From the Classroom to Center Stage: Alumna Ashley Zahabian

By Jennifer Leon, Staff Writer

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Alumna Ashley Zahabian started her public speaking career as a student at Montclair State University. Since graduating with a degree in economics and entrepreneurship in 2017, the 22-year-old has already made a name for herself in the public speaking community and the business world.

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Montclair State graduate, Ashley Zahabian, poses at her TEDx conference in Vancouver, Canada in 2016.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Zahabian

Zahabian currently holds the position of fixed income specialist at Bloomberg L.P. and is starting her own business that will be helping researchers, professors and students. She also has a long history of public speaking after holding her first TEDx Talk in 2016 and giving lectures at Rutgers University from 2014-2016.

“My TEDx [Talk] was a long, rewarding process,” Zahabian said. “I learned how to deliver a presentation on a professional educational topic.”

In her TEDx conference, Zahabian presented the audience with ways to connect their emotional brains to their rational brains and obtain emotional intelligence. She has always had a goal to help people grow and through her speaking career, she has been able to do just that.

On Zahabian’s YouTube page, which now has over 10,000 subscribers, she posts motivational videos to help inspire her viewers.

”I specifically speak on the topic of leadership and emotional intelligence,” Zahabian said, “and it’s right on point as to what I had wished for myself a few years ago.”

According to Zahabian, emotional intelligence is feeling one way but acting another way for a better outcome. It is a skill that could change someone’s life.

Zahabian credits her success to anorexia, as overcoming the disorder helped to shape her career in building people.

“[The recovery] took a lot of hard work, but it allowed me to understand human psychology in a different way than most,” Zahabian said.

Vidya Atal, an associate professor in the department of economics, was Zahabian’s professor for intermediate microeconomic analysis and advanced seminar in economics. She recalls Zahabian being passionate and a hard worker.

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Ashley Zahabian graduated from Montclair State in 2017 with a degree in economics and entrepreneurship.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Zahabian

“[Ashley Zahabian] was extremely smart, intelligent and hardworking,” Atal said. “She kept asking me questions until the topic was fully clarified even if she had to stay late until 11 p.m. at night. She enjoyed being challenged, and I enjoyed giving her more challenging questions to push her further.”

A few of Zahabian’s most memorable quotes vary from “Leadership is extremely rare because it requires selfless living, and that’s unnatural to us,” or “The urge to solve big problems must be a function of your independent desire. Nothing else will do.” Inspiring quotes like these are often shared by Zahabian with her 36,000 followers on Instagram.

Along with these quotes, Zahabian shares her top three tips to achieve success:

1. Caring. If you do not care about what you are doing, then nobody cares about what you are doing.

2. Do research on yourself before a company. See what you want to learn, what skills you have, and most importantly, discover who you want to be. Take the time you need to do that.

3. Narrow goals down to your top priorities. Write down what it takes to accomplish them within the year, and say “no” to anything that does not fall under those categories. It is a lot easier to say “no” when you know exactly what you want to say “yes” to.

Zahabian was listed on success.com as one of the “25 Successful People Who’ll Help Change Your Life in 2018.”

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Ashley Zahabian is a prominent public speaker and graduate of Montclair State University.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Zahabian

“I was humbled,” Zahabian said. “I scrolled down the list and saw Oprah’s name and was like, ‘How in the world did I get on this list?’ I am honored though, to have changed people’s lives for the better.”

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