAnnaliza had a lot of style. She looked good in any color and any outfits her sister would choose for her. She had a real sense for fashion, and she insisted on wearing the same outfits as her big sister. Annalisa sure loved to eat; she could not wait till the day she could start on solids.

On March 21st, AnnaLiza celebrated her first important holiday. That was the Iranian New Year. The family celebrated by cleaning the house, making a Hafsin, dressing in new clothes, and visiting special friends and family.



Annaliza became really chatty when she turned two month old. She would talk for hours, her mother and the neighbors heard her say “Hi” at an early age.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-2-8-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-436;9-6347nu0mrjAnnalisa and Delarai shared a very strong sisterly bond unmatched by anyone except maybe Elsa and Anna.

She also had a real sense for adventure, mountains, forests, and the park, nothing scared her at all.

When Annalisa turned three months, Mammy and Pappy came all the way from France to meet her. They brought her beautiful toys and clothes. She specially appreciated French Fashion, and had a great bond with Mammy who promised she would take her on many trips.232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-4-8-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-436;-6;347nu0mrj


At 4 months old, Delarai and Annaliza began planning a secret trip to the kingdom of Tonga, the land of Annaliza’s ancestors. Delarai suspects Annaliza could even the future Queen of Tonga. Located in Oceania, Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, directly south of Western Samoa and about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. AnnaLiza began learning how to swim as soon as she heard the kingdom has 177 islands, so she can be prepared for their first trip. Luckily they had a pool with pleasant warm water where AnnaLiza could swim as much as she likes. She also likes to sunbath with her sister Delarai. Oh the beauties of a California summer!232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv37353-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-4857292347nu0mrj

On the day Tupou VI and Nanasipau were crowned the new King and Queen of Tonga; Annaliza celebrated being an American at her first 4th of July neighborhood parade!

Annaliza began eating solids as soon as her Doctor said she could. (Just a few days short of her 5th month birthday). She was a real gourmand, and absolutely loved everything given to her. Her favorite dishes were: Rice cereal, celery juice and mashed carrots.  She also loved to help cook!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv37267-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-4993-59347nu0mrjAnnaliza even taught us some recipes from Tonga, like this watermelon drink Otai, and Kale Moa which is a chicken vegetable dish. She also loves pineapple.

Over all, Annaliza had a lovely first few months. Her family is looking forward to her six- month birthday, and her sister Delarai is planning many surprises for her to come. Annaliza has many aspirations for the near future. She hopes to try at least one new food each day, learn how to say hello in four different languages, and get a passport so she can go on an exciting adventurous holiday. She is currently deciding between the Kingdom of Tonga, Canada and France.


Where do you think she’ll end up next?



We are hiring our very first employees!

Cooking Class Teacher/Leader

Chef Koochooloo Early Stage Startup

Are you passionate about creating a fun and educational experience for children? Do you love cooking and tasting recipes from different countries? Are you looking to enhance your experience working with children while being involved with a Silicon Valley Startup? Then join our team! Chef Koochooloo is a mobile + social + educational platform that teaches kids about math, science and geography through cooking.  We have been piloting our curriculum in various Silicon Valley schools and received exceptional feedback.

Deliver the cooking session to a group of approximately 15 children ages 4-10 following the syllabus created by the Chef Koochooloo Product Development team
Guide the kids in preparing recipes from different countries while discovering the world
Actively engage in suggesting and planning activities, such as “learn while you wait”, fun facts and games

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Demonstrated interest and experience with children ages 4-10
  • Commitment to safety and well-being of the children
  • Understanding child development
  • Schedule flexibility
  • Passion for cooking and travelling
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Proven ability to work as a member of a team
  • About this company


  • Experience working with children
  • Work with an innovative company committed to creating global citizens that care about the world.
  • Hourly remuneration

The classes are scheduled to begin in November 2014 and will take place in the Mountain View School district as well as various restaurants.

Yenegah Bakery Lessons – Tuesdays from 4:00 to 5:30

Mariano Castro Elementary School – Tuesdays from 3:05 to 4:05 & Wednesdays from 2:05 to 3:05.

Email resumes to
Please visit some of our classroom sessions via our Youtube channel:


Participate in the Corporate Women’s Initiative Consortium Upcoming Events

It has been really exciting to act as the C0-Chair for the “Corporate Women’s Initiative Consortium”, (CWIC), a networking group of representatives from women in tech groups from various companies in Silicon Valley.

What a great way to kick off 2014, my employer, SAP was able to host our first event on March 11th. The Presentation by SAP’s Business Women Network was inspiring and fun!  SAP’s Silicon Valley Chapter was launched seven years ago; it was great to have insights from the original founding members as well as the new leaders. You may find a copy of our presentation here.

This was a special meeting for Cheri and I as it was our first meeting held as Chair and Co-Chair.

After the formal presentations and networking we had an amazing session on how can we keep women engaged in networking, and climb the leadership ladder? See attached pic of ideas discussed by one group.

I am looking forward to my year as Co-Chair with Cheri Leonard leading the way you as some of the most passionate women I have met in this journey.

For 2014, we have hosts for March and July; please let me know if your organization is interested in hosting in May, September or November.

2014 CWIC Lunch Dates:

  • May 8th: Charles Schwab, Menlo Park
  • July 10th: Applied Materials
  • September 11th: Lockheed Martin
  • November 13th: TBD


We’ve been storing files and information under our Yahoo Groups, the Yahoo Groups format has changed and isn’t as easy to use as it used to be so we wanted to propose using a LinkedIn Group moving forward. Please let us know if you would like this.

Upcoming Events of interest:

Women who don’t self promote are letting us down! April 3rd, A conversation with Maggie Fox, head of Integrated Digital Experience at SAP

Invent Your Future: April 22nd: professional women’s conference

PBWC: May 13th: professional women’s conference

Anita Borg Women of Vision Dinner: May 8th

Society of Women Engineers Conference, technical women’s conference:  in October and nearby in LA this year and they are currently taking submissions

Thrive: March 26th and 27

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners: has openings available if your company would like to host, reach out to Sukrutha Raman Bhadouria <>

FountainBlue: When She Speaks: monthly lunch events

Networking with a Purpose: is a great cross corporation networking event with several of our members as organizers; we just missed one at Cisco and I’ll let you know when the next one is scheduled


As members of your organizations Women’s Network, we want to encourage conversation and event sharing across the other members of CWIC, however, we want to keep the topic friendly and focused and vendor free.  As CWIC members, you are welcome to share information about up coming events of interest and activities with this group.   The main goal of CWIC is information sharing and to be effective we need to have trust, therefore please help us all by keeping the CWIC member information private.   To help, please use a BCC strategy and start the subject with CWIC.

As you are meeting women from other Corporate Networks or women that want help to get one started, please feel free to educate them about CWIC and introduce them to Cheri and myself.

Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback.

Thank you!


Leadership Ladder and Engagement. Ideas to motivate participation and growth!

Leadership Ladder and Engagement. Ideas to motivate participation and growth!

Want to Make a Career Transition? Start Planning a Few Steps Ahead!

As I have begun working on launching a social enterprise “Chef Koochooloo” in the Tech Ed/Food Innovation Space, (Yes, I know it is  VERY FAR stretch from Enterprise Software) I began consulting with other female entrepreneurs to see how the transition was for them. The conversations were so helpful that I decided to design the mini workshop:  “Managing Career Transitions” and invite one of my all time favorite managers from Yahoo! (and former entrepreneur) , Sarah Acton to come and provide mentorship to SAP’s Business Women Network.

Sarah is a highly creative and strategic senior marketing executive with over 17 years of experience at companies such as LinkedIn, Yahoo!, Coca-Cola, and The Home Depot, as well as a successful launch for a store. She is also someone who has successfully navigated transitions in her own career and always had a smile in her face, no matter how tough the day was. I was impressed by Sarah’s ability to keep a balanced life and manage two active boys.

Sarah’ support was incredible when I went through the first round of ‘ectopic pregnancies’.  I still remember the day she personally drove me to the hospital, and given her positive outlook on life, I could not be in better company as I held to the door handle with pain and hoped for the best . When I lost the baby, her flexibility in allowing me to work from home during recovery phase was touching.

Sarah’s talk was engaging and inspiring.  One of the young aspiring Marketers in the audience, Teresa Huang wrote a blog post about the event and we thought it would be good to share her post below with those who could not attend.


Here are the key takeaways from Sarah’s engaging talk:

Start thinking a few steps ahead.

Think about the “after” while you’re still in your current position. Where do you want your path to go, and how will you get there? Identifying your goals and assessing your current skill set will help you formulate an action plan. Acknowledge that there are areas where you may need help and begin networking strategically.

Know your story.

You’ve planned ahead, done your research, and now you’ve landed a job interview. Great! Be prepared to explain why you’ve decided to make this transition and what specific skills you can offer to the new position. Showing resiliency, creativity, and an ability to overcome challenges can also help to tell your story. Minimizing your perceived risk to the hiring manager is essential and can take you further in the interviewing process.

Keep in touch with your network on a regular basis.

Even when you’re not looking to make a career change, stay in touch with your professional and personal network. If contacts in your network reach out to you for advice, offer your help without expecting anything in return. You never know when you may need help in the future! If you do end up asking your network for help, be clear about your goals. Your contacts will best be able to help you when you’re specific about where you’re headed.

We also discussed some interesting questions, which I’ve highlighted below.

What are your thoughts on the role of higher education in career transitions? Is an MBA still necessary to obtain a role in upper management or becoming a successful entrepreneur? 

There isn’t one magic answer to this question. The value of an MBA (or other degree) depends on an individual’s target position. Do some research and look at individuals in your network that hold the job that you want, and see if they have MBAs. Talk to those contacts about their experiences, and this will help you decide if an MBA will be valuable in your own career path.

How do I make a career shift within my current company?

If it makes sense within your company’s culture, talk to your current manager about moving to a different job function and how s/he can help you reach that goal. The company has already invested in you, so it’s in their best interest to continue to retain you, even if it’s in a different department. If you’re not comfortable bringing up a career shift to your manager, find a colleague or a friend who has successfully made an internal job shift, and learn how they were able to achieve that.

Lastly, I will leave you with a few of Sarah’s tips to strengthen your LinkedIn profile when transitioning into a new field, or launching a company in a different space:

  • Be creative with your headline. The headline defaults to your current or most recent job title. This is your opportunity to tell others the bigger vision you have for yourself, so get creative! For example, “Passionate leader with proven track record of innovation.”
  • Customize your LinkedIn Profile URL. Go to Edit Profile > “Edit” (next to your current LinkedIn URL) > Customize your public profile URL.
  • Be actively engaged. Join a few groups and network with like-minded professionals. Follow influencers that you respect. Your profile shouldn’t be merely a description of your current and past jobs. Potential employers and networking contacts who view your profile will want to know who you are, not just what you do.

Thanks again to Sarah for an engaging and lively discussion!

What are your best tips for navigating career transitions successfully? If you are an entrepreneur as well, share with us if you would do anything different!

Best Practices from Corporate Women’s Initiative Consortium.

Hi Everyone:

For the past two years I have been attending the quarterly CWIC meetings.  (Corporate Women’s Initiative Consortium) A networking group of representatives from women in tech groups from various companies including Yahoo! Google, Intel, SalesForce, IBM, Oracle, eBay and many more.

I had the pleasure of witnessing the launch of many women networking groups and watching them progress, as well as learning from the more established groups such as Intel and Google. Normally, CWIC meets once a quarter, and one company shares their story, (this could be how they just launched their club, or what they plan do for the year, or share a story on how they measured their success and presented results to Executive team, etc).

Per Inga and Caroline Kohout’s suggestion, I have summarized my learning’s below. This outline represents the most common factors each group attributed to their success so far.  It looks like BWN has incorporated many of the best practices, but as always, there are a few points we could improve upon and learn from our peers in Silicon Valley.

A Solid Business Case

Making a convincing business case for the women’s network is critical for receiving the infrastructural support that makes the network effective.  Most successful groups begun by looking at the company’s overall objectives that often included organizational success and employee success, and presented research that showcased how the company would be better served by taking advantage of women employee’s fully realized potentials and developed skills. They showcased how those skills are nourished through the support, consulting, and training that a woman-networking group offers.

A Clear Mission Statement

Firm Infrastructure

1. Agreement on the frequency of the meetings

2. Definition of roles and establishing the ideal time for each term (Most clubs have one year limit for each role, but some also offer six month periods).

3. Fair and inclusive nomination process

4. .Transparency on eligibility and responsibilities tied to each role

Officer titles that are most commonly used:

  • Club Chair/Co-Chair
  • Global Inclusion and Diversity Officer
  • External Relations Officer
  • Internal Relations Officer
  • Member Engagement Officer
  • Member Recruitment Officer
  • PR and Social Media Officer
  • Marketing Officer

CEO and/or a Male Executive Sponsor

Many clubs have shared that male participation has contributed to their effectiveness, most importantly when it comes in the form of active sponsorship or championship.

  • Partnership with HR and Diversity Teams

A few companies including Brocade shared how they work closely with HR to follow the career roadmap of network members, and compare them to non-members. Not surprisingly, they discovered a positive trend in accelerated career growth for the active members who had participated in the networking and training sessions.  They were able to quantify this research and as a result obtain additional budget for advancing their programs.

  • Specific goals & Clear Measures for Success

Many clubs work with HR to tie specific goals to each initiative and look for patterns and proofs of concept. For instance, in launching a new mentorship program, they document the career path of the participants and look for patterns of success, they also interview the menthes periodically and survey whether they are truly benefiting from the program or not.

  • Safe and confidential environment for sharing

Many groups endorse a ‘confidentiality agreement’ for certain meetings in order to encourage women to voice their concerns in an open and constructive manner.  We also held such a meeting during which one of the company representatives shared how a female Sr. Executive who had been ‘fired’ came back to the meeting and shared her version of the story, (which the women found extremely helpful and actually encouraging).

Some of the Most Successful and Popular Initiatives that were showcased during the meetings:

Yahoo! Agile Conflict Management Workshop: The Human Hack: Reinventing How We Work

A new approach to people and conflict management facilitated by Geraldine (Dene) Rogers

Google’s Women in Tech Conference and Travel Grants

As part of Google’s commitment to encourage women to excel in computing and technology, Google offered Women in Tech Conference and Travel Grants for their female computer scientists that included:

  • Free registration for conferences
  • Up to 1000 towards travel and accommodation costs

eBay’s Global Women Leader’s Conference

In 2011, eBay held the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) summit in San Francisco; the event brought together for the first time the top women leaders from eBay Inc. – nearly 200 people worldwide. The group participated in workshops and panel discussions. They identified actions that they and the company can begin taking to build greater career opportunities for women and enable eBay to build a more diverse global leadership team. The results were phenomenal and the women at eBay feel the company has taken a great positive shift since.

Cisco’s Women Health Workshop in July 2013: (The link between Fitness and Career Success)

Discussion Topics included Health Issues Women Face, Tips to Eat for Energy and Stress Management

SAP’s Panel on Fashion and it’s impact on Career Growth in June 2013

Thanks Inga and Caroline for encouraging me to post this.