A Hybrid of Sorts…
That’s the first line we used to describe what we were looking for in an Inbound Marketing Consultant. After meeting Arvin Sepehr, describing him as a hybrid feels like an understatement.
Born in Northeastern Iran, Arvin and his family fled to Turkey after his father’s life was threatened for being a Pastor. “Two of our pastors had already been murdered, and it looked like my dad was next,” he says it in passing, as though this is a story he’s told several times before.
Iran, Turkey, Cyprus, New York…Tulsa? Tulsa. After what seemed like endless moving for several years, Arvin went from Northeastern Iran to Northeastern Oklahoma. We sat down recently to discover how this hybrid of sorts found his way to NovSun and what he looks forward to accomplishing with us.
NOVSUN: What were some of your first jobs growing up?
ARVIN SEPEHR: I actually wasn’t allowed to have a job until I finished high school. My parents would always hold up my report card and say, “This. This is your job.” (He quotes his parents in a thick Persian accent.) But the summer before I went to college, I started a job at a hotel.
What’d you do there?
Everything. I cleaned rooms. Room service. Made coffee. Checked people in and out, all while wearing this disgusting puke-green vest. They let me keep it after I quit. I think they made us wear those so guests would feel bad for us and be nice when they needed more towels.
Why’d you quit?
I had the chance to travel to Haiti a couple years after their big earthquake to build a school building, so I lost the vest.
How did you know you wanted to become an Inbound Marketing Consultant?
It wasn’t until I sat down with Andy, to be honest. Hearing him describe the type of person he was looking for made me think this was something I’d enjoy. I studied communications in college, so I felt the breadth of that major was applicable to just about any job where people have to work together—so I think I can be helpful here.
NovSun is located in downtown Tulsa at 36 Degrees North. How have you liked being a part of the co-working space?
It’s pretty remarkable. I’m surrounded by all these kind, impressive people. There’s an energy to it. I often feel overwhelmed by their coolness. I feel like I snuck into the cool kids’ secret laboratory.
Speaking of being around the cool kids, what was it like growing up in Oklahoma as a Persian Immigrant?
During the early years, perhaps up until I was in high school, I just always felt different no matter where I was. There were plenty of fellow Iranians around me, but to them I came across as American. And to my American friends, I was Iranian. I was always both and neither—so I just tried to figure out how to be Arvin.
You pronounced Iranian like “Eye-Rain-ian” when you referenced your American friends. Is that the wrong way to say it?
Yes, haha. It’s pronounced “Ih-Ron” like the way you start the word “Idiot.” “Eye-Ran” sounds like a sentence where you tell me what you did for a workout this morning.
Glad we cleared that up. Now that you’re at NovSun, what are you looking forward to accomplishing most?
There’s a lot I’d like to learn. I’m very curious, constantly wondering about how messages are transferred through various mediums. The pros and cons of the things we build in the name of communication, social media platforms, things like that. I’ve discovered there can be an art form to marketing, so I’m following Andy around trying to see what gems I can procure from him, haha. I guess what I’m looking forward to most is learning about our clients, getting to know them, and helping make the time we spend in our careers be worthwhile and fun.
You mentioned the pros and cons of things we build. What do you mean by that?
Oh boy, that’s a box full of several cans of worms. I guess I just mean the why behind using technology is just as, if not more important than our how. I’m all about using machines to do things efficiently, but I’m 23 and I’ve been weirded out by how many friends I’ve lost to phone screens when we’re all together. I’m somewhat of an old curmudgeon toward technology when it’s a barrier to human interaction rather than a platform for it.
Your job requires lots of writing. How did you become a writer?
It wasn’t something I set out to do. I became an avid reader first, but writing has been something I observed in my family. I grew up watching my parents write almost every night. Aside from being a Pastor, my dad is a poet back in Iran, so I’ve grown up loving words, reading, writing, all of it. I did it because I enjoyed it. Over time, it evolved into something that was useful and could help others.
Speaking of helping others, you mentioned your trip to Haiti, do you go on these trips often?
Somewhat. I got really lucky with my family. Both my parents and my older sister have been ahead of the curve when it comes to being a “ministry-family.” We always prioritized our family and didn’t feel deprived by what our parents were doing for a living. Their ministry stuff seemed to always catapult us around the world together, so I’ve grown up grateful. When we got older, we started taking trips on our own. Haiti happened when a friend called me and said, “Hey, we’re going to Haiti in two weeks. You coming?”
Wow. Do trips always happen like that?
Hahaha, don’t be nervous! I’m much more organized these days. I planned ahead for 8 months before taking a team to Burkina Faso. I don’t do these things flippantly.
Cool. We wouldn’t want you disappearing on us.
That won’t be a problem. Just don’t make me wear a green vest.