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Feeling uninspired? He has words of wisdom to share

Alumni association board member Said Sariolghalam entrusted his education to Ohio State — he holds three degrees — and happily turns to his alma mater for social and service opportunities.

portrait of Said Sariolghalam

The alumni board’s Said Sariolghalam shares the philosophies and ideals that have made him a success. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo)

Ask alumni association board member Said Sariolghalam ’07, ’09 MPA, ’10 MPH about his Ohio State student experience, his work at Providence St. Joseph Health in Seattle or anything, really, and you will receive deeply thoughtful responses that immediately put a smile on your face.

“My Ohio State experience has been one of the most influential factors in shaping the person I am today. Ohio State has enriched my life for three main reasons: people, lifestyle and being part of something bigger than myself,” says Sariolghalam, who also is treasurer of the Seattle Alumni Club. “And now, having the honor of serving as a director on the OSUAA board continues to cultivate that perspective. With our 600,000 alumni all over the world, I think about how we can really harness the time, talent and treasure of the Buckeye community to improve our local communities.”

  • What guidance would you give to your younger self?

    Cherish every moment you have with people, because every experience is unique and can never be replicated. Also, advocate for yourself. It’s important that you are heard in respectful and meaningful ways.

  • What is your idea of success? 

    I love this question! When your presence can make those around you feel loved, heard and uplifted. You will be remembered for how you made people feel. And if you can make them genuinely feel these things, you’ve succeeded.

  • What do you consider your greatest personal achievement? Professional achievement?

    My greatest personal achievement is the relationships I have been able to cultivate throughout my life. I really value my relationships and the intentionality, depth and quality through which I approach them. My greatest professional achievement is still in the future. But thus far, it’s having had the opportunity to work for two institutions, Providence and the Government Accountability Office, that are big players in the world of performance improvement and accountability and health care. In my current role, I focus on enabling our leaders with analytic products that can improve the value equation, or highest quality of care at the lowest cost for the communities we serve.

  • Who are your heroes?

    My parents. I’ve been blessed to have two pairs of loving and supportive parents in my life: my biological parents and my surrogate parents. They all have played significant roles in influencing my journey, shaping the person I am today, and continue to do so. [Said was born in the United States. His biological parents are from Iran. Said lived with and met his surrogate parents in high school.] We have merged the families together, and they represent the best of human kindness and the good that exists in the world.

  • What’s your motto?

    Sorry, this is going to be more of a life philosophy. More listening and less talking. Be present. Be kind. Be curious. Remember that everyone is on their own unique journey, so don’t be surprised by people’s views. Let’s not treat views that are different from ours as wrong.

  • What do you do for fun?

    Spend time outdoors. The Pacific Northwest is the mecca of the outdoor world. I am very involved with a small local climbing club and, through this incredible community of outdoor enthusiasts and all-around good people, I’ve been lucky to have so many incredible and unforgettable experiences. I think watching the sunrise on top of Mount Rainier is one I’ll cherish forever. Thanks to my involvement, I have become very environmentally conscious and more of an environmentalist, which I love.

  • How did your Ohio State experience contribute to the person you are today?

    Being something bigger than myself — my Ohio State experience is the epitome of that. Being an RA in the residence halls. That role is so much about how you can support those around you to be uplifted and heard, and to navigate all the questions and decisions students have to make. And being part of Ohio Staters, Inc., is all about making the Ohio State experience more rich for the entire student body. I also was lucky enough to have two study abroad experiences, one to Europe and the other visiting countries in southern Africa, which exposed me to incredible people in the far corners of the world.

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