Anoosheh Oskouian is trying to commit to getting at least six hours of sleep a night instead of four because it’s healthier – not necessarily because she’s tired.
As the rare female CEO in the environmental engineering industry, she thrives on her hectic schedule. During the 18-20 hours she is awake, Oskouian is busy running Ship & Shore Environmental Inc., hitting the gym, spending time with her 13-year-old son, Rod, and her husband, Alan, preparing family dinners, organizing and attending charity events, reading poetry, and going to the symphony.
People often ask her where she finds the time. “Whenever you want to get anything done, give it to a busy person,” she says with a laugh.
As if to illustrate that point, she describes how she spends her free time, which includes co-founding Children’s Hope International Literacy & Development, a nonprofit that helps children further their education and provides basic necessities. Oskouian is a board member of the Pacific Symphony and has fundraising, committee and board positions in several other nonprofits.
Born in Iran, Oskouian founded the engineers and architects division of the Network of Iranian American Professionals of Orange County and participates in Orange County’s Strategic Business Group, a networking group of Iranian American professionals. What’s more, she helped develop the Iranian Cultural Center of Orange County and is a trustee of the Farhang Foundation, whose mission is to promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community.
If there is a moment to spare, you can find Oskouian relaxing in her coastal backyard.
My neighborhood: Newport Coast.
Why I live here: We moved to the neighborhood almost 10 years ago because we wanted our son to go to school with the kids from the neighborhood and living on the coast was a preference.
Where I’m from: I came alone from Iran to Colorado for school when I was 14, for the dream of living in a country where freedom was of the utmost importance.
What I do: I am president and CEO of Ship & Shore Environmental Inc., which does engineering, consulting and manufacturing of anti-pollution control systems. My field of study was chemical engineering, and I wanted to do something that I could feel the impact of.
What I am passionate about: I truly enjoy knowing that I have made a difference in the air we all breathe. I also love cultural activities and philanthropic causes that involve children; my heart aches to be able to make a difference in a child’s life.
How I personally reduce my carbon footprint: We try to live a conscious life. We are proud owners of a Tesla and another hybrid. We’re also in discussions to get solar panels on the house. We recycle, and we conserve water by changing our landscaping.
My perfect day: I’d love for my day to start with a great workout, then I’d like to have a lot of time to spend with my husband and my son, and after that I would tend to business. If I am in town, I love to be at home cooking and spending time with my family. And, if I am not having dinner at home, another perfect way I can spend the evening is to attend a charity or music-related dinner.
My sanctuary: One of the places I truly love is Sedona, Arizona. There is a resort there called Sanctuary. It’s a beautiful spot; I absolutely love the hiking.
Red or white: I love them both. At cocktail parties I start with a white and hopefully get a red after that.
On my nightstand: A Bose clock radio and a few books that I flip through. Some never leave my nightstand, including “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and two Persian poetry/philosophy books. I usually pick one and read some verses. “The Power of Now” is almost like a little Bible. I pick it up and, whatever page I open to, I feel like it must have been calling me to get me aligned with the universe again.
Favorite place to shop that is not a chain: Atelier 7918 boutique in Crystal Cove
Pet peeve: I can’t stand laziness and incompetence.
How I relax: Driving relaxes me because I get to be in my own head and my own thoughts. I try to make the best of the time I have in the car. There are certain things you have to do in life – like drive – in Southern California. There is nothing you can do about it. You might as well try to make the best of it. I have classical music on when I am driving, which is really comforting.
What surprises people about me: I am in an extremely male-dominated field, and I fit in quite well, so when I tell people I am also domestic, they just can’t believe I can cook, sew and knit. My mom was very particular, and she said, “What makes a young lady totally complete is being able to take care of all of her own needs and not necessarily be dependent on anyone else.”
My values: In the ancient days, Iranians were Zoroastrian. It is a form of religion, but more than that it is a philosophy to live by. The most important thing is that, at all times, you try to have a truthful mind. When I was very young my father used to tell me, “As long as you live your life that way, you will never go wrong.”
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