Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans .

Nazie Eftekhari, Founder and CEO, The Araz Group

Ms. Eftekhari is an innovator devoted to serving people and advocating for their rights.

She is the founder of the Araz Group and the CEO and principal architect of HealthEZ, a Minneapolis-based company providing services designed to simplify health plan administration for employers and to eliminate the complexities in the health care billing and payment process. The beneficiaries of HealthEZ's services include consumers and their employers, health care providers, insurers and third-party administrators.

Prior to founding HealthEZ in 1997, Ms. Eftekhari earned national recognition in 1982 for designing the nation's first Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). The term PPO was coined to describe her innovation, which brings together doctors, hospitals and other health providers to form a network in order to negotiate and provide services at attractive rates in return for the opportunity to serve the clients of an insurer or third-party administrator.

Passionate about human rights, Ms. Eftekhari established the Foundation for the Children of Iran (FCI), the nation’s first nonprofit established by an Iranian-American after the Iranian Revolution of 1979.  An organization dear to her heart, FCI has been dedicated since 1991 to enabling indigent children from Iran or of Iranian origin to receive health care services in the United States that are not available to them in Iran.
 Ms. Eftekhari also serves on the Board of Overseers of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, the board of the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), and the Directors Board of the Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy (NID).  She is additionally a member of Speaker Pelosi's Cabinet Leadership Circle and is a founding member of the Yalda Network: Mothers and Others for Iran.

Often recognized for her leadership in business and service to the community, Ms. Eftekhari received the 2011 International Immigrant Achievement Award from The International Leadership Institute.  Her accomplishments and contributions have also been recognized through numerous awards including “Woman of the Year” by the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, “A Twin Cities' Woman Changemaker” by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, “Small Business Person of the Year”, the “Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights Award” and the “Woman of Distinction Award”.  HealthEZ has been named a Top 100 Workplace by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Araz Group has been cited by City Business as one of the region's top 25 women-owned businesses.

Ms. Eftekhari is a graduate of the London School of Economics and holds master's degrees in International Relations from the University of Southern California (UK) and in Health Care Administration from the University of Minnesota. She has a son, Sahm McGlynn, and a daughter, Raz McGlynn, who are unabashedly her pride and joy.