Category: Maral Farsi

2021 Ballot Guide

Normally, I only do a Ballot Guide for the California Ballot Measures (Propositions). But this year, there is a Special Election to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. I thought it deserved a ballot guide and I hope you find it helpful. As always, these views are my personal opinions and not related to my work or employer.

The Women Before Me, Beside Me, and Behind Me

Originally posted on LinkedIn
Maral Farsi providing remote testimony before the California state legislature during COVID closures while caring for her infant daughter.
Maral Farsi providing remote testimony before the California state legislature during COVID closures while caring for her infant daughter.

#womenshistorymonth #internationalwomensday2021

In my professional journey, I have been lifted up, taught, mentored, and loved by so many women. I’ve also been chastised and demeaned–sometimes by women who felt that because things weren’t easy for them, they shouldn’t be easy for others. Other times because, well, maybe I’m just not everyone’s bag of tea. This is for them too, for teaching me how not to treat the women around me.

But today, on International Women’s Day, I want to acknowledge the ones who taught me, who believed in me, and took a chance on me. Because of them, I still learn. Because I strive to make them proud, I am on a constant path of self-improvement.

My mom: an immigrant who worked my whole life to make sure that my brother and I had everything we possibly needed, in a country that continues to see her as an outsider (though she doesn’t even notice and wouldn’t care if she did notice). She is also selfless to a fault and would take on the pains of the world if she could.

Wendy Lazarus who hired me when I was in grad school at probably the coolest place I’ve ever worked–trying to get children access to health care. She reminded me to pursue what I loved and I opted to pursue financial stability. She was right. And I was right. There are no universal truths.

Sarah Anderson who always believed in me and kept it 100% whether I did great or missed my mark. I wish you were still here. I miss you all the time and you’re still my mentor in this universe.

Dean Linda Rosenstock who gave me my first job and took me seriously when I was trying to find my way.

Tanya Robinson-Taylor who is my friend and guide and once told me I was destined for great things…. I hope to prove you right one day.

Mary Langowski who wrote me a letter of recommendation for my Masters of Science in Law but told me that I’ve got the stuff to be a lawyer and should go for the JD. (I ignored her–I wish I’d listened, but appreciate that I’m not in law school debt).

Panorea Avdis who gave me my shot in public service which was the whole reason I moved to Sacramento in the first place. She has always been straight with me about everything, including when I mess up.

Adama Iwu and Samantha Corbin for starting a movement– and when I was professionally scolded for standing up for what I believe in, they reminded me that we, as women, were in the journey together.

Isabel Guzman who is a fearless leader and has become a friend. I want those kinds of guts one day. President Biden is even smarter than I had anticipated.

Meghan Hertel and Kate Wright who I admire as friends and professionals. It’s like a one-two-punch. Thank you for your passion.

Ayda Safaei who teaches me that my life is a constant journey and that I should be kind to myself. And Farnaz Davoudi who gives me the tools to be kind to myself. And Mehrnaz Davoudi who coaches me through my personal and professional blunders. And all three of them for asking to see pictures of my nine month old every Friday like clock work.

Fiona Ma who, plain and simple, supports women. Period. She wants to uplift us, she wants us to win, and she wants us to support each other. That’s it. Plus, she reminds me that professionally, you’ve got to keep driving forward. Stay focused and stay loyal.

And also, to the many, many inspiring women professionals and friends who just plain and simple have my back and the backs of women around us– Christine WatkinsMandy LeeTia Boatman Patterson (also reinforces President Biden’s great decision making skills), Deanna Johnston (the connector), LaKenya Jordan (for inspiring this post and leading women and girls in California), Dorothy JohnsonRonda PaschalNicole JulalKristina ArnouxCarrie Tellefson (the most badass lobbyist in all of Washington state if you’re looking!), and Camara Price, and the many others who contribute to our community of women empowering women in a world where for every $1.00 a white man earns,

  • a white woman makes $0.79;
  • a Black woman makes $0.63;
  • an Asian woman makes $0.89;
  • a Latinx woman makes $0.55.

Now, I will pay it forward. For every chance I have to lift up a friend, colleague, or mentee, I will do what I can to help. Glass ceilings are being shattered and we must press forth. And, I hope those ceilings will no longer exist when my daughters are in my shoes in a few decades. We can do this!

Happy International Women’s Day to all the amazing women.

2020 Ballot Guide

This is a relatively simple, and hopefully fair, set of questions to help you decide how to vote on the California ballot measures. Also, I would welcome a discussion on any of these. You can probably change my mind about all but Affirmative Action, app-based drivers, and a parolee’s right to vote… if you have some good arguments. The rest I’m lukewarm on. Happy voting!

-Maral Farsi

Deputy Director of Legislative and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Maral Farsi, Discusses Why California Must Continue to Invest in The Health of Their Citizens

maral farsi

Maral Farsi is the Deputy Director of Legislative and Inter-Governmental Affairs for the State of California. Maral Farsi is extremely proud of the work members of Californian government performs daily in order to strengthen every Californian community. One of the administration’s biggest focus areas is near and dear to Farsi, which is improving the health of all Californians. The state has seen that by improving the health of the people, the economy reaps the benefits.

Studies have shown a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario when it comes to health and economic development. Do healthier people boost an economy or does a healthy economy boost the well-being of the citizens impacted? Maral Farsi believes there’s a synergy between the two. The best way for California to strengthen areas of the state with lower income levels is to ensure that they have access to health care—inclusive of physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Of course, Farsi understands that improving health goes well beyond having access to a good doctor.

As an example, exercise has demonstrated positive benefits for both physical and mental health, which is why federal and state programs support access to public parks. The more that can be done to increase the areas where people can get out and exercise, the more likely it is that people will not only increase their physical activity but enhance their community engagement as well. Arts and culture also offer mental and social benefits through engagement and interaction.

It’s easiest to understand the role a person’s health plays on the economy by looking at it from an individual level. A person who suffers from mental illness may be provided access to a job, but without the ability to access mental health treatment then the stability of that job is in question. If the state invests in a free community-college education, low-cost four-year colleges, and job training and apprenticeships for an individual, but that individual is struck by illness and cannot afford their medications, then that investment has been all for naught. California’s future depends keeping a comprehensive view of health care and access so all citizens can can live up to their highest potential in accessing the California dream.

Maral Farsi is proud of the efforts California Governor Gavin Newsom has made through his recent 2020-21 Budget to focus on the comprehensive view of the total state of wellbeing—with proposed investments in direct medical care, as well as workforce training, arts, recreation, and criminal justice.  These investments allow Californians to add productivity to the state’s economy by giving them access to the personal well-being necessary.

With the fifth largest economy in the world, California is a state that all of America can admire. The state’s commitment to the health of all citizens is setting an example for how other states can improve the economic prowess of their state.

Maral Farsi Discusses the Values of Mentorship

Maral Farsi, Deputy Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, has been an advocate of mentorship for over a decade. Farsi, who graduated from California State University, Northridge and received a graduate degree from the UCLA School of Public Health, participates in formal and informal mentorship programs whenever possible and as long as the commitment offers a helpful contribution to the mentees.

For Farsi, the value of the relationships are mutually beneficial—what she can offer to a mentee by way of advice, guidance, and coaching, she also receives by staying abreast of industry trends and hot topics. She has mentored high school, college, and graduate students both due requests for engagement and because of her own personal fulfillment. Maral Farsi, who has also volunteered in high schools in the Sacramento region in various capacities, believes that she is helping fill a need that she wishes had been available to her.

Mentorship opportunities are available through local and national programs, as well as through ordinary interactions with students and young professionals. Often, alumni programs through colleges and universities and high school college/career prep offices also have formal programs as an entre to mentorship. There are also other avenues to mentorship through youth-focused organizations such as Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and even your local city or county government. There are many resources available online for those who have less formal mentee/mentor pairings. However, how one becomes a mentor is not as important as what a mentor does when they have a mentee.

Maral Farsi urges those who commit to mentorship to be upfront about their availability and what approach they want to take to their mentee/mentor relationship. If the mentor can only meet once a month by phone to provide advice, have a coffee every few weeks to offer networking opportunities, or only review resumes and cover letters—they should say so! The mentee should also be encouraged to seek out other mentors who may provide other assets. Most of all, Farsi believes that a mentor should take risks and share their successes and failures. The challenge many youth face are fears of taking risks because they may make a mistake. But, Farsi says that we all make them and we should use them to better ourselves and teach those following us.