AIWA THRIVE shares the stories of individuals from around the world who are positively impacting our community as they lead with purpose.
Co-founder of Chloe Nickie and CEO of Austere
Today, we feature Deena Ghazarian, Co-founder of Chloe Nickie and CEO of Austere.
Deena Ghazarian is an award-winning business executive with more than 25 years of experience driving top consumer technology and fashion brands. She is the CEO of technology accessories company Austere as well as a managing partner at TargetPath LLC. Prior to her consumer electronics career, she held management roles at Macy’s, where her experiences shaped her passion for fashion and design.
It is this lifelong passion combined with her entrepreneurial spirit and desire to make an impact that drove Deena, together with her husband Artin, to start Chloe Nickie. Chloe Nickie is an online women’s shoe store that provides higher end designer brands at reasonable prices. A portion of the proceeds goes to children who are Autistic, a cause Deena and her family are personally connected to.
Q: What is your life philosophy?
Enjoy every second of life and to do that well you need to focus on your passion.
For me that is a few things:
- Fulfilling my professional goals
- Mentoring others to better themselves
- Giving back to the community
Q: We called 2020 the year of the upheaval and awakening? What were your biggests upheavals and what did they teach you? What was your awakening(s) and what did it teach you?
I travel a good amount to visit and see customers all over the world. When I was open with my kids before the pandemic, it was always quality time over quantity.
With travel being grounded, I got the ability to grow up with my two girls every day in a year. It has been amazing and something that I will be very selective going forward on the purpose of business travel. I want to be there for my girls more often going forward.
Q: What is your hope for the future?
So many things, but the one that is meaningful to our family is creating a life for Chloe, and others like her, that extends past our lifetime. I want her to enjoy every second of her life and not have a financial burden placed in front of her, ever.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being Armenian?
The many traditions that the Armenian community keeps alive! The teething ceremony when a child gets her first tooth, the engagement and wedding ceremony and even simple family get together with food, drinking and dancing. Most cultures do not have the fun that the Armenian culture does.
Q: How has the Armenian culture shaped / influenced you?
I married into the Armenian community, I am actually of Lebanese descent. One of my Armenian friends said it so eloquently and I use this definition often – I am Armenian by choice! I am thrilled about our choices we made to expose our daughters to the Armenian culture early in their lives. My eldest went to an Armenian preschool and Chamlian Armenian Elementary and Middle School. The fact she is fluent in speaking, reading and writing makes me so proud. The fact my girls have protested peacefully to recognize the Armenian genocide and what that means to all the cultures in the world that have been persecuted is such a powerful moment in their upbringing. Armenians are amazing individuals – who have a voice to make a difference and an impact. How lucky am I that I have chosen to be an Armenian and have been accepted with open arms!
Q: On the Autistic Community:
One of the biggest challenges we believe centers around communication of Autistic children in the Armenian community. Most people are extremely uncomfortable talking about a disability of a child, especially in the Armenian community. The small window to make an impact around a child’s growth should not be blocked by fear or ego. If ChloeNickie can raise awareness and funds to change this narrative, then we are happy to be the ones to raise our voices and let the community know it is ok and here is how to help.