To close out our Women’s History Month takeover, this week NIAC Los Angeles is excited to feature the president of CHILD International, Haleh Khatami!
Haleh Khatami is an advocate of children, who strongly believes that education is the key to rising above socio-economic crisis. In the last 25 years, Haleh has been continuously and voluntarily pursuing her passion toward providing the gift of education for underprivileged children through various family assistance programs across the world. As the president and co-founder of CHILD International, she successfully leads the cause through her strategic planning, especially in areas of marketing, public relations and fundraising. Haleh is an entrepreneur with a background in Management Information Systems, and holds extensive experience in fields of finance and real estate. Her company, SSS Real Estate acquires and develops real estate in the Orange County area. Haleh is the mother of three compassionate daughters who kindly support her in pursuing her goals in life. Her personal achievements include a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo, earning her a silver medal in 2011, and two gold medals at 2013 ATU National Taekwondo Championships. As a side business, she managed Peaceful Warrior Taekwondo along with her husband.
We asked Haleh what inspires her, and what advice she might have for women who want to pursue a similar path:
What motivates/inspires you?
“As a teenager growing up in an era of revolution in Iran, I truly empathized with the impoverished young generation striving for better opportunities in life. While we were all searching for social and political ideologies leading to life-changing social reforms and higher standards of living, I learned that the foundation for change stands on love and compassion for humanity. The love was there but the question was, how to overcome the obstacles of ignorance and poverty? Education seemed to be the answer I was looking for, the key to rising above the socio-economic issues. It was only then that I set a personal goal to establish a non-profit organization with the mission of providing the noble gift of education for underprivileged children. Many years of volunteering and community service led me to the right group of individuals with a similar mindset. Our team effort resulted in a dream come true establishment called CHILD International, an organization dedicated to promoting education among disadvantaged children. In the past 25 years, I have been continuously and voluntarily pursuing my passion for philanthropy. What motivates me the most is the huge impact that our team has made in the lives of thousands of children and families across the world and their incredible success stories.”
What advice do you have for women who want to pursue a similar career path?
“I am a firm believer that service to humanity should be an imperative part of everyone’s life, especially those of us who are blessed with abundance. In the most charity organizations in the world, women hold a majority perhaps because as mothers, we tend to be more empathetic toward the ill, needy and deprived.
I often get approached by women who are interested to form some sort of a nonprofit institution and ask for advice on how to initiate it. First of all, I ask them to find a cause that is close to their heart. Secondly, to research and find an organization with the mission of serving that particular cause and then to sign up as a volunteer there. I also believe that the wheel does not need to be re-invented for a cause that already exists, so why not join forces with a nonprofit that operates with integrity and efficiency, and by that, I mean do the research, review their financial reports, choose one that makes the most impact with the least overhead.
Voluntarism can be the most gratifying aspect of life like no other experience. Those of us who are mothers, have an obligation to encourage our children to serve the less fortunate. Pursuing humanitarian projects as a family activity can be extremely rewarding by teaching our children about empathy and spreading love and goodness in the world. Last but not least, get as engaged as you can, as regularly as your lives allow and gradually get your children, your friends, your neighbors and your community involved with the cause that touches your heart. That’s the best advice I can provide.”
It’s been an altogether inspirational month celebrating so many incredible Iranian-American women like Haleh. These are women who are making history today, to create a better future for the women of tomorrow.
All the best,
The NIAC Los Angeles Leadership CouncilBack to top