Board Members 2012-2013


Farah Abbasi came to Canada almost twelve years ago, she  is a dedicated social worker; works at Victim Services of York Region, Farah has a great passion for helping people to function the best they can in their environment and to take action to solve their problem or improve their situation. She is a gender equality advocator. Her goal is to empowered women; enhance the capacity of all women to integrate to Canadian society to help them reach their full potential. Farah believes women rights must be improved, their rights have to be respected and their contribution must be recognized. Farah has done a tremendous volunteer job in different organizations as: IWOO, Princes Margaret Hospital, Holly Family School, Thornhill Hospice, working Women Community Center, Iranian Cancer Society. She speaks different languages as; Farsi, English, Arabic, Kurdish and Dari.


Azadeh Ardeshiri Cham has been an avid volunteer with the school system both in Iran and Canada.  She has organized events and competitions for the students and arts and science fairs for many communities.  Azadeh is also a competent workshop facilitator for youth and adults. Azadeh’s professional training has provided her with expertise on branding, business plan development, marketing and communication strategies.  She is currently involved in establishing her own business.  Azadeh holds a Brand Management certificate, a degree in Chemical Engineering  and an MBA.  She is determined to making a difference in her community and has volunteered in IWOO’s Gala Committee.


Soheila Dehmassi is a successful entrepreneur who has been active in social issues and issues affecting women for more than three decades. She has a degree in mathematics from York University and has also studied economics, actuarial science, sociology, and women’s studies at the University of Toronto and York University.  As a committed member of the community, she has volunteered at a number of organizations, including the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture to extend a hand and a vision to serving people who need additional support and a resounding  voice.  In her spare time, Soheila writes poetry in Farsi and English.


Soha Dezfouli is the Industry Principal for Discrete Industries at SAP for North America. In her role she is responsible for generating industry-centric messaging and actionable sales collateral for sales teams to create new, and increase existing, revenues. Prior to joining SAP, she worked as a consultant for SNC-Lavalin. While residing in Tehran, Soha worked for Siemens in the office of the CFO and Klar Industrial Company as the Business Development Associate. Soha’s core focus areas included business strategy, innovation, and operation management. She holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto and degree in Industrial Management from Ershad University in Tehran. Soha is active in volunteering in her local community – most recently at Tirgan Festival in summer of 2013.


Merhnaz Farazmand was born in Iran and has lived in Canada for fifteen years. She started her job as a volunteer at IWOO just a few months ago and she is diligently participating in more than one capacity. Mehrnaz studied French at York University and meanwhile she has volunteered tirelessly for UNISEF and World Children’s Conventions. As a selected committee member, Mehrnaz is committed to a dedicated volunteer service including all her resources to participate in every aspects of the organization’s growth in a positive manner.  She will continue  to be an active member if the IWOO team in service planning and delivery at the organization to make certain that the needs of the community are successfully met.


Halimeh Hamidi, is a teacher by profession both in Iran& Canada. For many years, she collaborated with the International Languages program   and offered support and tutoring in other school subjects. Halimeh has also worked for corporate and not-for-profit organizations in administration and management capacity. Halimeh is a community activist by practice. She has done extensive charitable work for the marginalized people both in Iran and here in Toronto. Halimeh is an executive member of the Iranian Canadian social Service Providers Network, and  one of  the active coordinators  of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Farsi Language Division outreach team.  Halimeh has been instrumental on IWOO’s Board to keep a clear vision in serving women in the Iranian Canadian community.


Negar Hashemi immigrated to Canada in 1989. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Windsor and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Detroit Mercy in Michigan. She has been practicing  law since 2000 with the Department of Justice, defending the Federal government in matters mostly related to immigration and public safety.  Negar is a strong believer in building community and giving through volunteerism. She has had the opportunity to participate in several community oriented organizations while living in Windsor, Toronto and Ottawa. She has worked in a community legal services clinic, been a member of the Board of Directors of Houselink, a non-profit charitable agency providing supportive housing to those with mental disability, and a volunteer for a community health clinic.  Negar currently lives in Waterloo with her family.


Navaz Karimian Pour is currently doing her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Toronto. She has two Masters degrees in Biochemistry, one from University of Tehran and one from University of Toronto. She is a full time researcher and her focus of research is on optimizing HIV treatment in pregnancy. Navaz immigrated to Canada with her husband in 2006 and is a mother of two very young children. She joined IWOO three years ago with the intention of participating in the mother preschooler program. Since then she has been an active member and also a proud volunteer of the organization. She was intrigued by the amazing and diverse services that IWOO provides to its members and the very warm, supportive, and influential environment. Her love and never ending passion for health and well-being of children, women as individuals and also as pillars of the families motivated her to take a bigger step and join the board of directors of IWOO.


Farzaneh Lotfi has her own Accounting Firm that provides accounting, taxation, and business consulting services. Prior to her practice, she worked more than eighteen years as Business Manager for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) managing programs such Market-Place, Venture, 5th State and the National. Farzaneh graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Major in Accounting from St. Mary’s University (Halifax, NS) in 1991 and obtained her Certified General Accountant Professional designation (CGA) in 2000.   Farzaneh has been an active volunteer in various capacities such as, helping with Children’s Aid Society of Ontario, and serving as a Board Member for Landlord Self- help group.


Afkham Mardukhi is a community and social activist working and volunteering with many cultural and community groups for the past 25 years.  Her professional training and focus has been in the fields of youth & family counselling & mental health. Afkham is tireless in advocating for the people on the margin and remains committed to a broad spectrum of issues of social justice. Currently, Afkham is a counselor with a social service organization and acts as an Ethno-cultural Consultant to the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario.  Her expertise expands over a broad range including immigrant youth development, women employment & economic development, and seniors health. Afkham has served on the board of many NGOs and taken part in resource and policy development undertaken by the Ontario Government, school boards and volunteer service sector.  She is an avid volunteer with a youth shelter, and a founding member of many Iranian Canadian community and cultural groups. She has intimately worked with IWOO for the past six years.


Maral Nadjafi is general internist at North York General Hospital.  Born in Iran, she immigrated to Canada with her family where she grew up in North York. Dr. Nadjafi finished her undergraduate and medical school at the University of Toronto. Her interest in public health has taken her to Kenya, Cambodia, and Northern Ontario where she has  used her medical expertise to improve the health of marginalized populations. Her other interests are medical education to her peers and colleagues of various related fields where she is the education coordinator at her institution.” Maral has volunteered in the community with organizations committed to improve the lives of Iranian Canadian senior citizens.


Mahtab Nassirian is currently pursuing her second career, working as an Interior Architect. She lived a life of a global nomad, following her Bakhtiyari ancesteries.   She traveled the world through her experience as a Flight Attendant with Emirates Airlines. The aviation life not only revealed the wonders of the globe to her but also acquainted her with various cultures, beliefs and languages. After moving to Canada in 2006,she finally set her roots here in Toronto. Mahtab understands and has repeatedly experienced the difficulties of immigration. Hence she has joined us today to give back to her community, hoping to make others journey slightly smoother.


Maryam Ostadagha holds a Masters Degree in Antropology.   Maryam has a diverse background in research, teaching and administrative work in post-secondary institutions and corporate sector.  Her profound interest to work with NGO’s and leave an impact on cultural developments has led Maryam to get involved with many culturally motivated research projects.   She initiated Life-Link, an NGO for students encouraging them to share cultural information in various countries and develop international relationships.  This initiative has won many awards. Maryam has is committed to make a difference through her volunteer work with IWOO.  She is currently working with the Textile Museum of Canada where she is responsible for their rug collections.