National Board


Setareh Ebrahimian

PAAIA NexGen Co-Chair

Kamak Ebadi

PAAIA NexGen Co-Chair


Shaheen Ensanyat

Membership Chair


Lilly Kazeminia

Finance Chair


Alireza Mehrzad

Marketing & Communications Chair

Nellie Kargar

Co-Chair Emeritus

Alen Takhsh

Co-Chair Emeritus

She is currently a part-time law student at the American University Washington College of Law (May 2016 Candidate), and is a Law Clerk at The Employment Law Group. Setareh received her B.A. in International Affairs and Economics from the George Washington University. While at GW, she was the President of the Iranian Cultural Society for several years and focused on spreading awareness about the Iranian community’s rich culture and history. Setareh was born in Tehran and at the age of twelve moved to Potomac, Maryland – she now resides in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the NexGen Board, Setareh was a board member of the organization’s DC Chapter. As the Chair, Setareh serves as the liaison to the Advisor, Dr. Naderi, and facilitates approval of Board decisions.

Kamak Ebadi is currently a space robotic doctoral research fellow at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Kamak’s research has been focused on the development of vision-based tracking and navigation algorithms that enable robotics air, land and surface vehicles to navigate autonomously in structured and unstructured environments.

Prior to joining NASA, Kamak worked as a robotics engineer at Nissan Research Center, helping make the future of road transportation safer by designing vehicle perception algorithms for self-driving cars. Prior to this, Kamak worked at AlterG where he helped develop the world’s first intuitive bionic leg that enables patients with significant weakness in one leg to be able to walk again with powered support and stability.

Kamak has a great passion for space exploration. He has volunteered his spare time at the Mars Desert Research Station as an Engineering Cap-Com officer to help develop key knowledge needed to prepare for human Mars exploration.
In 2009, Kamak served as a member of the panel of jury at the 3rd International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics. In 2013, Kamak ranked 1st in NASA Ames Space Design Challenge, where he expressed the value proposition of space exploration, and his vision for NASA’s future involvement in space.

Kamak is an advocate of Iranian-American community, and for the past two years he has served as the co-chair of the PAAIA NexGen, the forerunner of the IA Emerging Leaders. In 2016, Kamak was invited by the First Lady Michelle Obama to celebrate the Iranian New Year at The White House.

Amir Farokhi is the Chief Operating Officer of the College Advising Corps, a national non-profit organization that strives to increase college access for America’s low-income and underrepresented students. Before joining the College Advising Corps, Amir was the Founder and Executive Director of Georgia Forward, a non-partisan, public policy non-profit. Previously, he practiced commercial litigation and international arbitration at an international law firm. Amir is a 2011 Marshall Memorial Scholar and a Term Member with the Council on Foreign Relations. He was named among Georgia’s Most Influential by Georgia Trend Magazine from 2011-2013 and is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta. Amir serves on the Board of the Drew Charter School and The Galloway School in Atlanta. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Duke University and J.D. from Duke University School of Law. He lives in Atlanta.

Shaheen Ensanyat is of Chinese and Persian descent and was raised in Austin, TX.  He received a B.S. in Neural Science from New York University where he also conducted research in auditory development and plasticity. Shaheen served as President of the NYU Persian Cultural Society for several years and has collaborated with numerous non-profit Iranian organizations to unite the community toward charitable endeavors and to promote its rich cultural heritage. Among various initiatives, he helped organize IAAB’s International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora and PAAIA’s Passing the Torch of Success. Shaheen also served as co-leader for the New York chapters of PAAIA NexGen and Shabeh Jomeh. He is currently an M.S. candidate in Biomedical Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he conducts research in The Tisch Cancer Institute.

Lilly Kazeminia is currently an MBA candidate at Pepperdine University, where she plans to obtain a degree in Finance. While a full-time student, Lilly simultaneously works as an associate at a private equity firm and intends to continue her career in finance upon graduation. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, where she was a member of the UF Persian Student Society and other notable on-campus organizations. Upon degree completion, Lilly utilized her first 3 years of college as an engineering student and aptitude for business development as a business marketing associate at a prominent consulting engineering firm. 

Alireza Mehrzad is the Founder and President of Golden Seller Marketing and Business Solutions, Inc. in San Diego, California, as well as Founder and CEO of 247 Tutoring Pioneers. Alireza is active in the Iranian American community, co-founding and serving as Public Director of the Iranian Student Association (ISTA) at UC San Diego since 2010. Under his leadership, the organization has grown to one of the biggest associations of its kind in North America within six months of its inception. Alireza also served as Co-Chair of PAAIA’s Passing the Torch of Success in 2010. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California, San Diego and is currently working toward his Master of Science degree in Finance at the University of Southern California. 

Nellie H Kargar is a Certified Public Accountant and currently works as the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for ICI Homes in Daytona Beach, FL. Previously Ms. Kargar held positions as a Senior Financial Analyst for Amazon and Division Controller / Financial Analyst for ICI Homes. Born and raised in Daytona Beach, FL, Nellie earned Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Accounting degrees from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Ms. Kargar currently serves as Vice Chair of the Food Brings Hope Executive Board, Past Co-Chair of NexGen of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, Board Member of the Tomoka Community Development District, and Board Member of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Eagle Athletic Association. In the past, she has served as a Committee Member on Halifax Health’s Audit and Finance Committee, a Board Member of the Pioneer Community Development District, and Board Member of the Iranian American Society of Daytona Beach. In 2013, Nellie was selected by the Volusia Flagler Business Report as a “40 Under 40” business leader. Ms. Kargar currently resides in Ormond Beach, FL and enjoys life as an avid foodie and aspiring golfer.

Alén Takhsh is the Principal Attorney at TAKHSH LAW, P.C., a boutique Chicago law firm focused on business litigation and complex immigration matters. Alén has been on the Board of Directors of PAAIA NexGen since October 2009 and served as its Co-Chair from March 2012 to February 2015. He also sits on the Board of Directors of Heartland Alliance International, a not-for-profit dedicated to providing housing, healthcare, jobs and justice to those in need. Alén received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from The University of Chicago and his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School in 2002 and 2007, respectively. In law school, he competed at the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Competition in Vienna, Austria with distinction and served as Candidacy Editor for the Journal of Computer and Information Law and Federal Judicial Extern for the Honorable Samuel Der-Yeghiayan of the Northern District of Illinois.

Alén was born and lived in Tehran, Iran for ten years and resided in Germany for three years prior to calling Chicago home starting in 1992. He is immensely proud of his Persian cultural roots and the richness of his Assyrian and Armenian ethnicity. Alén’s background is a reflection of the diverse, cultural and religious fabric of Iran and his journey a testament to the American Dream. He is proficient in Farsi, Assyrian, German and English.