Parisa is a frequent speaker for private industry and public forums. A multiple past recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Peabody Award, and the Emmy Award, Parisa is recognized for her in-depth expertise in international and geopolitical affairs, cultural diversity, and crisis and risk management.
A sampling of the topics Parisa talks about are below:
It is vital to have a diverse workforce for many reasons. The key is to play to the strengths of each of your team member and look for opportunities to place them on the right assignments in order to be most effective. Having the “type A” personality on each task is not always the right answer. Some jobs require a low key but persistent determination and patience. If you have ever played the game Angry Birds, you know using the right bird against the right barrier is essential, and using the wrong one will result in a bust and a much diminished outcome. This is a good metaphor to think about when you are putting your teams together so that they can ensure maximum potential for delivery and leave no opportunity unexplored. Parisa built and promoted the most internationally diverse teams across the world and as a result made CNN the strongest international news organization. People’s different backgrounds, languages and perspectives in any team are essential to become relevant and not miss all kinds of opportunities in different markets.
One’s Emotional Quotient (EQ) is just as important if not more important than one’s IQ. Human beings are so much more alike than they are different. We all want safety and security, we want our family and friends around us, a roof over our heads and food on the table. These are basic human needs and nature. However, culturally we can be so different. From the Vatican to Japan, Saudi to Cuba, how you deal with officials, business partners and staff across the globe can be very different. It is important to know and respect the different cultures and traditions while staying true to your own values and standards. How you deal with people, how you handle yourself and read a room, these are all key factors in being successful. Parisa will share anecdotes which will personalize and clearly demonstrate the importance and necessity of such awareness and knowledge when you are operating in the global market.
How do you keep a cool head while chaos breaks out, be as effective as possible, lead your teams and accomplish the task at hand? Resourcefulness, perseverance and hiring capable diverse teams is what will get you through some of the most demanding business situations and crises. Your staff does not have to be working in a war zone to end up in a risky and dangerous situation. How do you prepare for and handle life threatening situations in countries where you have positioned your teams? Some may remember the Mumbai terror attacks, where terrorists attacked and killed people in one of the most public and unsuspecting locations such as a five-star hotel in the middle of the city. What would you do if you had some of your staff staying there for a business meeting? That is exactly what Parisa had to deal with. Parisa is a recognized authority on crisis and risk management and safety/security matters for her meticulous and decisive management of her staff as they covered the world’s most demanding stories, dangerous hot spots, conflicts and natural disasters.
While not naive or in denial about some of the challenges women and minorities face, Parisa talks about how she focused her energy on what she could control. If some people she dealt with had a perception issue with a woman in charge, then that was their problem, not hers. Parisa talks about some of the most difficult challenges she dealt with as a leader at a global organization and how she tackled them.
How do you get your message across as an effective communicator in a very crowded field? Whether you want to break through as a journalist in the business of journalism or want to clearly communicate your message in any business to the the world, Parisa shares with you her in-depth knowledge and experience as a journalist and as an executive.
The way the world’s most significant and dangerous stories get covered has substantially changed in the past three decades, especially in two areas: technology and safety/security. Now a days you can essentially do a live shot from anywhere in the world with your smart phone. It wasn’t that long ago that journalists had to haul around a two thousand pound satellite dish to be able to transmit live from remote places. Parisa once diverted a commercial airliner to make an unscheduled landing to pick up CNN journalists and equipment so that they could get to a breaking story on-time. Determination, perseverance and resourcefulness is what made it happen. Sadly, journalists have become the biggest targets in some of the conflicts around the world and are sometimes taken hostage or worse. How are they kept safe and prepare to go to some of the world’s most dangerous places and cover the most horrific stories such as Syria? Parisa talk about how to overcome some of these most distressing challenges. Parisa’s experience in safely leading CNN teams through conflicts and natural disasters has made her a recognized authority on crisis and risk management.
Parisa was born in Iran and left for the United States during the 1979 Revolution as a young teenager. She has travelled to Iran a number of times as a journalist to cover a variety of news stories for CNN. There is not enough known about Iran beside its politics. In light of some of the possible openings between the U.S. and Iran, what are some key historical facts and cultural values you should know about Iran if you want to do business there? Parisa talks about some of those important considerations. Testimonial about Parisa’s recent speech on Iran to the Association of the Trade and Forfaiting in Americas: “…You held the room’s rapt attention for 40 minutes in a way that far exceeded expectations, while enlightening all of us about Iran’s rich cultural heritage as well as its modern-day needs and capabilities…” Brendan Herley, ATFA President.
Parisa travelled to Cuba for years for CNN in order to keep CNN’s bureau effective and operational. Parisa talks about what you should know about the country as the U.S. and Cuba prepare to normalize relations after decades.
Parisa has enjoyed one of the more challenging and dynamic careers with nearly three decades of international experience and helped build CNN, the original 24/7 news network, to one of the most recognized and respected global brands. This is how CNN lauded Parisa upon her departure: “No one has played a greater role in emergence and then dominance of CNN international news gathering than Parisa.” Ted Turner’s vision changed the world as we knew it and CNN became a house hold name which has been admired and modeled again and again around the world. Parisa calls CNN the original social media. Parisa also talks about behind the scene stories about some of the most historic and memorable news events of our times and what it took to cover them.
When life tests you in the most painful and difficult way, how do you respond? Do you say: “why me?” Parisa talks about how she deals with the big challenges in life and her philosophy of looking at them as opportunities for growth and becoming a stronger and more compassionate human being. She says: “WOW, Me!”
Parisa moved to the U.S. in 1979 during the Revolution in Iran. Her family had to rebuild their lives in a new country. Not only did they survive, they thrived in this great land of opportunity. Some of the challenges were not easy, however, determination and perseverance opened doors and opportunities. Parisa talks about overcoming barriers and reaching some of the highest professional and personal levels of achievements which bestowed her the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
- 2014 NAZC: click here for video
- 2014 IAWF: click here for video
- 2014 Skoll World Forum: click here for video
- May 2015 Keynote Speaker Global Women's Conference, Orange County
Topic: What It Takes To Cover The World
- May 2015 Keynote Speaker at International Trade and Forfeiters Annual Conference
Topic: Iran, What you should know
- May 2015 Keynote Speaker at the IAWF Leadership Conference, San Francisco
Topic: Lessons learned from my Mom
- April 2015. Keynote Speaker April. 2015 Keynote Speaker Saint Rose College, Albany NY
Topic: Three Decades in the News Business
- March 2015 Keynote Speaker at PAWC Women's Conference, UCLA
Topic: Keeping your Cool and leading through Crisis
- December 2014 Keynote speaker at Zoroastrian Congress, Los Angeles
Topic: Follow your Dreams and Passion
- November 2014 Keynote Speaker at IAWF, Los Angeles
Topic: How to Lead with confidence
- April 2014 Panelist at Skoll Forum, Oxford
Topic: Evolving Role of Media in the Modern Age
For speaking engagements, Parisa can be contacted here.