As the successful CEO of one of fastest-growing companies in the digital infrastructure sector, how do you maintain your work–life balance?
While balance isn’t always easy, I’m very intentional about giving both my business and my kids the time they need and being there for all the moments that matter. I first became a dad just three months after I was appointed CEO of ITRenew, and for the second time during COVID. The pandemic hasn’t changed the focus or trajectory of my career; but like many of us, working from home meant spending more time with my kids than I would have otherwise. It opened my eyes to the fact that any future path for me has to more actively involve them. These days, I make them an even bigger part of my work and volunteering. I consciously choose activities that allow me to incorporate them to a greater degree.
In your message to the younger generation, you talked about the need for new perspectives. What accounts for your unique perspective on this industry?
At age six, my favorite game involved listening for air-raid sirens, then racing my cousins to the roof to be the first to spot and track missiles flying overhead. It was 1988 and I was growing up in war-torn Iran. When my family later emigrated to the US, we arrived with just four suitcases. We lived near the poverty line, struggling to make rent and put food on the table. I vividly remember winters in Ohio without a car when the only option was to walk to the grocery store through several feet of snow. At school I got teased for not speaking English.
Those childhood experiences were awful at the time, but looking back, I can see how they molded me in beneficial ways. They inspired me to take action when I see someone facing prejudice or bias. And they fostered in me both a drive to succeed and personal desire to do good that I bring to my life and my work every day. When I joined ITRenew, these formative lessons parlayed to the challenges of cracking previously unsolved problems; of taking what others undervalue and making something of it that matters; of proving that financial success isn’t incompatible with having a positive impact on our environment and society.