A lawyer, entrepreneur, dancer, writer, & determined change-maker dedicated to helping you and your business understand your goals & reach your full potential!
Born and raised in the iconic Silk Road that Marco Polo traveled through, my journey carried me to the other side of the Atlantic, North America. Educated in Canada, the girl from the Far East of Central Asia made it to Harvard Law School and eventually a career in the nation's capital city, (Washington D.C.) While at Harvard, I taught a course called "Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems" as a teaching fellow under the direction of a leading business school professor. Co-teaching this course on emerging markets gave me different perspectives about other parts of the world.
I embody life-long learning, hence feeding my curiosity has been my priority. I strive to remain humble and hungry by continuing to learn subjects that spark my interest. Between 2018-2019, I took part in Harvard Business School Online's "Disruptive Strategy" and "Entrepreneurship Essentials" Program. Discussing business and entrepreneurship with global professionals who come from a different background, sparked my aspirations for building "something." I formed an association that is designed to bring professionals from America and Turkic countries, called American Turkic International Lawyers Association. "ATILA" Additionally, I also coach the Moot Court debate team at American University Washington College of Law. I enjoy every bit of my experience engaging with sassy future lawyers and watching them perform the art of advocacy that you often see on TV.
Defining Moment: The Harvard law library showcases the first generation of Harvard women. While I take tremendous pride in being the first Uyghur to study at Harvard Law, I am disheartened that many girls from my beloved community do not even have a chance to pursue international education.
Many women came before me, including my amazing mother, who is an educator and chemistry professor. She nurtured me to become the person I am today. I hope to help young girls break the glass ceiling and tear down barriers. Together we will surpass our highest expectations across all fields.
As Nobel Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee so brilliantly stated: "with more women in power, we can expect real changes."
Moot Court Competition at Brooklyn Law School, NY, November 2018
I am often asked what motivates me? How did I overcome the "barriers and challenges" that led me to Harvard and beyond?
Curiosity: I've always had a wandering heart. Curiosity and zeal to learn motivated me to leave my sweet home in Urumqi. I set out on a journey to seek identity, true belonging, and friendships beyond boundaries. While on the journey, I have continued to learn so much from everyone I meet. My interaction with the world adds richness to my story, views, and personal growth. As Rumi said, "Embark on the journey of Love. It takes you from yourself to yourself." I have started to appreciate more of the glorious Uyghur culture and tradition that I came from and have become ever so fond of it.
Traveling, reading, and interacting with differing views transform us immeasurably.
The Journey: Though there were lonely times, I've enjoyed the freedom to follow my passion and purpose. I feel blessed to have lived in different parts of the world through which I experienced and engaged with new cultures and traditions. When I lived in Turkey, I intimately felt the destruction of the war to the beautiful Syrian people whose resilience and determination inspire me at every thought. I worked with a woman named Karyn Thomas. Karyn devoted her past several years to help the displaced Syrians. I joined her call for action, and together we built a community, Small Projects Istanbul ("SPI"). SPI aids Syrians to resettle in Turkey. Grassroots support brings real change. This experience taught me the importance of empathy and compassion. The SPI community continues to fight for the "extremely worry cause." In 2016, I nominated Karyn for the "Women Inspiring Change, Women Inspired Harvard Women" award. Karyn and I reunited at Harvard and had the chance to introduce the impactful pursuit of SPI to the Harvard community. I am, forevermore, a believer in the salience of dialogue, engagement, human connection, love, and togetherness.
On this journey, many beautiful people from different races, colors, creeds, and walks of life accompanied me.
Beautiful People: These wonderful fellow companions became my friends, mentors, cheerleaders, and supporters. These friendships, conversations, and interactions inspired me to share my story and stories of my guests whose lives will inspire yours! The collective brainpower of people empowers other people. The stories of the iShakeup community will empower you to continue to fight for the causes that you believe in, reshape your outlook for your future, unlock your desire, and seize your joy!
My beautiful ones, I hope you are seizing your joy! Success can be sustained for a long time if we engage with an open heart, open mind, and open eyes. We live in a fast-changing world where people are forced to innovate to survive. Our goal should not be about surviving but to push our limits, embrace our uniqueness, own our currency, and seize the joy!
Stephen Covey, in his masterpiece, graced us with a timeless reference: "To change ourselves, we first had to change our perceptions." Let's listen, learn, and yearn! Let's design the content of our lives with stories of love, abundance, excellence, heartbreaks, and resilience!
Follow Me On Instagram @ishakeup-rayhan
Learn more about my vision via the Collective Power section and through discussion on our Unlock Your Desire Podcast!
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