Shayda’s path to challenge corporate power began at birth. As an Iranian American, she was exposed to social injustice and international politics early on. “My parents raised me with a deep awareness of American imperialism, which is deeply interlaced with corporate power,” she explains.
When she studied in Ecuador, she witnessed the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples in the Amazon by transnational oil corporations. Determined to be part of creating change, she worked at the Indian Law Resource Center, supporting Indigenous governments and communities in their struggles for justice, rights, and sovereignty. In this role, she partnered with Indigenous peoples to advance international legal recognition of their rights, and exert pressure on corporations and international financial institutions undermining those rights.
All these experiences led her to Corporate Accountability, where she began as a researcher and campaigner for the water campaign in 2011. For six years, Shayda directed Corporate Accountability’s international water campaign, leading our successful campaigning to push the World Bank to divest from global water privatizers, and founding a joint campaign with Environmental Rights Africa (now Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa) and Public Services International to advance water justice across Africa.
Today, she leads the movement power program, which she founded to help build the power and capacity of liberatory social movements beyond Corporate Accountability’s issue-based campaigns. Through this work, Shayda partners with allies in the U.S. and across the globe to strengthen and connect social movements challenging corporate power, advance collective campaigning, and move resources to the frontlines. In this position, she played a foundational role supporting the creation of the Black Collective and the Movement Solidarity Fund.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences from Rice University and a master’s in political science from the University of Chicago. And if you hear someone singing beautiful renditions of early 90’s R&B songs around campaign headquarters, you know that’s Shayda.
Shayda speaks Spanish, English, and conversational Farsi.