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American Program Bureau Speaking to the world for over 50 years

Soraya Darabi

Digital Strategist & Successful Interactive Entrepreneur
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Biography

As a renowned digital entrepreneur and pioneer in the social media landscape, Soraya is a leading authority on digital commerce and ways to apply new technologies to help foster efficiency, visibility and growth.

Most recently, Soraya is the co-founder of Zady.com, which is among the first online retailers to seamlessly integrate commerce, rich media content and social media, providing customers with a truly dynamic shopping experience. Zady.com empowers customers to learn about the conscious consumer movement and purchase beautifully-constructed goods that are created with craftsmanship and artisanship – qualities that have been sacrificed in a world of cheap prices and fast production. In 2014, Zady was named by Fast Company as one of the top ten most innovative retail companies in the world as part of their annual Most Innovative Companies issue.

Soraya began her career as Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at The New York Times, where she quickly established herself as a leading thought leader on today's ever-changing digital landscape. While at The New York Times, Soraya positioned the global news leader on networks such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, partnered with startups large and small, and established award-winning campaigns. She was also tasked with teaching journalists and chief executives alike how to best use and leverage social media. Renowned Times columnist Nicholas Kristof credits Darabi as being "the only reason why he has [millions] of followers on Twitter."

Following her tenure at the Times, Soraya served as Product Lead for drop.io, a real-time online sharing, collaboration, and presentation service (acquired by Facebook). She then went on to co-found the popular mobile application Foodspotting, named by Apple and Wired Magazine as an “app of the year” before being acquired by Open Table.

Recently featured on the cover of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business” issue, and Brandweek’s “Hot Digital” issue, Soraya also was named one of Inc. Magazine's "30 Under 30," and included in AdAge’s “25 People in Media to Follow on Twitter.” In 2014, she received the honor of joining the World Economic Forum’s "Young Global Leaders." Her experience and success in identifying and leveraging the latest digital technologies make Soraya an ideal speaker for organizations of all sizes which are looking for ways to help build sustainable growth in our new digital world.

Soraya received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Georgetown University.

Topics

The ART of Technology

We have seen how the first generation of network technologies created more efficient business processes. Those who were savvy enough used technologies to scale up their businesses in ways that disrupted industries and, in some cases, extinguished “the little guy.” Yet the second generation, with the inclusion of digital media and social interaction, has leveled the playing field. Learn how artists, craftsmen, experts, creatives, and more are building new avenues for people who are interested in, and most often willing to pay for, things that are made with quality and care, and that have a story and value that can transcend the “low cost, mass-produced culture.”

The Beta Approach to Business Success

See something new... Test it, play with it, find out how it works... Imagine its use for your company... Find something else new... Repeat.

This is the beta approach to business success. As a leadership philosophy, it is driving growth in the most talked-about companies in the world. Building a beta culture in your organization will rip loose hundreds, even thousands, of innovators whose innate curiosity in experimenting with new technologies, new products, new services, and new ideas will drive your company’s competitive engine quicker and with more agility. As an example, those who “played with” new IT advancements first, from ERP to e-commerce to social media and beyond, had a crucial leg up on their competitors. They were the first to reap the huge rewards in cost savings, operational efficiencies, and building meaningful connections to customers. Soraya Darabi explores the beta approach to growth, which has made her one of the leading business advisors and new media experts in the world. Companies she has worked with include GE, Wired, The New York Times, and many others. This could be one of the most important speeches you will hear in some time.

The beta view to business:

  • Beta is playing. Experimenting. Trying.
  • Beta is constant learning.
  • Beta is profiting in the true nature of the word "profit." Making progress.
  • Beta is never perfect. Never completely without fault. Just like any human being, everything can be made better.
  • Beta is evolution. Many small gradual changes. Suddenly they may seem like giant leaps.
  • Beta is revolution.
  • Beta is open. Ready for dialogue. Open for change. Positive for co-creation.
  • Beta stands for things that change. Change with consistency.
  • Beta creates feedback loops for companies, individuals, and products.
  • Beta is honest. Not superficial.

Women in Entrepreneurship

In this talk, social media maven Soraya Darabi discusses the challenges women face as entrepreneurs - and the advantages of being a woman in the business world. Describing the concept of women as "brand evangelists" in business, keynote speaker Darabi expounds the value of collaboration amongst women entrepreneurs in this motivational speech.

Creativity in the Workplace

The beauty of the Internet is its ability to help users be more malleable and inventive. Keynote speaker Darabi discusses the importance of staying creative in the workplace, and how this creativity can be harnessed into emerging media platforms. This talk will address:

  • How to find inspiration from emerging media and technology.
  • How to redefine traditional roles for oneself and how to create jobs internally that best meet the demands of the changing landscape of new media.
  • How to establish a new ROI for modern communications and marketing techniques best suited for the web (including new demographics of followers and fans, increasing web traffic to desired landing pages, and finding unique ways to monetize new media efforts).

Nonprofits & New Media

Soraya Darabi has worked on social media campaigns for such nonprofits as the Robin Hood Foundation and Charity: Water, and is co-founder of Engendering Change, an initiative to increase visibility for women in technology. In this keynote speech, she talks about how nonprofits lacking large budgets can effectively harness the power of the Internet and web communities to reach a new audience and raise funds for their cause.

How to Build an Engaged Community Through Social Media

Whether your company already has a stable of loyal followers or you're just starting to build your base, an engaged community is the calling card of any successful brand. In this presentation, Darabi shows you how to leverage emerging media and up-and-coming social networks to enhance your brand presence and create an online identity that accurately represents both you and your organization. Learn strategies to engage your community; integrate brand extensions with overall company goals; maintain customer loyalty; increase revenue and proven methods for hooking the next generation of fans, followers, and subscribers; and increasing web traffic to your brand's site. Darabi will help to sift through the hype, to find social platforms that will bring the most ROI to your brand or organization.

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