Meet Bear Development Team Manager Soraya Karimiyanha

This week, meet…

SORAYA KARIMIYANHA

Racing Age: 28

Hometown: San Rafael, CA

Race Bike of Choice: I actually do not race bikes! I do enjoy taking my cruiser to the local farmer’s market though.

Favorite “Cruising” Song: Drifter – Hippie Sabotage

Favorite Post-Ride Snack: An avocado rose on a slice of homemade bread.

I grew up in Marin, where I was the only person with a name that my substitute teachers could never pronounce. As a child learning to spell, that was hard for me! But it probably made me more sensitive to others as I grew up. I’ve been to the Middle East with my family a few times, to Iran and Syria, but I haven’t been over recently. I teach people to pronounce my last name by acting it out: CARRY-ME-YAWN-HA!

As a teenager, I spent most of my weekends volunteering for local causes (shoutout to Meals of Marin & the Special Olympics!!) or hiking with my family. We have always been a close-knit unit and we all love the outdoors. Every summer, we would travel, see the sights in a new country, learn the history, eat the food, and see how people lived all around the globe. It was fascinating. After high school, I attended University of San Francisco, where I wrote my thesis on family communication and secret keeping! I loved school, but I just couldn’t see myself researching communication studies for the rest of my life. Shortly after I graduated in 2013, I began working for Julia Violich, the woman of many talents, and many companies! That’s where I feel like my career really began. Working with Julia is intense, fast-paced, and inspirational. I completed my MBA at Dominican University while working part-time in 2017, and wrote my thesis on strategies for international growth. I love continuing my education – it really assists with all aspects of my life! And when you work in a small office like mine, it’s so helpful to know how to do, well, everything! We don’t have a graphics department or a research department or a travel agent or an event planner. Everything falls on us, and we make it happen.

Soraya, her brother Kaveh, parents Hamid & Joan, and their lab, Ace, on one of their favorite hikes in Lucas Valley.

Now, I live in Petaluma with my boyfriend Alex, our 2 chocolate labs Goose & Maverick, and our 8 hens: Iceman, Hollywood, Whiskey, Scooter, Leroy Jenkins, Delilah, Jäger, and the Gray Lady. Living with so many animals has really brought out the country girl within me, and I’m hoping that we can all move to a place with more land in the next few years, so we can add to our farm. I’d love to rescue goats and alpacas in the future. And obviously, more chickens. They’re like potato chips – you can never have just one!

Soraya and the farm’s largest hen, Delilah. Delilah is a Barred Rock.

On the weekends, you can find me working on one of my many home projects. I have a longggg list going of everything I’d like to do to our little fixer-upper. Recently, Alex and I made 2 tables for our home. One table was made using a rusty frame from a scrap metal yard in Sonoma- we sanded it down for polish and added some wood shelves. It’s our new media stand!

The other table we made was with a single metal rod that we sliced into shorter pieces and welded together to make the frame. We put a stainless steel top that we got for $10 at the flea market on it, and now it’s our centerpiece in our “test kitchen”! It is so rewarding to make something useful for your home. One day I’d like to learn how to work with wood, to make more intricate furniture.

If I’m not working on a house project, I’m somewhere outside with Goose & Mav. Marin & Sonoma Counties have no shortage of open space, and it’s so fun to hike with them. The dogs LOVE exploring, and so do I, so it’s a win-win!

I love taking classes, still! I am always learning. I take cooking classes, art classes, farming classes… basically anything and everything I can get my hands on. I recently learned how to do calligraphy with a nib & ink, and now it’s my favorite way to decompress after a long day, a busy week, or a labor-intensive weekend of building a chicken coop!

One thing I’m trying to improve is the food I eat. More and more, pesticides and chemicals in the food we buy, freaks me out! It’s one of the reasons I’d like to live on more land — to grow & raise my own food would be ideal. It would greatly reduce my carbon footprint if I could shorten the crazy long supply chain that comes from the food I buy at the supermarket. In the meantime, I’ve taken to fishing, clamming, lobstering, and even hunting. It’s brought on a new meaning to food. We use every part of the animal that we can, and we are still learning a lot! It makes you think about your food, where it comes from, and what it’s been eating. Hunting also encourages you to be a good at what you do. No hunter wants to wound an animal, we all want a clean shot. These experiences have also given me the opportunity to harvest meat, which is insanely cool. I love seeing a project through from beginning to end.

TEAM EFFORT – Clamming at low tide in Tomales Bay. You’ll need to dig fast if you wanna catch these buggers!!

My other hobbies include yoga (ask me about my backbends!), golf (don’t ask me about my par..), flying small planes, fly-fishing, skeet-shooting, poetry, making floral arrangements, antiquing, taking photos of architecture (I’m a bit obsessed with old European doors, but then again, shouldn’t we all be?), and well, probably a lot more! Feel free to reach out to me if you ever want to geek out about chickens or anything else I’ve mentioned. Looking forward to a fun season with Bear Dev!!