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Educator Ani Shabazian is a Doer of Good and Gratefulness

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So how can a woman, who puts in so many hours, considers what she is paid to do ‘not working?’  Much of this is because her work is mission driven; that it is personal.

“To have an impact on a child’s life is astounding.  I really want them to have the tools they need to overcome what systemically happens in schools.  To feel strong and respected and most importantly heard.
I want each child to develop their own unique individual voice and I want to give them tools to not internalize the experiences they may encounter that may result in silencing or weakening that voice, like I did with my language.”

She believes her philosophy of child development will develop stronger kids, who will internalize this inner strength and be able to successfully overcome the various challenges life presents.  It is this ideology that she believes resonates with people and she spreads to all who will listen.
Both at UCLA and at LMU, Ani has been the recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award.  She is also the founding member and serves on the governance board for Ararat Charter School, a multilingual charter school providing among many other things native language instruction to children entering elementary school.

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Because I once worked with Ani, I can say beyond just me, she is well-respected and sought after for various university commitments and committees on campus.  She admits saying “no” is a trait to be improved upon, especially since the idea of time is always on her mind.  When I asked her what superpower she’d love to obtain it was the ability to freeze time.  “I always want to do a lot, but I am learning.”
Learning this balance, Ani sets aside time to be by herself.

“I really need moments of being alone.  I need moments of solitude.  I joke when I retire I want to surround myself with water and plants.  I am naturally an introvert.  Don’t misunderstand me, I adore my friends and as an only child I cherish them as many do their siblings.  However, when it is time for me to recharge and often, for not more than 20 minutes a day, I need to reenergize alone.”

Based upon this description of herself, Ani would fall under a category of an introvert.  Many misconceptions exist about this personality type.  They are in fact not shy nor don’t like to be around people.  Introverts are focused on the inner world, enjoying the process of thinking and exploring their feelings.  Unlike extroverts, introverts refuel their energy supplies through time spent alone.
Because of her introvert tendencies, Ani sets clear boundaries between work and her personal life.  For example, she separates it by not talking about work outside of it.  She also attempts to say “no” more.
But some opportunities you simply cannot say no to.  For Ani, this was providing support for Whole Child International.   Ani works closely with Whole Child’s founder and CEO Countess Karen Spencer, in helping developing countries improve the quality of care they provide for vulnerable children especially those residing in institutions.
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At the age of twelve was Ani’s first time visiting an orphanage while she was on a trip to Armenia.  “At the time I remember thinking, I could not understand why these children were left to live in such horrendous conditions day in and day out.  I clearly recall thinking: Who hugs them in the mornings and celebrates their birthdays with them?  I remember reflecting they do not look, sound or act very different from me, yet their daily life is so different from mine. I could not reconcile it then and, to be honest, I still in many ways cannot.”  After this significant experience there was no undoing the knowledge she gained.  “I knew what I had to do; I had to help improve the quality of life for all children.”
24998_1432824978249_6257087_nAni has traveled to Central America numerous times in the past few years providing training on cost-effective interventions to orphanage center staff, as well as government agencies.  As a result of her work with Whole Child, she has authored and co-authored several books and training manuals on this topic.
She has also been asked to present at various national and international conferences including being on a panel with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  As the mission of Whole Child describes, “As long as orphanages exist, we are committed to cost-effective interventions to help ensure the children within can develop the basic psychological tools they need to succeed in school, work, relationships, and families of their own.”
This Doer is fueled by this mission, living by the following quote by Meng Zi, C. 300 B.C

“All the children who are held and loved will know how to love others….. Spread these virtues in the world. Nothing more need be done.”

Read on to learn how to thrive, below by clicking 5!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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