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Executive MBA Alumni Spotlight – Tiam Rastegar

Beginning in August of 2018, Tiam Rastegar has been acting as the new Executive Director of Trailhead Boise. Trailhead is a nonprofit organization that offers a creative space and resources to help local entrepreneurs bring their startup companies and ideas to life. With over 350 inventors, builders, and creators, Trailhead is driven to providing a community of thinkers and doers that are the hub of the startup ecosystem that Boise has to offer. Under Rastegar’s leadership, Trailhead hopes to build a stronger entrepreneurial network, connecting startups to mentors and experts, delivering educational programming, operating a co-working space as well as foster access to capital investments.

What is your role as the Executive Director at Trailhead?
My role is to lead the organization, including the staff and members. I work closely with the Board of Directors on strategic initiatives pertaining to the mission, vision and goals for Trailhead. Fundraising and community building are the other areas of focus for me.

What drew you to Trailhead?

  • The culture – The entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive here at Trailhead. We are a very inclusive, collaborative and action oriented non-profit that helps the community by creating, fostering and launching businesses that have an economic and social impact on our community.
  • The board of directors –  9 very prominent, capable and highly engaged members who are all invested in the success of this organization. The depth and breath of knowledge, expertise and relationships amongst the board is world class.
  • The opportunity – We get to make a direct impact on the community we live in. We have the opportunity to improve the welfare and the quality of lives of our members and the greater community. I work with other non-profits and civic institutions who share our mission and vision as well as private industry to further the entrepreneurial ecosystem right here in Boise.

What are you most looking forward to as the Executive Director?
Helping others to create and grow their businesses in order to make an impact on my community.

What are some ideas that you’ve learned in EMBA that you can apply to your new position?

  • Leadership – reaching consensus with a diverse BOD through facilitation and synthesizing.
  • Design Thinking – we apply this method to our own ventures and initiatives and we teach it to members.
  • Finance – I am the CFO and could not have assumed this responsibility without Harvey’s grueling finance sessions.

Why did you choose to pursue an EMBA?
I hit the ceiling of my own abilities and felt the need for personal and professional growth through continued education with an emphasis on building a strong network of relationships.

Looking back at where you were in EMBA, where did you think it was going to lead you?
Right where I am. At the helm of an organization that is positioned to impact peoples lives and the community I live in.

What was the biggest impact the EMBA program brought you?
Knowledge, tools and methodologies, relationships and credibility.

Tell us a recent Aha! Moment you had? 
As I took over Trailhead, I was told that there are many other organizations within the entrepreneurial ecosystem that perceivably do what we do. Therefore the relationship with these organizations was one of mistrust and competition – many other stakeholders from these organizations told me that they are eager to see where I will take Trailhead. I started to interview more stakeholders and map out the so-called ecosystem and came to the realization that all of these organizations had a similar mission and vision and that we were all positioned at different sections/phases within the ecosystem. This graphic depiction of the ecosystem was my aha moment. I use it to communicate context to others – where Trailhead fits in, where they fit in and why we are bound to work together and partner on our initiatives.

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