Story by Suzanne Takowsky
Photography by Nicolas Nami and Koji
Design and Layout by Jennifer Wise
It’s amazing how time flies, and things change. Some things change that is—and some never do. Almost 15 years ago I published my first magazine, Women On Top—a magazine that spoke to women about their lives, successes, the lessons they learned, the triumphs of seeing their dreams come true, and the heartbreaks they suffered through—and emerged from when life through them a curve. Women On Top was about female survival, and went beyond the borders of age, race, social and economic lifestyle. I published it for five years before moving onto the Beverly Hills Times magazine, but still to this day women ask me if I plan to bring it back. And the answer is YES, I do. Women are my favorite people on this planet and I believe women make the world go around. As we look around we see women have not only emerged the backbone of our society, but climbed the corporate ladder and with hard work and determination have broken through the red tape and glass ceiling to lead some of the most influential big business corporations in the world. In our economy today, it is women who are taking the lead, financially supporting their families and running the day-to-day-of business. Even more important women are the heart and soul of the most important part of our lives—our families. What I loved about Women On Top magazine was profiling incredible women who shared the highs and lows of their lives. The significance of what they had to say was monumental; their stories of success, heartbreak, survival, perseverance and determination motivated, inspired and educated other women not to be afraid of life. Not to be afraid to go out into the world and achieve their goals and make their dreams come true despite the challenges, hatreds and jealously we all face on our journey to greatness. The in-born knowledge and survival skills women bring to the table are unbeatable. It is from women who have turned their lives into great success stories that each of us have the opportunity to learn the true meaning of life.
A True Woman On Top
You are about to meet such women—Simin Hashemizadeh. Certainly, she has brains and beauty, but what I love about this women is her heart. Every minute I spend with her is a lesson in selfless love for those around her. Sometimes we think God or the universe doesn’t take notice of the good we do. Not true. When you do good it brings positive into your life. Hashemizadeh’s inspired determination, courage to over come personal and professional hardship, the bravery she exemplifies each day to go after, and achieve business success have brought enormous blessings into her life. When she gets home from work the first thing she does is light a candle in the quite of her home, and ask God for continued joy and help for herself, and others; a practice we all need to do, especially with our lives and the world in such pain and disconnect. I have seen the arms of jealously by others reach out to try to destroy her on way to the top, but they fail. As owner of South Pacific Surgery Centers, even though Hashemizadeh has many businesses and offices to oversee, she continues on strong against any boulders thrown in her path. Certainly, there are times she stumbles, but she never stops trying—a lesson all women need to learn. Too often we get engulfed in negatives and lose sight of the path around the corner that leads to happiness and success. There is no option for her except success as she carries the financial weight of family, a staff of doctors, nurses, office executives and the expenses of running multiple medical offices on her shoulders.
Over years I’ve watched as one phone call after another comes in, and it’s always the same; someone needs her help. And she is there for them. Hashemizadeh’s life is blessed because she never stops counting her blessings—another lesson we should practice. Why dwell on negative tapes playing in our minds telling us we can’t do something? Only positive thoughts and intentions get us where we want to go. Hashemizadeh came to the United States from her homeland Iran 20 years ago, during a time of enormous political unrest. When she arrived she spoke almost no English, but what she did have was the love and encouragement of her father who told her she could do whatever she wanted, and never to give up. Loving words from a proud father who knew his daughter was destined to make a difference in this world, and she has. A busy, successful, caring woman, Hashemizadeh shows us through example that we can have it all—but the true bottom line is how badly do we want it?
Single In The City
ST: So many woman complain L.A. is a tough town for single women, but your social schedule is filled. Can successful businesswomen really have a fun, exciting life?
SH: Of course they can. Women think they have to wait for a man to ask them out on a date to enjoy life, or marry them to feel fulfilled. This is not true. Certainly women and men alike want someone to love and who is by their side helping them in life. But for me what is exciting is to enjoy my life right now, where I am; not wait for someone else to make me happy. I have to make myself happy. True happiness is finding peace within yourself first. Outside of my office I have a very fulfilling life, I date, travel, go to incredible events and meet many interesting people. Women have to stop waiting for someone else to take the lead and start taking the lead to better their own lives—and have fun doing it. For many years I had to concentrate on making my business a success, but now I have come to a place where I feel comfortable enough to think about marriage. For me having a mate that is intelligent, successful, honest, and respects women is important. I want a man who is willing to be a true partner, working together as a team to make our lives together better, helping me turn my business into a family business is high on my list because what I do…is my passion and I would want the man in my life to share my life in all ways. I enjoy dating, but because of the way I was raised I am geared toward being in a committed relationship. I know that some women complain about the men in L.A. not being interested in marriage or not being faithful to just one woman, but the men I am meeting and dating are amazing, and they are looking for love and a relationship with women they can build a future with. I guess it all comes down to ‘not settling’—when you meet that right person things come together and true love and commitment to one another follows.
ST: I know that family means everything to you. Looking back on your life in Iran what did you learn from your father then that continues to inspire you now?
SH: My biggest sadness is that my father is not here with me. His love for his family—for me was special and I will never forget who he was as a man and a father. He taught me about decency, work ethic and respect for others. I grew up watching a man who loved his family and worked hard every day to take care of them. To this day I know that he is with me, helping me go through the good times as well as overcoming the bad ones. I wish he was here to see the good things I am doing, especially with the charities that I support and work for. I miss him every day.
If You Want To Help Yourself…Help Others…
Hashemizadeh has emerged not only a substantial businesswoman in the L.A. community, but through her enormous charity endeavors in the Los Angeles community, she has helped raise millions of dollars to support those less fortunate and those needing life or death medical care. Some charities include: Hand in Hand Benefit Concert Program, the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue, Children’s Hospital, Shane’s Inspiration, the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and the National MS Society. Others such as the Larry King Cardiac Foundation (her own mother had open heart surgery and her father passed away from heart failure); the Mbenga Foundation (headed by Los Angeles Laker Didier Mbenga) which the NBA star created three years ago in his native country to bring education to the children of the Congo is teaching them how to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination plays in their lives; and she also works for the extended global efforts of the Red Cross. This summer Hashemizadeh will host a glamorous invitation-only celebrity fundraiser in Beverly Hills where the Who’s-Who of the entertainment, social, and professional industries will come together in a night of glitz and glamour to raise funds to support the heroic efforts of the Red Cross, here in the U.S. and across the globe. In addition to the priority she places on helping humans find better lives, she is also a staunch animal activist who supports several animal rights organizations, such as C.A.R.E Cat/Canine Assistance Referral Education, NO KILL-NO CAGE shelters, ACI-Animal Cruelty Investigation organization which stops cruel behavior to animals by organizations or individuals, and Animal Alliance which protects the rights of all animals.
A Woman Who Has It All?
Certainly, people on the outside might look at Hashemizadeh and think she has it all; and by all accounts she does. Professional success, and all of the material goodies of a celebrity lifestyle. But few have an opportunity to witness the day-to-day struggle and survival of a woman who never gives up regardless of what comes her way. And plenty comes her way. At her level people come out of the woodwork in jealously hoping to distract and destroy her business and all she has created and accomplished. The dedication, love and perseverance she brings to her family, business, friends, and charity work is a 24/7 obligation, and it takes a woman filled with passion at the top of her game to do it. Although it has been nearly 12 years since Hashemizadeh lost her father, not one day goes by that she doesn’t turn to his strength to help her. Back in Iran her father founded 300 medical clinics, and she is making certain that his legacy continues.
ST: Your business is doing well even in this slow economy. Do you have any advice for businessowners who are struggling?
SH: I am very concentrated on my business right now. I feel very blessed that I am able to provide those who come to my facilities with the best medical care available. I am also grateful that I can provide many people with jobs at a time when jobs are hard to come by. But people here and in every country, are having a difficult time. When I see what is going on in Iran…I cry. My heart is with my people and I know they are struggling under enormous hardship. But through the grace and blessings of God they are surviving and bringing about change. And that is what I think the key is—bring about change in your life. This is a time for those in business to think outside the box. Use different strategies. We have to accommodate people in any way we can. If that means working with them with the budgets they have, then that is what to do. We all have to work together now more than ever. We all feel the effects of our financial circumstances, and the only way to survive is stay focused and dedicated. I work seven days a week. People don’t see that my life is working from early in the morning until late at night. It might not be what I want to, but it is what I need to do. My advise is not to give up. Things will turn around. Even if things are not as we would want them, we still have to find it in our hearts to help those in need. Especially with people who are struggling—maybe we can’t give what we used to give, but supporting charities that give life, food and shelter is something we can’t stop doing. It’s our obligation to give what we can, and to do it from our hearts. Whether we give a thousand dollars or ten dollars, there are people worse off than us in disastrous circumstances. They need us now and rely on our generosity to live day to day.
ST: You are a woman filled with great faith. But with all the bad things happening in the world some people are questioning God;
questioning why people are suffering, questioning how harsh our day-to-day reality has become. How does your faith keep you strong?
SH: I love God. I feel I am always close to him. I believe God loves us and has given us so many wonderful things for so long. But many people have misused the goodness he has extended. It is the people—not God who cause wars, negativity, suffering and the decline of human civilization. People have lost the meaning of life—which is about being honest, loving, caring and supportive. Unfortunately, we are seeing the result. Instead, of helping one another, people are filled with hate and jealously. They don’t care about their countries, they don’t care about destroying the economy, and they don’t care about destroying the earth with pollution or killing animals by destroying our oceans. They certainly don’t care about their fellow brothers and sisters. We see now see the effects of decades of humans taking advantage of the goodness of God and the goodness of what the universe has given. The oceans, the environment—the earth is tired of being abused. This has all happened because people only think about their own greed. It’s almost like we have reached a point of no return, and if we don’t stop we will certainly destroy not only ourselves, but the environment which we need for our survival. Humans are responsible for the suffering we are going through—we can’t blame God for what is happening. What is happening is because of what we do. No one is happy right now. And the only solution is that we have to stop being self-serving. We have to return to the basics of caring for each other and our world.
One Career…Two Loves
ST: You have the most amazing wardrobe and rumor has it you design your own clothes. If you weren’t in the medical field would you consider being a clothing designer?
SH: I have always enjoyed designing clothing styles and, coordinating colors that are original, and that fit my body. It started as a hobby that turned into an enormous enjoyment that I love doing. It makes me so proud when I attend events and people comment on how unique and beautiful my clothes are. I feel even more special knowing I am wearing one of my own designs. I have had some friends want me to design for them—but this is a hobby I can only do in my spare time; it is a relaxing enjoyment that takes me into a different field than my medical work. Designing my clothes is a way for me to express myself artistically.
What It Takes To Get And Stay On Top
Because Hashemizadeh has acquired the most brilliant know-how to make what she does look effortless, no one understands the magnitude of what it takes to guide a staff of 30-plus surgeons, physicians, nurses and office staff, plus see to the needs of hundreds of patients who put their lives in her hands. As owner of South Pacific Surgery Centers, there isn’t one minute when there isn’t a phone in her hand, someone in her office or her driving from office to office making certain that things are running smoothly. She is the first to tell you that making certain the level of medical care patients receive is the best available—is her main priority. And as a single woman running the show it’s not easy. In her darkest hours and during her most troubled times, she has only herself, and her determination to make and keep her business a success. I have known her for years and am still amazed at the level of care and concern she brings to her job. Where do you find a medical director of a surgery center who personally calls her patients to make sure that before, during and after their surgeries their needs are met? Since first opening her first South Pacific Surgery Center location in Encino more than 13 years ago, Hashemizadeh has gone on to open others; her high-tech, gorgeous surgery center in Beverly Hills has emerged her most successful ever. From the exquisite interior design to the operating room surgical suites—she has a hand in everything that goes on right down to even the smallest detail. She says her bottom line is to get involved and help each another achieve one goal.
Awarded an honorary Doctorate Degree from Dubna University which is internationally recognized for its main focus on higher education in humanities and its natural sciences, Hashemizadeh has emerged a leading runner in the medical field, and patients come from all over the world to have plastic surgery, orthopedic procedures and a variety of treatment services offered by the physicians who work at her offices. What many people may not know about her though is her generosity when it comes to helping people who need surgery, but are not financially able to afford it. These people get what they need because of what she so generously gives to them—at no charge. Hashemizadeh is also a successful entrepreneur in the skin care business with her luxury Forbelle Luxury Caviar beauty product line. She is approached daily to participate in the most prestigious events in Los Angeles including the Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammys among other charity fundraisers where celebrities and VIPs are treated via Celebrity Gifting Bag Suites to her incredible caviar skin care packages that contain incredible skin care products worth thousands of dollars. “The way I see it is that women are number one; they are the center of everything, and it is about time that they realize it,” states Hashemizadeh, “I would like to find just one family without a woman who is there to help provide love and happiness that makes everything all work out. Happiness in life revolves around women; women are the ones who unite a family and make the love, happiness and fun for all to enjoy. Women make families, they work hard at their businesses, and those businesses help support their families. Women bring life and love to all the people in their lives—and I’m talking about good women who day after day sacrifice, work hard and give from their hearts year after year. We all know successful, active, strong and caring women who are young at heart, and these women make everyone’s life better. I enjoy life no matter where I am because I enjoy where I am right now—today. I am not living my life waiting for a man to come and rescue me, or to have a different job to make me feel better. I don’t rely on friends or the excitement of what goes on around me to make my life happier. I find happiness in what I do every day in my work, and with my family and friends. Women have the ability to lead incredible lives, and they can truly make a difference in this world for the better. I say stop waiting for your future to begin. Make it happen right now, and enjoy your journey along the way.”