LARA SHBEYR- MAXEY
Accomplishments: Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, Master’s Degree in Public Administration/Policy. Co-Founder: NAAP ( Network of Arab American Professionals Los Angeles). Co-Chair: LA Cedars Rotary Club. Current Role: District Advisor to Congressman Brad Sherman CA-27. Languages: English, Arabic, French.
About: Lara Shbeyr-Maxey
The Civil War that erupted in Lebanon between the years of (1975-1991) dealt a crushing blow to the spirits and hopes of many Lebanese families. Terms like displacement, fatality and exodus would come to define the reality of those troubling times. Among those seeking a better life was one family who found the strength to survive and the will to create new hope both for themselves and others. Lara Shbeyr-Maxey was a young girl when her family immigrated to the United States of America in search of renewed hope. Since that time, her life has been a testimony to what occurs when trial is transformed into triumph. Attributing her independence and strength of will to her mother, she has become a woman looked upon by society as a model for Arab-American leadership. The nonprofit organizations she co-founded continue to feed the hungry, provide hope to the less fortunate, and bring hope to disadvantaged communities in LA.
In 2006, Lara became one of the Lead Organizers for the California Democratic Party and was responsible for coordinating outreach presentations to local schools, colleges and organizations throughout the San Gabriel Valley. She quickly made a place for herself in “American Political History” having assisted in the presidential campaigns of both Congressman Dennis Kucinich and current U.S. President Barack H. Obama. "Americas Youth hold the key to America’s future.” For this reason, Lara joined the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats hoping to inspire young men and women towards greater involvement in the political process. Her efforts in the SFVYD led to her being named Programming Director and later elevated her to the status of Representative/Board Member. She currently holds the post as the District Advisor to Congressman Brad Sherman to whom she provides insight concerning community affairs of both domestic and international nature.
Yet in the midst of it all this, Lara still finds time to explore the passions and innocent pleasures that provide light to the fire of life, youth, love and excitement. It seems the journey of the young girl from Lebanon has transcended war and tragedy to thrust her on the world scene as a beacon of inspiration to women everywhere. Whether it’s establishing a new home in a new country or studying Korean politics as a chosen delegate for an exclusive multicultural leadership program. Lara Shbeyr-Maxey is a woman on the rise and her hard work is why she is my "Highlighted Inspiration of the Month."
Interview with: Lara SM
Question 1: From a young age I understand that you and your family overcame astronomical odds in order to get where you are, can you tell me a little about that?
Yes, we immigrated to the US in 1987 during the (1975-1990) Lebanese Civil War. It was certainly challenging having to leave everything behind and try to assimilate to a whole new world, but we are fortunate to be here.
Question2: Your story seems to be one of continued triumph and success from Co Founding the NAAP in Los Angeles, obtaining your Masters Degree in Political Science/International Relations to Feeding the Homeless. What is it that drives you on this present life course?
One word: passion. I am passionate about world affairs and politics and when you’re passionate about something, somehow you find the energy and time to make it happen. That’s one of the main reasons why I co-founded the Network of Arab American Professionals in Los Angeles and why I choose to stay involved in numerous Lebanese American organizations and having become an advocate for Arab women in politics. Even though my professional work is Local and Federal politics, I believe it is very important for me to stay connected and give back to my own community.
Question3: You have quite an interesting history in politics from working on the staff of Congressman Sherman to assisting with presidential Campaigns, what are your political aspirations?
Everyone around me tells me I should run for office and maybe that is something I will do in the future but for right now I am more of the behind the scenes kinda girl although I do enjoy being in the limelight when I am speaking on behalf of my boss.
Questions4: Considering all you’ve endured and accomplished what have you come to value the most in life?
Happiness. I think life should be about balance and balance to me is about working hard but also enjoying life. I dedicate time to my work, but I also enjoy things like reading, shopping, working out, going out with my friends, and travelling. Maintaining a balance in my life brings me happiness.
Question5: As a beautiful young, vibrant woman you are not what one typically envisions when you think “OLD” Politics but of course we are living in new day. You seem to embody the essence of the youth movement that is sweeping the political process. How do you maintain the balance between your life and your profession?
I maintain my sanity by traveling. I have always been interested in international affairs and world history and I am fortunate to have travelled to different parts of the world like Egypt, Costa Rica, Canada, France, England, Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dubai, and Korea to name a few. Traveling has taught me so much about humanity. No matter where you are on this earth, all people are the same regardless of where they come from. We have more similarities than differences. Everyone wants better for their families, education for their kids, a good job/success etc. Another thing that I truly value that keeps me going and balanced is my health. I played soccer for 10 years and ever since have been working out and eating right. I think health is the key to overall success. Working out is not only good for our physical health but also mental.
Question 6: You are definitely a hero and inspiration to women everywhere, a story of determination that is worthy of recognition. That said I would be doing my female readers a disservice if I didn’t ask you; what advice can you offer on love, dating or relationships and how best to manage them direct from the “Lion’s Den?”
Thank you I appreciate your kind words! I think a woman should be confident and strong enough to depend on herself. My mother has always advocated this sense of independence to my sister Romy and I. And even though I am not single, the best advice I can give any woman is not to define her sense of self by being in a relationship. But I do believe in love, because love is a beautiful part of life and it makes the world go round.
I agree and im sure your mother is extremely proud of the woman you've become. Well, I definitely want to thank you for taking the time to share your story with me and for the interview, we wish you continued success in everything you do and I look forward to seeing more of your story unfold on the world stage.