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Interview with Afsaneh Noori - Author of 'Change Thrivers'

Book cover of Change Thrivers
Afsaneh Noori

Please share about your background (where you were born, where you grew up, siblings/family dynamic, career background , where you live now, etc.)

I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and moved to US when i was 20. I was the only daughter with 3 brothers. The oldest 2 were much older and they moved to US when I was very young. I grew up with my youngest brother who is 2 years younger than me.

My family was one of the oldest and most influential families in Iran. My parents were wealthy, well educated and well traveled, giving me opportunities that were not available to most girls in Iran. My father was a general in the army of the Shah. My mother was to run a household of servants and to be an asset to my father’s career goals.

My father retired when I was relatively young. My parents decided to move the rest of the family to US to prevent me from a marriage they didn’t believe was good for me. I was in love and adamant to marry a young man from a different religion and background whom I met in college. The difficulty with this marriage would have been similar to an inter-racial marriage in the 60’s in the US. We would not have been accepted by anyone.

Once in US, I continued my college education and became an Industrial engineer. I worked for the local electric company for 13 years. Mid career at this company, I shifted my focus from engineering to internal organizational development consulting and training. My last project was leading the efforts for a company wide culture change initiative to prepare employees for the changing environment in the utilities.

In 1994, I established Socio-Tech Systems, an organizational development and training company focusing on organizational change, team and leadership development.

When did you begin your writing journey?
I don’t consider myself a writer although I have authored the book Change Thrivers. It is more accurate to say that I had something important to teach and I wrote it in a book.

What inspired you to write this book?
Having gone through a great deal of personal changes and having witnessed numerous other people go through change in the various organizations, I have learned a thing or two about the process of change and the difference between resilient people and those who succumbed to the pressures of life. I began to notice the qualities that helped some people make the best of the challenges they faced and make a better life as the result of having learned from these events. This was valuable information on change thriving skills that I wanted to pass on to others.

Please share about your book, Change Thrivers.

Change Thrivers – Your resource guide for making change work, is a combination:

Intriguing personal life stories explain and simplify the concepts while adding warmth and personality to the book. People tend to remember and identify with ideas better when they are told in a story. The stories are especially interesting since they have the exotic elements of an Iranian-American woman’s life challenges.

Since people often have to manage multiple rapid changes in their lives, the goal of the book is to help readers create a plan to become change-ready. They are guided to evaluate the support structure in their lives, their attitude and belief systems, and their approach towards change. The people that have gained the most are those who created a plan to apply the information to their own lives by completing the worksheets at the end of each chapter.

The assessment alone allows the reader a self evaluation that will help them to identify the elements that supports them in change as well as those things that they need to develop or strengthen in order to be change-ready.

Change Thrivers book not only offers concepts that helps reader understand the nature of change and their reactions to it, but it also offers variety of solutions and tools to help them navigate the process. The reader will find a book that has plenty of concise and clear lists, models, tips, charts and inspirational quotes that make reading and absorbing the information enjoyable and simple.

Change Thrivers is the basis for my speaking, training and coaching work.

What are some takeaways you would like your reader to get from reading your book?
• Our experience of changes and challenges are directly related to our perception and our attitude.
• We have the power to change our thoughts and therefore our experience.
• Life works in cycles and there are predictable phases to every change that can be managed easier with awareness, knowledge and tools.

What is your advice to beginning writers?
The best advice I have received is to write about what you know well and have something you really want to share.

What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
Interestingly enough, writing the book was not as challenging as the publishing of it. I know it sounds like a cliché but once I was clear about the topic and the audience I was writing it for, the rest just poured through me. I began writing one night at 9:00 pm and when I was done, it was 2:00 am and I had written 37 pages.

What has been your greatest reward in writing this book?
The knowledge that I have brought something valuable to this world that has the potential for helping others long after I am gone.

Most writers are readers. What books are on your "to-read" list?
I enjoy fiction for relation. I am reading “Call me Zelda”. The non-fiction I am reading is Executive Coaching –A systems approach to engaging leaders with their challenges.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book?

Question for fun sake---what was your favorite childhood meal and why?
The Iranian national dish, Ghormeh sabzi which literally means sautéed greens. The main ingredients are a mixture of sautéed herbs, consisting mainly of large quantities of parsley, leeks or green onions, coriander, seasoned with the key spice of "shambalileh" (dried fenugreek) leaves. Other ingredients are stewed meat, red kidney beans and spices. It is served over rice (link for a recipe

This is my comfort food. It is colorful and aromatic. Just one whiff of it takes me back to another world.

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