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Lincoln Club of Orange County Jul 1, 2022 10:07:45 AM 6 min read

Emerging Empowered On The Journey Toward Independence

Member Spotlight: Azita Guzzo

Orange County, CA - July 1 - Her flight was booked for September 12th, 2001. A religious refugee attempting to leave Iran, Azita Guzzo was heartbroken when her flight was canceled. Getting her Bachelors Degree in Software Engineering as a woman at Tehran Islamic Azad University in 2000 was no easy feat, and the discriminatory hurdles she faced looking for a career-type job after graduating could have discouraged her but instead it fueled her fire to immigrate to America and use her expertise to earn an honest living.

I never saw the U.S. before the events of September 11th,” Azita shared. Her immigration journey was delayed temporarily because of the attack on the twin towers but when she made it to America she was over the moon with glee. She began working as a Junior Database Programmer and admitted that she felt "like the richest woman on earth" with her starting salary, until she got her first paycheck.1-Jun-28-2022-07-43-33-44-PM
I was in a state of shock thinking ‘what is this,’ ‘what is Social Security,’ and ‘where is my money?’” said Azita when she discovered the sheer volume of taxes taken out of each American’s paychecks.

Azita confided in her coworkers who helped her learn more about the American tax system, among other parts of American civics that may not be communicated to immigrants studying for their citizenship test, like that President Lincoln–who freed the slaves–was actually a Republican. Azita explained that her coworker had asked her why she thought she was a Democrat and her response was that she liked democracy. He helped her learn more about Republican principles and she realized how many similarities there were between conservative American values and the ones she was raised with.

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Right when she became a U.S. citizen, Azita registered as a Republican and discovered her passion for politics, letting it develop as she explored her career in software. Having worked for years in the Big Tech industry, which is now under fire for censorship, Azita understood early on that the software world is freedom-focused in its essence.

If you compare the world of software engineering to any other engineering, we have a lot of freedom to do whatever we want,” she began. “I mean, people follow standards but it’s like the Wild West. No one can tell me to build things under a certain rule and since our industry is a free environment it’s really disappointing to see censorship.”

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Since the revolution in Iran took place when she was a baby, Azita is all too familiar with what happens when the government has too much say in what its people can and cannot vocalize. Her own aunt was imprisoned for four years after having spoken out against the government and her neighbor’s daughter was sexually assaulted and then executed.

These are the stories that every Iranian knows,” she explained. “Even now, many of my friends still living there have to use nicknames or aliases on social media so that no one can catch them speaking up about Iran. You always have that fear because there is a possibility of something bad happening to you.”

For these reasons, Azita is confidently outspoken on social media about her opinions, a freedom afforded to her by our First Amendment which should be protected at all costs.

Frankly, in the United States, I feel completely free,” Azita admitted. “I’m a little skeptical when people say they feel scared to talk in their work environment. Maybe you’ll lose your friend for happy hour or they won’t talk to you in the lunchroom, maybe Google will kick you out but there are many other jobs you can find. You won’t get arrested and you won’t get killed. I’m not scared of telling the world I’m a conservative because I’ve seen the worst of the worst.

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Azita has developed a personal sense of empowerment over the years becoming an American citizen and a professional sense of empowerment going from being a Junior Programmer in a small team to managing her own team of 30 engineers today as the Senior Vice President of Information Technology. Azita has also had the opportunity to patent an algorithm she co-invented with one of her longtime colleagues which developed a solution to optimize the process for workers compensation bill review.

Her husband, Joe Guzzo, has been with her every step of the way ever since they met at one of Azita’s first jobs in database programming for a transportation company that Joe served as the VP of Finance at the time.

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Joe has been my greatest mentor in life and career,” she began. “He taught me how to negotiate, ask for more money and not be scared of changing jobs when there was no room for me to grow.”

One day while perusing the internet, Azita came across the Lincoln Club brand name and inquired about membership to take part in activities geared toward protecting the state Azita fell in love with once she made it to America.

I know many people are leaving California, but I am done running,” she admitted, “I fled my beloved city and country twice in life, so I’d like to stay and save California and the nation by helping to get more conservatives elected. I love this country with all of my heart.

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