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Mia Asrari, DDS, MS

Featured Article

Sparking Inspiration

Finding Inspiration in the People Around Us

Article by MacKenzie Belley

Photography by Elaine Kessler and Provided

Originally published in Gilbert City Lifestyle

Being an inspiration is hard work. Much of the time, those who truly inspire us the most have no idea they are even doing it. That’s what makes them so inspiring. In a world where every moment has to be put on Facebook or Instagram for a public pat on the back, it is hard to find people who are truly altruistic. These inspiring people are putting in the hard work day after day, and they never seem to complain or ask for recognition because for them, seeing the positive change they are making in others’ lives is enough. 

We thought of the people in our lives who inspire us to be better—better friends, better neighbors, better family—just all-around better people to those around us, not for the praise but for our souls. 

We’ve chosen a few special members of the Gilbert community who inspire us, who do for others even when no one is looking, and we hope they will inspire you too.

Name: Jenn Daniels

Business/Organization: Town of Gilbert

Who are you? Mayor, Town of Gilbert 

Jenn also serves on many regional boards including the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council, the Regional Transportation Policy Committee and the League of Cities and Towns. Jenn is wife to Eric and mom to four kids spanning high school to elementary school who keep their parents busy with football, dance, music, scouting and friends. She knows all the words to '80s rap songs and loves to hike, dance, read and bake.

 What inspires you?

"My kindergarten teacher, Ms. Goldflam, asked me to please stop whining. (Difficult to envision, I know.) My response has been retold to me several times —part of our family legends. 'I’m not whining, Ms. Goldflam, this is my normal voice.' I’m sure it took restraint (and aspirin) to endure that year. I’ve added a few decades to my life, and I realize the importance of having a voice and in being a voice for others. I’m inspired by the people who advocate, support, encourage and love even when it’s difficult—especially when it’s difficult. The inspiration comes as I see a victim advocate give a voice to one who has been harmed or when the youth of Gilbert come together to support a friend with a traumatic brain injury or when the Gilbert Girlfriends rally around a woman who has just been diagnosed with cancer. As we use our voices—even the whiny ones—to hear, see, value and understand each other, an amazing transformation takes place. I’ve witnessed it over and over again, and I’m inspired by the people in our community who lift their voices for others."

Name: Emily Staples

Business: FASTSIGNS of Gilbert

Who are you? Owner of FASTSIGNS of Gilbert

She is a member of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, where she serves as an ambassador and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors. She enjoys serving in her church, bowling, playing softball and watching her daughter play volleyball. 

Who inspires you?

"To inspire means to influence or spur on and or affect one to do or feel something. Many times, we look to those past and present that have influenced us throughout our lives to help us arrive at where we are today. So, who inspires me? This was an easy but not so simple question to answer. As I have ventured through this thing called life, many people have inspired me at different points in time. To all those that I have crossed paths with, each person has inspired me in some way or another. Question is, who do I inspire each and every day through my words and actions?"

Name: Elaine Kessler

Business: Elaine Kessler Photography

Who are you? Photographer, Gilbert’s 2019 Business Woman of the Year

"I am a graduate of the MA in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership Program at Arizona State University. I also completed graduate work in Southeast Asian Studies and Performance Studies at ASU, receiving both the highest scholar’s honor and the Alexander Astin Spirituality Award. I taught in the Asian Pacific American Studies Program as well as in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. I own and operate Elaine Kessler Photography, LLC, and direct Created Equal Trigger Exhibits."

 Who inspires you?

"Ask any mixed-race individual, and they will tell the story of what it is to be a pioneer. When you are a minority within your own home, you learn to lead and you learn to negotiate. I have found inspiration in the stories of other mixed-race and mixed-heritage artists and, like them, I’ve been able to rally my beliefs and my endeavors to align with my passions. Cherrie Moraga, Maria Campbell and Gloria Anzaldua, mixed-race writers, were sources of inspiration as I learned to navigate my mixed-ness in a world ofttimes hostile to the ambiguous. They each explore the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality in their work and are some of my biggest heroes. They capture the essence of complicated human experiences and make them accessible through their beautiful and candid writing. I hope to achieve the same in my artistic expressions."

Name: Mia Asrari, DDS, MS

Who are you? Dr. Mia Asari is a board-certified endodontist who serves as vice president of the Arizona Endodontic Association, president of the Arizona Academy of Endodontics and diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics.  Dr. Asrari founded Asrari Endodontics in Gilbert and Precision Endodontics in Tempe to serve patients with distinctive quality and unsurpassed comfort.

Who inspires you?

"What an opportunity it is to publicly recognize those who inspire us! I am fortunate to have crossed paths with so many amazing people that have inspired me to believe in my dreams and accomplish more than even I thought possible. Most of these remarkable individuals have been teachers. Teachers are more than just educators who share knowledge; they are coaches, guides, motivators, confidants and counselors. They are visionaries who see in us a greater potential and speak into us ideas that we can achieve the impossible. Teachers pull out of us things we didn’t know we had. It takes quiet dedication to wake up every morning and teach—waiting years, if not decades, to realize the fruit of your labors. So, to all of my teachers, I say 'thank you.' Your efforts did not go unnoticed or unappreciated."

Name: Jacqueline S. Fine-Breger

Business: Fine Breger Insurance Agency, LLC – Farmers Insurance

Who are you? "Like most women today, I am multi-faceted. I own the Farmers Insurance Agency on Gilbert and Elliot and am a single mom to three incredible daughters. I can be both spontaneous and structured, outgoing and reserved, a social butterfly or happy hanging at home. To me, life is a series of opportunities, and we either grab them or they pass us by. I love helping people and keeping people safe."

Who inspires you? 

"After much thought, I can honestly say every person I interact with inspires me. I inevitably learn something significant from each interaction I have with my family, friends and clients. Life is a series of lessons; I try to identify the lesson bestowed upon me, and I attempt to absorb it and infuse it into who I am and who I aspire to be. Every person, no matter their age, gender, religion, etc. has a story to tell, a life of experience and an opinion worth contemplating. Whether I am learning from other people’s experiences, their knowledge, their beliefs or the way they handle themselves in various situations, they each in their own way inspire me to learn and to grow."

  • Mia Asrari, DDS, MS
  • Elaine Kessler
  • Emily Staples
  • Jenn Daniels