Somi Arian is a tech philosopher, award-winning filmmaker, author, entrepreneur, and a LinkedIn-Top-Voice in the UK. With a background in philosophy of science and technology, Somi describes her role in society as a 'Transition Architect'. As humans merge with technology, and society enters a new phase of human evolution, Somi works on frameworks to address the challenges ahead.
Somi’s documentary, “The Millennial Disruption”, has won three international awards.
Somi is the founder of Smart Cookie Media, a modern-day Digital Marketing firm for thought-leaders. She is also the co-founder of Career Drive, an online platform that uses entertainment to teach emotional intelligence, and an investor and advisory board member of NuroKor Bioelectronics, an exciting wearable technology startup.
Why I became a Transition Architect
It is often said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Growing up in war-riddled Tehran during the Iran/Iraq war, I learned how to be the transition architect of my own life at an early age. Growing up in the middle of war and deprivation, change came fast, all the time, so I had to learn to adjust to the different situations life threw my way.
Transition Architects are people that possess a high level of flexibility, and that are able to twist and turn in every way to adjust to any circumstance. They are people that get back up before they fall, don’t get easily discouraged by failure, and are grounded, accepting their reality as it is and pivoting where needed.
In my case, I did not plan to become an expert transitioner, but my life journey sure has allowed me to sharpen these skills.
At the age of 17, I had already taught myself how to speak English and had secured a job as a tour guide. But, after the events of 9/11, tourism stopped in the country and I was again left to fend for myself. I figured it out, found a way to pay for my studies, and a year later got a job in the Netherlands Embassy in Tehran; thanks to the Dutch ambassador who believed in me and changed my life. From there, I went on to work for the United Nations and eventually made the move to the United Kingdom in 2005.
When I arrived in the UK, I had no connections and no family. Naturally, I struggled to find my footing. My biggest disappointment came when I could no longer afford paying for my studies at St. Andrew’s University, and had to hand in my thesis and opt out of my PhD, graduating instead with an MPhil.
I moved to London with nothing but a suitcase and two masters degrees in Political Theory and Philosophy of Science, which at the time felt useless. But I had to continue transitioning. I worked in a restaurant until I was able to land a job in TV, after I self-taught myself how to film and edit. Transitioning allowed me to become a filmmaker. At this new position, I went on to become a multi-award winning senior producer/director and was later able to launch my own video production company (now a full solution marketing firm).
I didn’t finish my PHD but my research-driven approach has allowed me to work with businesses across the globe and give talks about my experience across marketing, HR and the future of work.
Although I’ve managed to work with uncertainty, life always finds a way to throw a few curve balls. This time it came in the shape of the COVID19 pandemic, which made my business lose thousands in contracted work, and once again made me need to adjust my sails to navigate this new normal both personally, and for my clients.
I first introduced the concept of Transition Architect in my book Career Fear (And how to beat it) which was released in 2020. Due to the accelerated pace of Digital Transformation and AI, I suggested it as a title for a new role in society and in the Business and Career Landscape that would come in the new future. I argue that with all the changes that would arise, we would need professionals to help us adapt constantly and rapidly. These people would be tech-savvy yet emotionally intelligent, and have a solution-focused attitude.
In the book, I predicted these changes would take place along the next decade, or two, but with the pandemic, I realized that these events have already started to take place now, and most of us were not even near ready. I had to become a Transition Architect, helping my clients with their digital transformation and thought leadership building. I have worn many hats, becoming a sort of mentor, psychologist, and business coach, in addition to helping people with their content, and digital transformation in their marketing and HR.
Having an established business does not mean I have set an end to transition. In light of how Covid-19 has further threatened women’s role in the work landscape, I was inspired to help other females transition into better positions. With the goal of raising women’s socioeconomic status with the aid of technology, during the pandemic, I began to plan and execute the Women in Business and Technology Think Tank, with its accompanying platform, FemPeak.AI, born from my dream of seeing women in the top tier of business and technology.
The Think Tank includes quarterly conferences with industry leaders in 3-minute lightning talks, Clubhouse sessions where members discuss varying subjects and can network, and a series of podcasts interviews with different thinkers and entrepreneurs from across the globe.
The second part of this initiative, the FemPeak.AI platform is a space in which to bring the solutions discussed in the Think Tank conferences to life. These verticals aim to address:
- confidence building
- increasing knowledge of technology
- financial literacy & wealth generation
- leadership and entrepreneurial skills
- family, relationship, and child care
The lack of female perspective in the top tier of business and technology has never been more in the spotlight, and this idea aims to bring together academics, industry leaders, and thinkers from all over the world to brainstorm on how to change this narrative. The verticals explained above are crucial for women’s success.
My new objective is to use the skills that made me the transition architect of my life, to now redefine the historical narrative of women’s role in technology, business, and society at large.