We had the good fortune of connecting with nora rahimian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi nora, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
The combination of patriarchy and capitalism has taught many of us that walking away from something that no longer serves you is some sort of failure, but that’s far from the truth. It takes insight, and courage, and a deep trust in oneself to acknowledge that something you’ve put so much into isn’t working out the way you wanted it to. How does one make that decision? You can run the analytics and look at the data, and there’s value in that, for sure. But it’s also helpful to ask yourself why you’re holding on to a project: Are you making decisions from fear? From a sense of responsibility to other people’s narratives and expectations about you? If you can silence the noise, the answer becomes really clear. And, just to frame this, success is not a linear process. To give up on something doesn’t mean the end of the story. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a few steps back into order to keep going.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a creative consultant. I help creatives and entrepreneurs identify their personal visions of success and then teach them how to build and implement the strategy to achieve it without giving up their creative vision or financial control. It’s important to me that we create more working artists; i see it as a way of redistributing power in the creative industries, so that those creating the culture are fairly compensated and credited for their work. I also run #CultureFix, which i co-founded with Natalie Crue. We connect artists, activists, and entrepreneurs to one another for creative projects and collaborations, and we help artists use their platforms for social impact. Underlying all this is the idea that arts and culture are the emotional catalysts that push people to change the way they feel, think, and act about social impact issues. It’s both how we overthrow white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism and also what we need to radically imagine the alternatives we’ll create in their place. For me, how i do my work- the process, the infrastructure, all the behind the scenes- is just as important as the external wins. And that’s one of the things i’m most proud of: that i’ve been able to build a business that fully aligns with my values. In the beginning, it was scary, especially when i had to turn down what people saw as “big names” or opportunities because their politics weren’t right. But i found that the more i stuck to my values, the more i found people who were aligned. And now, i think that’s part of what sets me apart. I’ve learned to lean into it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
What a tough question to think about as we socially distance to keep our communities safe. One of my favorite things about LA is how much creativity exists in the city, and that’s what I’d show them: the intimate shows, pop-ups, galleries, gatherings that local artists host(ed) all over the city. Other places I’d take them: Paisley Goldfish for some vintage shopping. Kabob by Faraj on Robertson for Persian food, followed by a trip to Westwood for Persian ice cream. Downtown for the street art. Venice Beach for the people watching. Temescal Canyon for a hike.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Back when i was first transitioning from working for nonprofits to running my own business as a creative entrepreneur, i came across a decision point: I could stay in Liberia, where i was managing a popular musician and doing arts for change work, or i could come back to the US and get a nonprofit job. I called my mentor, Malia Lazu, and she asked me, “In 20, what’s the story you want to tell?” The question invited curiosity, risk, and authenticity, and, i still return to it when i have a big decision to make. Throughout the years, Malia has been both a guide and an example of how possible it is to practice business in ways that are impactful, people-centered, and values-aligned, and i’m so grateful to have her in my corner.