Mahnaz Rashti, D.D.S.
Dr. Mahnaz Rashti DDS
Born in Iran as the youngest of seven children to a Jewish family, Mahnaz’s parents could not read and worked in factories to take care of their family. Due to civil and political unrest, several of her family members emigrated from Iran to the United States in the 1980s. Arriving in New York City, Mahnaz was afforded the American dream through government aid and support, enabling her to graduate from The College of Dentistry of New York University in 1994. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Los Angeles, California to complete her dental residency at the Los Angles Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, where her life was profoundly altered.
Treating patients who had experienced the lasting effects of war built a commonality between the Veterans’ lives and her upbringing in Iran. They both witnessed horrific sites and experiences that they were able to share with each other, providing a therapeutic refuge Mahnaz never forgot or took for granted in her five years at the VA. Having worked with Veterans, these personal encounters provided Mahnaz a new perspective on what the American Dream really stands for and the sacrifice it entails. It is a vantage point she has never forgot and now can truly give back to Veterans as well as America who have given so much to her as a periodontist and specialty dentist in Southern California.
“I’m involved with Smiling Veterans to help other Veterans receive dental services since Vets don’t get services paid for after six months of being discharged.”
Keith Sanders, Navy Veteran and Board Member, Smiling Veterans
Board of Directors
Having previously served as a Governing Board Member of the Beverly Hills School Board from 2009-2018 and elected President of the Board twice, Lisa Korbatov has also been active servant leader as a Board member with the Downtown Property Owners Association in the Los Angeles Fashion District. She also served on the Board with the Israel Grants Fund, a Trustee with the Jewish Community Foundation as well as a Senate Club Member with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Appointed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Lisa served as a Los Angeles County Commissioner on the Quality and Productivity Commission. As a stalwart supporter of higher education, Lisa served on the Board of Directors for USC Hillel and the Jewish Education Trade School (JETS) in Granada Hills, California. In 2013, Lisa was honored with the “Legacy of Hope” award by Chai Lifeline, a charity that supports and nurtures children afflicted with life-threatening illnesses. That same year, she joined the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America’s Western Los Angeles County Council and was honored with their “Distinguished Citizen Award” for her commitment to the educational advancement of the young community in 2015. Lisa has been married to Igor Korbatov Esq. since 1985 and they have three beautiful daughters, Lauren, Anna Bella (Baruch Nutovic) and Elizabeth.
A student activist, Benjamin Rashti was born and raised in Southern California. Honored to be affiliated with Smiling Veterans, Benjamin is passionate about the nonprofit’s mission. As Americans, we need to do a better job when it comes to taking care of our Veterans. These brave men and women have done so much for our country, but shortly after being discharged, they do not receive the same dental services. Being a younger person, I want to shine a light on this and other Veteran issues for my generation. That way, I can help do my part to give our amazing Veterans the care they deserve. When Benjamin is not advocating for Veterans or studying physics, math, and business to become a biomedical engineer, he enjoys tennis and is an accomplished musician playing the drums, piano, and guitar.
Fred Rashti was born in Tehran, Iran. Following the Persian Revolution, he moved to Italy and then to the United States on April 11, 1979, a day he refers to as his “real” birthday. Studying mechanical drafting at ORT University in Iran, he pursued business opportunities in America working in the jewelry and restaurant industries. Following his marriage to Dr. Mahnaz Rashti, Fred manages the back office for the dental practice and partners with real estate developers on several projects. Smiling Veteran is extremely vital to Fred because America opened its arms to his family. By helping Veterans, this is his greatest way to give back to Veterans as a former refuge and to show appreciation to the United States.
Recently retired from the Los Angeles Veterans Administration (VA) as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Keith Sanders brings invaluable knowledge about Veterans’ quality of life since his work focused on helping homeless Veterans. A Navy man, Keith spent two years in active duty and four years in the reserves before a successful career in the computer technology industry. In 2010, he came to the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles to support his fellow brothers and sisters. Born in South Bend, Indiana and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Keith moved to Los Angeles during his preteen years. A graduate of Crenshaw High School, he enjoys building his limousine service, sports fishing in Ventura and taking great care of his two “kids” – Olaf and Kalee- Maltese poodles.
Smiling Veterans Brand Ambassadors
Dr. Armando Lira Pineda
Dr. Armando Lira Pineda is an Internist by training, from Caracas – Venezuela. He has an established career of over a decade in the pharmaceutical industry. He is currently a Medical Director of Clinical Research at Amgen Inc. His focus is late-stage cardiovascular drug development. Previously, while living on the East Coast, he worked in drug development roles in other pharmaceutical companies with Merck and Novartis. He has been living in Los Angeles, California for the last 5 years. When he’s not busy developing drugs, he is enjoying various fitness activities at the gym or at any of the multiple outdoors options the city of Los Angeles has to offer. He is also an avid traveler.
GARY J. DEMPSEY
A self-described L.A boy, Gary’s family opened an inn and Fish ’n Chips shop in Los Angeles when they first arrived here from Scotland several generations ago. From playing baseball in Burbank, to eating tacos in Korea Town (Chato’s Taco Truck is his favorite), to pub-crawling in DTLA or biking on the Santa Monica Beach, Gary knows Southern California inside and out. A professional entrepreneur, Gary opened his own brokerage, Dempsey Real Estate, in 2012 and joined forces with Harcourts Hunter Mason Realty in 2018. He approaches his work not just as a realtor, but as an entrepreneur, Gary is also a finance coach and a loan specialist. When Gary isn’t “entrepreneur-ing”, you might find him traveling the world with his wife Yvette and their family and friends. Gary is also an avid volunteer for city projects, sporting events and patriotic causes.
Born in Germany the youngest of four children, Nadia Habibi quickly achieved the title of VP of Administration at a prestigious German financial institution before beginning a new career with her own marketing firm. Moving to Southern California in 2017 to round out her professional acumen, she became the VP of Marketing for Advantage Gold Partners. In this role, she oversees all marketing efforts for the company and is an independent, licensed financial professional. Coming to the United States has enabled Nadia to experience the American dream and expand her business knowledge. In her spare time, Nadia uses her marketing and social media expertise to support medical professionals and startups in expanding their online footprint. Having two business management degrees in Applied Sciences for Economics and Management from FOM University, Nadia is fluent in four languages. Beyond business, Nadia enjoys exercising and exploring all this country has to offer.
An Airforce Veteran who served from 2001 to 2004 during Operation Enduring Freedom immediately following 9/11, Max Archer enjoyed volunteering with the Airmen Against Drunk Driving while enlisted. Currently an electrician with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), Max now helps keep our lights on in our community. A father of three to Max, Jr. 10, Calvin, 6, and Juniper, 4, when he is not spending time with his beautiful kids, he is target shooting and participating in charities that include riding his motorcycle. Proud to serve Smiling Veterans, Max wants to help others receive the services the nonprofit offers to help improve his military comrades’ appearances and confidence.
A 20-year veteran in the art and design space, Angel is currently the Project Manager for the Television Academy’s design team, where he coordinates the scheduling and execution of the Academy’s design needs for various events and programs. Prior to working at the Television Academy, Angel held a successful career working as a Design Project Manager for ITP Strategic, Inc., where clients included Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai and KIA. He has also worked as a Set Design Manager on photo shoots for editorial clients including Vanity Fair, The Oprah Magazine, Life & Style and Shape. Throughout his career in project management, Angel pursues his interest in art, both personally and professionally, including work as an artist for Disney Parks – California Adventure, where he helped paint the largest ceramic mural in the world, and Tokyo Disney Seas, where he worked as a ceramicist on the Little Mermaid castle. Angel began his career as a Design & Motion Graphics Coordinator at Picture Mill, where he helped prepare graphic materials for television and theatrical releases, including the films War of the Worlds, Dream Girls and Mission Impossible. He is a graduate of Otis College of Art & Design, where he earned his B.F.A. in Digital Multimedia Design.
Making major moves by entertaining people from all backgrounds, Chuey Martinez is no stranger to the spotlight. Growing up in East LA Martinez launched his career at the age of 16 and 9 years later joined L. A’s #1 Hit music station 102.7 KIIS FM while simultaneously being an on-air talent on iHeartRadio, and Sirius XM. As his popularity increased on the radio, Chuey’s resume grew when he was invited to be the LA correspondent for MTV’s affiliate MTV Tr3s in 2007, the first bilingual MTV station. His next venture came in 2012 becoming the host of “All You Can Meat” on the Travel Channel along with being a regular contributor to ESPN and ESPN Deportes. With so much on his plate already Chuey is taking on a new endeavor creating his own production company “Chumongous Productions” for the development of film, TV, and music projects.
A self-made entrepreneur, financial consultant, and trainer, Maryam Rasouli is an insurance marketing executive and founder of Advantage Gold Partners to help start-ups and small businesses with their financial and insurance needs. Maryam’s passion to serve others truly came about after her personal experience losing everything working for a mortgage company during the financial crisis in 2008. Since then, Maryam’s mission has been to learn from these obstacles to create an organization that develops smart savers who are financially independent and secure for life. Born in Germany, Maryam has become a renowned international training expert on insurance and financial coaching. When Maryam is not traveling the globe, she thoroughly enjoys exercising to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Rebecca Rashti brings a fresh perspective as a creative high school student wise beyond her years. A natural do-gooder, Rebecca is passionate about Smiling Veteran to ensure the men and women that have kept America safe are being taken care of. In the future, Rebecca’s goal is to become a physician to make sure all people are healthy and happy. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis, and traveling.
Olivia Nelson is a music event producer with a background in marketing and brand strategy, and she is passionate about innovation and outside-of-the-box thinking. Originally from New Jersey, Olivia has spent the last few years on the West Coast and loves living in Los Angeles. She is passionate about helping underserved communities and creating more empathy amongst others toward those communities. In addition to Smiling Veterans, Olivia is also involved with POPS (Pain of the Prison System) the Club, a school-based nonprofit based in Los Angeles that provides a sense of community for students who have been affected by mass incarceration and/or deportation.
Smiling Veterans Dental Network
Known as the Smiling Veterans Dental Network, these dental professionals donate their time, expertise, and services in Southern California partnering closely with Smiling Veterans. These specialists provide a rich level of care and resources needed to solve Veterans dental concerns.
Our Smiling Veterans Dental Network has been fully vetted, qualified and upholds the core values of Smiling Veterans. The professionals offer substantial discounts to Smiling Veterans to ensure our mission can be accomplished and we can serve as many Veterans as possible. If you are interested in participating in our Smiling Veterans Dental Network, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and a Smiling Veterans representative will follow up regarding your interests.
Smiling Veterans Volunteers
Thank you for reaching out to volunteer. Please fill out this short online form expressing your interest in volunteering with Smiling Veterans. Your support can change a Veteran’s life in our community. We will respond within 24 hours to get you involved as quickly as possible.