Rogayeh Tabrizi

Q&A with Rogayeh Tabrizi, Forty Under 40 Winner 2020; Co-founder and CEO, Theory+Practice, Age 36


Q&A with Rogayeh Tabrizi, Forty Under 40 Winner 2020; Co-founder and CEO, Theory+Practice, Age 36

Who is responsible for your work ethic?

My team. 

What is your guilty pleasure? 

Painting. I love to grab a canvas and let the creativity take control.

What is the best book you would recommend?

The Outsiders, by William Thorndike.

Now that you’re entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?

To continue the journey that Theory+Practice has put me on and find new and bigger opportunities to impact the world around me, while staying open to change. 

Choose one of these five childhood career dreams: Rock star, star athlete, prime minister, astronaut, detective.

I always wanted to be an astronaut. This actually was my dream as a kid.

Name your happiest place.

This is going to sound odd, but I love being on a plane. Travelling is a real passion. Maybe the toughest part of 2020 has been the inability to travel. 

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Switching from an master of science in physics to a PhD in economics with no background. I am happy I had the courage to be bold at that time.

Advice you would give your 20-year-old self?

Commit to working hard, particularly when you feel stuck. Persevere and stick to it, but also ask for help.  

What is your best habit?

Challenging my own assumptions.  

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

I am one of the few people who has actually been touched by the Dalai Lama. It was a funny surprise when he tripped and landed on my lap during his last visit to Vancouver, which I helped organize. 

Best piece of advice ever received?

One mentor asked me, “Are you a perfectionist?” and I proudly responded “Yes.”  With a straight face, he said: “Quit now, you would never finish anything.”  I realized then that it is more important to strive for excellence than perfection. 

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Being at the ground-level of starting the African School of Physics (ASP) 10 years ago.