Ahmed Younis

May 14, 2014

Adjunct Professor at Chapman University, College of Educational Studies, Writer, Former Senior Analyst at Gallop

1. If you had to begin a different career, what would you do?
Hotel Manager. It allows you to engage with people in epic experiences. Vacations, work trips to different countries; it allows you to be in a nice environment all day, and wear nice suits as a core component of your engagements. It allows you to build images that people can hold onto for a very long time as part of their identity and relationship development. Traveling and eating are very important to my life, and in another life I would definitely go into Hotel Restaurant Management.

2. What’s your most prized possession?
I think I would say my American passport. The fact that my parents came as immigrants to America, and I’ve been to many countries that I could not go to countries if it weren’t for an American passport. American citizenship gives us global currency and allows us to see realities in all corners of the earth that need to be changed and engage with people who want to see them change.

3. Favorite drink?
Sugar cane juice. In Egypt and a lot of countries in the global south, sugar cane grows like weeds and its use is varied, but there is a machine where you can put the stock of sugar cane into one end of the machine and on the other end comes out the sugar cane juice. My second favorite drink would have to be Guarana from Brazil.

4. What are you most proud of?
My ability to roll with the punches. I find myself gravitating toward experiences that give me fulfillment and excitement. Changing places, jobs, environments allows me to thrive. I am proud of my versatility and malleability. That comes with a strong support system. Finding a way to grind through hardship.

5. Fantasy purchase?
The Los Angeles Lakers.

6. What can’t you live without?
Freedom. I’ve lived in countries where you don’t have the freedom to say what you believe, or to write what you feel politically, you don’t have the freedom to participate in the public square. I’ve actually been in realities where my inhibited freedom led to a great deal of frustration. I can’t live without the freedom to speak and the freedom to act or the freedom to live without the ability to pursue what I believe is right.

7. What’s next on your “to do” list?

8. Biggest regret?
I think part of me regrets growing up in the public sphere. I’ve been giving talks since I was 15 and 16, and from 16-25 those years you are really just on a journey to understand who you are and I did a lot of that in a public sphere on a microphone or on a TV screen, and I think the biggest regret of my life, even though it gave me the 10,000 hours to be one of the best at it, is having succeeded in something I always wanted. I regret most growing on screen and on stage. Then again it was my greatest blessing. It allowed me to grow honestly. A more private developmental experience might have led to the development of a different person.

9. Cause that you’re most interested/involved in?
People believing in themselves. People believing in their own capacity to achieve things, and people believing in their own capacity to change the reality they live or the reality around them. That is the only reason I am here, the only reason I got out was because I did what I wanted to do. Most of the people that I meet have no clue how powerful and brilliant they are, and I think part of that is a function of the society that we live in, part of it is a function of being in this part of America at this moment in history, but I think the thing that matters to me the most is your perception of yourself.

10. Your dream day in Orange County?
It would start with a helicopter ride from Santa Ana, over to Pelican Hill, and then play a round of golf, 18 holes, have lunch at the Coliseum half way through, and have dinner on a duffy in Newport Harbor. Me and my amazing wife, Yasmine.

11. Favorite place for breakfast
Schooner or Later in Long Beach on the harbor.

12. What was the best day of your life?
The day I realized I could hit my driver consistently regardless of circumstance.

13. Last concert that you went to?
Damian Marley, Ziggy Marley, and Stephen Marley at the Hollywood Bowl. I was invited by Omar Offendum, the great rapper and poet, and we had an amazing night a few months ago.

14. Favorite vacation spot?
Lake Cuomo, Bellagio, Italy.

15. If you had to live somewhere else, where would you like to move?
Washington DC. Washington is the Paris of America. It is a gorgeous city. I have a love affair with DC.

16. Favorite books?
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire because it’s a book about the spirit and its ability to revolt against the unjust.
The Tao of the Wu by the Rza – a brilliant and poetic account of philosophies that gave rise to the Wu Tang Clan.

17. Favorite restaurants in Orange County?
Panini Café, Fig & Olive, Bodhi Tree, but I think my favorite restaurant in OC is definitely Open Sesame in the LBC.

18. Biggest accomplishment?
Going from being a young adult to an adult, which was turning off the underdog narrative tape on replay, and turning on a tape that related to being a part of the solving class. Decreasing my sense of what was owed to me, right and wrong, justice and injustice, and things that young people are very consumed with, and moving to a place where I am a part of finding solutions and being in a place where I can try and find third options of doing things. My biggest accomplishment has been moving from someone that opinionates to somebody that solves.

19. What’s your biggest fear?
Not fully actualizing. Either by choice or by distraction.

20. Secret most people don’t know about you?
My spirit requires a lot of upkeep. A lot of people see me as someone who is positive and is helping them to be positive, and I think there is an assumption that that comes easily or that but requires hard work. It is difficult for me to explain that this posture requires maintenance and requires people telling me that I am able or capable of succeeding. I think what a lot of people don’t know about me is that I have a heavy reliance on people in my inner circle: my wife, my brother, my parents, my friends, and all of our extended family that helps me keep the positivity and keeps the train moving so others have the opportunity to jump on it. I think in many ways I am a mirror of what is at home or what I interact with.



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Since 1993, Greer has been writing about fashion, dining and trends in Orange County, as a popular columnist for the Los Angeles Time Community Newspapers (Daily Pilot, Coastline Pilot and HB Independent) and now as founder of Greer’s OC.

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