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Co-Founder + President

Nicole is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach helping clients build their confidence, master life transitions and connect to themselves. Her private practice is based in Los Angeles. She received her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University.

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Executive Director

Tara is a nonprofit communications specialist, specializing in advocacy and social media. She is a professional organizer and enjoys organizing and curating closets and kitchens in her spare time. Tara has an MBA in Nonprofit Management from American Jewish University and a BA in Political Science from Pepperdine University. 

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Executive Board Member

Rachel Sumekh is an Iranian Jewish activist and & CEO of Swipe Out Hunger. The organization is the leading nonprofit in addressing hunger amongst college students. Swipe Out Hunger has been recognized by The Obama White House and landed her on Forbes' 30 Under 30 list. Rachel wrote the Hunger Free Campus Act which the state of California passed and has since sent $20+ million to antihunger programs on campus.
She serves on the board of her synagogue, IKAR, and is a proud graduate of UCLA. 

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Executive Board Member

David is a forensic accountant and turnaround specialist. His focus is on restructuring companies and providing expert witness testimony in civil and criminal matters. He is a 30YA Maher Fellow and a graduate of The Jewish Federation's Community Leadership Institute (CLI). On weekends, you'll find David rooting on Michigan and UVA sports if he's not catching waves. 



Programming Board Member

Carly is a creative and business-savvy product development, marketing, public relations, and communications professional with years of progressive experience across a broad range of industries. Her day-to-day work involves managing and producing tile across the world. On the side, she enjoys doing PR part-time for the L.A. Chargers. She believes in challenging and encouraging development within each of us in order to grow together. Carly is excited to be on the Chaya board in hopes of inspiring our community to reach its fullest potential.



Programming Board Member

Nicole is a Los Angeles native and passionate about her profession working as a dentist in Southern California. When she’s not working, Nicole enjoys indoor spinning, reading, painting and traveling to new places. She also appreciates new adventures with opportunities of growth and creativity. 



Programming Board Member

Michael is an Integrative Psychiatrist at HOPE Integrative Psychiatry and a Clinical Assistant Professor who is originally from Newport Beach. Michael is really passionate about Integrative Medicine and alternative approaches to mental health care. Michael is excited to join Chaya’s team because of the sense of community that Chaya has brought to Persian Jews in Los Angeles and creating a space for meaningful conversations.

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Programming Board Member

Azadeh is Periodontist practicing in Los Angeles and Orange County. She is passionate about educating her patients on the connection between their oral and systemic health, as well as working collaboratively with her peers in other dental specialties to provide comprehensive treatment. In her free time she enjoys cooking, photography, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family. Azadeh is excited to join Chaya’s board and help foster open and meaningful conversations that unite our community. 




Farah is a Public Health professional with a specialization in Community Health Sciences. She is currently the Director of IsraAID’s Humanitarian Professionals Network. Farah earned a graduate degree from The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.



Community Coordinator

Bridget recently graduated from CSUN with her master's degree in Speech and Language Pathology. She has a passion for working with adults who have had strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and neurodegenerative diseases but also loves working with the pediatric population. She believes in creating a fearless and judgement free Jewish Iranian community to allow individuals to empower their souls.

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Executive Board Member

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Arya earned his BA in Psychology at UC San Diego, and a master's in Organizational Behavior from NYU. Arya began a body of work he had dreamt of advocating for the full equality of LGBTQ+ people and community. Twelve years into his non-profit career, he currently serves as the Managing Director of JQ, an LGBTQ+ and Jewish organization focused on education, outreach, and support in service of inclusion and equality for all. 

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Executive Board + Programming Board Member

Matt spends a lot of time lawyering and is grateful to love that “real” work he does too.  Matt joined Chaya because he values genuine and pointed conversations about ideas and he is constantly working on being a more open individual.  



Programming Board Member

Leila is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She currently provides mental health services for the homeless community at the Union Rescue Mission. In her free time she enjoys camping, dancing, and spending time with family and friends. She is passionate about the Iranian Jewish community and hopes to create spaces where people can feel comfortable to be their true selves. 



Programming Board Member

Shannon is a creative producer, director, and opera singer based in Los Angeles. She has performed on stages across the US and Europe including the Trentino Festival in Italy, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Mannes Festival in New York, and with Teatro Grattacielo in Crete, Greece. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Mad Scene, a multidisciplinary production company focusing on innovative storytelling.



Programming Board Member

Nicole is a college counselor and instructor focused on supporting her students' personal, educational, and career development. She believes in creating a nonjudgmental space to facilitate meaningful conversation and embrace self-expression within our community. 



Programming Board Member

Navid is a Land Use Consultant/Attorney focusing on high-end residential, multi-family, and commercial developments. When he’s not watching the city rise, Navid enjoys broadening his worldview through the powers of food, conversation, design, finance, sports and a thirst for whatever else is peaking his interests currently. Navid is excited to empower Chaya’s mission to cultivate meaningful connection and self-actualization.​

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