Business in Vancouver has named Persis Ahrestani, Chief Financial Officer at Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver, as one of the “40 under 40” business leaders for 2024. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, innovation, and impact in their respective fields. The following is an interview with Persis about this award and her experience at Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver.
Interviewer: What does it mean to you to be selected for this award?
Persis: This award not only validates my individual contributions but serves as a testament to the collective efforts of my team, coworkers, and mentors over the years. It means that we are doing good work and should continue doing the same. The acknowledgment of our contributions to the business community is truly encouraging.
Interviewer: Can you describe your journey leading up to this achievement? What were the key milestones or turning points in your career?
Persis: Key milestones in my career have always been the people, amazing coworkers, strong mentor figures and the unwavering support of my family. Surrounding myself with like-minded individuals has been instrumental, fostering an environment where mentorship and collaboration have played pivotal roles in my professional development.
Interviewer: What challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?
Persis: Challenges have been instrumental in sculpting my professional resilience. Rather than hindrances, challenges became steppingstones, contributing to my growth and reinforcing the significance of adaptability in the ever-evolving landscape of my career.
Interviewer: Can you share a particular project or achievement that you’re especially proud of, and how it made an impact in your industry or community?
Persis: One particularly memorable achievement is the standing ovation from my Advanced Financial Accounting class at UBC. The unexpected appreciation from a room full of tired students on a late Friday night was not only personally fulfilling but highlighted the positive impact a teacher can make.
Interviewer: Why did you choose to take a job at Habitat? What is it about the work that inspires you?
Persis: Selecting a role at Habitat was a deliberate decision driven by my belief in the importance of meaningful contributions to society. Where I spend my time and energy has always been important to me. The organization’s commitment to providing affordable housing aligns closely with my values. I find myself lucky to be able to dedicate my time and energy to a cause that directly impacts young families in need within my community.
Interviewer: The “Top 40 Under 40” award is a prestigious honor. What advice would you give to other young professionals aspiring to achieve similar recognition and success in their careers?
Persis: For those aspiring to achieve recognition and success, my advice is to focus on leveraging your strengths to create impactful work. By prioritizing the well-being and growth of others, unexpected rewards and moments of joy naturally unfold. The path to success is much more fulfilling when guided by a genuine commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of those around you — regardless of any rewards or awards.