From marketing to management to events, Sanaz Noorbakhsh (‘01) has done it all in the business world. And yet, after many exciting years of building a successful career and seeing the world, she couldn’t forget a lifelong dream—to teach. This dream led her back to Oakcrest, where today she teaches technology and computer programming classes.
Sanaz remembers her time as an Oakie very fondly. She has so many wonderful memories from school that she insists she can’t pick just one as her favorite. She does, however, mention that the strong friendships she made were a particularly special aspect of Oakcrest. Many of these friendships have lasted to this day. She also loved the faculty.
“Every teacher I had made a lasting impression on me and helped me learn, not only about a school subject, but also about myself,” she says. “Funny fact—Mrs. Makuc [now a substitute], Ms. Savino, Dr. Maksym, and Mrs. Hanssen were all my teachers, and we all work together today!! I still have a hard time calling them by their first names.”
After graduating, Sanaz went on to earn a B.S. in Marketing from George Mason University, and then an M.S. in the same subject at Johns Hopkins University. She embarked on a thirteen-year journey in the corporate world, focusing on marketing, branding, and events for Capital One, Booz Allen Hamilton, and KPMG. After taking some time off to travel around Europe and the Middle East, she decided to start her own business: Black Hat Management, which encompasses all the areas Sanaz is passionate about—music, management, and events.
While starting a new business might be more than enough for some people, Sanaz decided that she also wanted to try her hand at teaching. She’d wanted to be involved in the classroom for a long time, and it just so happened that a position opened up at Oakcrest that fit her background. She snatched up the opportunity and now teaches our Oakies about technology and computer programming. Sanaz loves teaching, and notes that the excitement and appreciation of the girls at Oakcrest inspire her every day.
Sanaz urges Oakcrest seniors preparing to graduate to take advantage of every resource and opportunity available to them. She emphasizes how they should enjoy this exciting new phase of life without fear and most importantly, do their best to live in the present and enjoy the “now” to the full.
There’s no doubt in Sanaz’s mind that her Oakcrest education helped form her into the person she is today. “I believe the classes I took at Oakcrest truly fueled my curiosity, strengthened my critical thinking and writing skills and made me knowledgeable on a variety of subjects,” she says. “When you study the humanities or social sciences, you develop a passion for learning and carry it with you for the rest of your life.”