A new era is among us. It is the era of possibilities; a time to be whatever you want, to do whatever you want, to invent your heart’s every desire. But with all this possibility and freedom what stops us from achieving what we want? What is holding us back from going for the gold? What is preventing us from moving actively forward to reach our dreams? It is fear. Fear of uncertainty and fear of change will always be obstacles that people, especially young women, are forced to overcome when trying to achieve their goals. However, some people have gone against the grain and have become the voices of encouragement; voices that will guide the young, the hesitant and the afraid into a world where one’s every desire can be achieved. One such person is Selena Rezvani, author of The Next Generation of Women Leaders and speaker and consultant for career coaching and development.
Graduating from New York University with a BS and MSW Degree and getting her MBA from John Hopkins University, Selena Rezvani is certainly no stranger to the world of success. However, Selena did not know from the get-go that she was going to end up where she is today. As a high school student and young adult, Rezvani was interested in French and French culture. She says, “I was a Francophile. So, I went and studied abroad in Montreal and then in France. I loved it and I thought that was going to be my career. …That’s what I applied at NYU to do. I decided to major in French. However, the first week they had you take a test to see how you do in the language and I placed out of the college needs. I could skip language all together. I decided I would try to skip it and do other things which then lead me to psychology and then business and then a whole other world…I still love French culture but it’s more of a hobby now.” Clearly, different circumstances change a person’s perspective. Rezvani’s love for French culture lead her to trying new things, like business. Suddenly, she entered a world that was totally different from what she had planned on exploring. Nevertheless, she learned that change was not only good, but necessary.
While earning her MBA at John Hopkins University, Selena began to write her book The Next Generation of Women Leaders, a bible of sorts for women who want to get to the top of the working ladder. This incredible book provides the instruments and secrets to progress into the top leadership roles of today as well as interviews with high powered women and their success stories. Rezvani had a multitude of inspirations for her book. “What inspired me [to write this book] was such a small number of women at the top of corporations. Being an MBA student, I looked up and thought this is dismal. This paints a really unsettling picture for a young woman who’s looking to go out there and do great things in her career…why isn’t it quicker to change? Why is it so slow to progress? That is what inspired me to write the book. I thought, even if I’m not one of these women at the top, surely there’s a way for me to create a conversation between young women and those that got there in order to learn their secrets.”
So what do women actually have to do to get to the top? The INSPIRE@BTHS Team got a little glimpse into what secrets Selena Rezvani had to offer. What can women do as that first step, that first leap of faith into the unknown? “A number of [things]” says Rezvani. “I think a really important one is to get a personal board of directors who can manage your career. Really taking the time to seek out different people who are smarter and more knowledgeable than you and maybe more experienced to say ‘let me help you with your image, let me help you with your technical skills, let me help you and guide you in this industry.’ You know, you really can’t look to one mentor to do everything for you. No mentor is going to have everything you need. I think something young women can do is don’t try to do it all yourself. The smartest people reach out and make relationships. You ask ‘how are you so good at what you do?’ or ‘You’re so good with clients can you tell me or will you teach me?’ That’s the hallmark of a leader or a leader in the making.”
So there you have it. The secrets are revealed by the magician, herself. We then went on to ask Selena a few questions out of the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. We believe that this is a great way to get to know our interviewee. Selena Rezvani had some humorous answers to tell us.
Favorite fictional character: Caris from the novel World Without End by Ken Follet. She’s a strong woman. I loved her character because she was often underestimated because she was a woman and people didn’t expect a lot of her.
Your most treasured object: Probably my favorite thing is a framed picture of my parents on their very first date. That’s something I would hate to be without.
The happiest moment of your life: Getting married. It was a very happy and incredible moment and day. Also, getting my book deal.
Greatest extravagance: Massages. I do a lot of walking and carrying heavy bags and such so…
Favorite journey: The coolest place I’ve been in my life is probably going to India and Pakistan as a kid. My father is Pakistani so seeing the Taj Mahal, was so beautiful, so interesting, especially through a kid’s eyes.
Greatest achievement: Helping young women think big. It’s a joy and a pleasure and a privilege to make a living helping young women.
Greatest influence: My mother.
Motto for life: Fear regret more than failure.
Words of advice: Don’t let anybody pressure you. Your compass in life should be ‘does this excite me? Do I like this?’ do I enjoy this? That’s what you should be gravitating to. You naturally gravitate to the things that excite you. What I found is, find a career that has your passion in it and you will work so much harder. That’ll get you further in your career, that will get you more respect from the people in your life.
Believe it or not, getting to the top of the working chain should not be a lonely road. Rather, an individual should have people by their side that will influence them and, most importantly, inspire them. For the INSPIRE@BTHS TEAM, Selena Rezvani is one of those people. Selena Rezvani is a pioneer in her line of work. She breaks boundaries with everything that she does and is a true inspiration. We cannot wait to see what this brilliant woman will do in the future.
So everyone, fear regret more than failure. Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.
Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.