Board of Directors


Ali Jawad

Mr. Ali Jawad
CEO, Armada Oil & Gas Company

Ali Jawad is a leader and icon within his community. He founded the LAHC in Dearborn, Michigan. The group began as a way for men to stay active, involved, fit and informed. They would meet to play soccer and attend social events of cultural significance.

Ali Jawad saw greater potential for the LAHC. Amidst the largest Arab community in the nation, he saw a need for proper guidance of the youth. For that reason the LAHC specializes in helping the youth embrace both sides of their culture. They learn the rich history of their ancestors, as well as embracing the benefits of being an American.

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A major focus for the organization is the youth of the area regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. The LAHC offers a network of experienced adults who provide mentoring and tutoring programs geared to empower the youth by providing them with Leadership Skills, Diversity Education, College Access Education, Resume Building as well as empowering them to make a difference in their communities.

As a leading advocate of higher education, Ali Jawad’s began the Arab American Scholarship Foundation. To date, the foundation has provided over 1.5 million dollars in scholarships. This award goes out to students who show promise and talent. These potentially great individuals are given money towards proper higher education. The students would otherwise be financially unable to further develop themselves.

When not giving back to the community or mentoring the youth, Ali Jawad works as a prominent businessman. He is the co-owner and CEO of Armada Oil and Gas Company. Along with his long-time friend and partner, Allie Berry, they produce and provide countless barrels of oil every year. This lends stability and security to the industry as best they can. They have spent a long time working to build such a successful business.

Ali Jawad’s talents and abilities cannot be overstated. His presence in the world of business as well as his own community is highly valued. He prides himself on his ability to give so much of himself for the benefit of others.

helal-farhatThe Honorable Helal Farhat
Judge, Wayne County Circuit Court

Helal A. Farhat, Esq. is the principle attorney at Farhat & Associates, PLLC, a Dearborn based law firm that specializes in commercial and business litigation, criminal law, family law and immigration. Mr. Farhat attended Wayne State University Law school obtaining his Juris Doctor Degree in 2002. In private practice since his admittance to the bar, he has served numerous large, medium and small companies and individuals with legal issues from starting companies to complex business litigation. In addition to having served as a Magistrate Judge in the 19th District Court, being named president of the Dearborn Bar Association, being selected as a Super Lawyer by colleagues, Mr. Farhat is most proud of his pro bono work and giving back to his community.

Samuel Fawaz

Samuel Fawaz, MD.
Vice President
Assistant Professor of Medicine.Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

Dr. Sam Fawaz started his medical career after attending the University of Michigan and Ross University School of Medicine. His passion for education and lifelong learning led him to teach fellow lower classmen during both his undergraduate and graduate studies. After earning his M.D. with honors, he went on to specialize in Internal Medicine and join Beaumont Health System as faculty for the Internal Medicine residency program. He has served as adjunct faculty for Henry Ford Community College in the science department, and currently serves as Assistant Professor of Medicine at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, and Madonna University.

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Dr. Fawaz’s Internal Medicine practice is in the city of Beverly Hills, MI. He continues to serve as faculty for the Internal Medicine residency program at BeaumontHospital in Royal Oak. He serves on numerous committees and boards within his specialty and greater community at large. He is currently the president of National Arab American Medical Association-MI. He has earned many awards and accolades including Beaumont Health System Star Award, appeared as a medical consultant on various media outlets including NBC and Fox, and conducted various educational programs through local community channels and publications. Dr. Fawaz has an unwavering commitment to the greater good and giving back because of his belief in the notion that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Sam A. Salamey

The Honorable Sam Salamey
Immediate Past President
Chief Judge, 19th District Court

Born on September 2, 1959 and at the early age of 15, Sam sought work to support himself and to assist his father in providing for the family of eleven. Over the next 11 years, Sam pursued full time employment and schooling until he graduated with a Juris Doctorate in Law in 1985.

Sam started his first job in 1974 as a store clerk and within 2 years was promoted to general manager. In 1978, Sam resigned this position to take a job with the Dearborn Police Department as a police community relations officer for 2 years before leaving it to take the job as a vocational technician with the Dearborn Board of Education at Fordson High School.

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After graduating from law school in 1985, Sam immediately took a position as an Associate Attorney with the prestigious Law Firm of Berry, Hopson, Francis, Mack and Seifman. Within 3 years of joining the firm, Sam was promoted to a full partner position, the shortest time by an associate to become a partner. Sam served as a prosecuting attorney for the cities of Garden City and Romulus for about 8 years. In 1993 Sam was appointed to the bench of the 19th District Court in Dearborn as a Judicial Magistrate, a position he held for 14 years while continuing to practice law with the firm.

In 1999, Sam founded his own law firm and served as the president and Senior Attorney of the Law Firm of Salamey & Associates until 2007, when the firm became Salamey, Farhat & Associates. Sam continued to serve as the senior partner and managing member of the firm until 2012 when he ran and was elected to the bench of the Dearborn 19th District Court as a District Judge in a historic election unseating an elected incumbent judge by a landslide victory. Sam was named Chief Judge of the Court following the election and was again reappointed by the Michigan Supreme Court as the chief judge for a second term commencing in 2013.

Through the various positions held and the many life experiences encountered, Sam learned that in order to progress and advance, it is imperative to become positively and seriously engaged in the affairs of the community. As such, Sam joined many professional and community organizations and contributed time and resources to numerous community organizations including municipal boards such as the Dearborn Board of Ethics, where Sam served the community as the Chairman of the Dearborn Board of Ethics.

Sam has also served on the Board of many organizations, including

  • The Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC)
  • Arab American Center for Cultural, Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
  • Chairman of the Congress of Arab American Organizations
  • Bridges
  • Wayne County Homeland Security
  • President of the Lebanese American Heritage Club (LAHC)

Sam was recognized by all of the organizations that he served for his services and contributions and received many awards, including:

  • ADC’s National Young Leadership Award
  • Outstanding Leadership & Man of the Year Award by the Lebanese American Heritage Clubth
  • Named “Man of the Year” by the Bestway Magazine
  • Leadership Award by the “Forum & Link” Magazine
  • Outstanding Activism & Leadership award by the Arab American Political Action Committee

Sam has and continues to maintain active and serious engagement with the affairs of the community and remains committed to contribute to the goodwill and greatness of Dearborn and its residents and to the surrounding communities.

Hassan AhmadMr. Hassan Ahmad

Associate Broker- Remax Leading Edge
Remax Leading Edge

Hassan Ahmad, with high principles and dedication to the best of the REALTOR spirit, remains within the top brokers serving the real estate needs in the Tri-county area. Hassan is a passionate and market-savvy professional whose clients’ satisfaction and best interest are paramount. His desire to serve his clients particular needs, coupled with his market expertise, construction knowledge and superior negotiating skills, set him apart.

Mr. Ahmad is a proud graduate of Oakland University with a bachelor in Computer Engineering went on and finished his master program majoring in Business Administration with concentration in Global Management.  Building a career in Real Estate since 2002, Hassan has made a name for himself as a Realtor at Re/Max Leading Edge. In 2012, Hassan was inducted to the Re/Max Hall of Fame and has been serving as a Re/Max Ambassador to the Children Miracle Network. He has been a member of the Re/Max 100 % Club awardees since 2004.

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Hassan’s motivation to serve his fellow realtors and his community is absolute. Hassan was voted by the Dearborn Area Board of Realtors to serve as Director in 2016 and was appointed by the Mayor of Dearborn Heights to serve on the City of Dearborn Heights Tax Appeal board in 2017.

Contributing to Mr. Ahmad’s community comes in the form of volunteering his time and expertise to those in need. Through his director position he was able to volunteer in many programs such as Habitat for Humanity, Leaders Advancing & Helping Communities, Dearborn Fireman’s Burn Drive, Michigan Veterans Foundation and several other community based programs in and around his hometown.

Sam BaydounMr. Sam Baydoun
Wayne County Commissioner 

Associate Broker, Century 21 Curran & Christie

SAM BAYDOUN, an Associate Broker of Century 21 Curran & Christie, emanates the proud entrepreneurial spirit of America: his Liberty, his Freedom, his Opportunity. Celebrating his 31th year in the real estate business, 27 of which are punctuated with the highest Century 21 International awards, including induction into the Centurion Hall of Fame, Sam has consistently been honored by his Company for his Solo top sales production-without a team- and one clerical assistant.

Moreover, Sam has consistently ranked in the Top 5 within Century 21’s Great Lakes Region and in the Top 2% in the USA for the past three decades. While Sam’s career sales total is approaching 350 Million, more impressive is the fact that he was instrumental in over 1200 families realizing the American Dream within the past 5 years!

So committed to his industry, Sam served as Director and was elected President of The Dearborn Area Board of Realtors, not once, but TWICE within the past 20 years. Ultimately, Sam’s exemplary service to his Realtor constituents earned him coveted recognition as Realtor of The Year two separate times, in 2003 and 2016, something that has only happened five previous times in the History of the 90 year old organization.

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For nearly a decade, Sam has lead the local Realtor Organization as the Chairman of Government Affairs, which subsequently peaked his interest in political affairs and His support for RPAC, the Realtor Political Action Committee.

Throughout his career as a real estate ambassador, Sam’s business plan was brilliantly simple: SEE THE PEOPLE  Consequently, there has been but a rare important event in the lives of his friends, family and community that Sam has ever missed.

Sam immigrated to America from Lebanon at the age of 15, with 6 of his 8 siblings, in 1978. Sam assimilated into his new country via Fordson High School and his sports passion, Soccer, which he played competitively for many years. While he only recently traded his soccer cleats for serious walking shoes, Sam can be regularly seen walking several miles in Dearborn, with a group of fellas, where he may stop to snap a quick selfie with an old acquaintance, a famous local, or any of the forest’s wildlife that timidly greet them.

A determined student, Sam went on to complete two years at Henry Ford Community College, earning his Associates of Liberal Arts Degree, and then his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration/Marketing from Detroit College of Business, now known as Davenport University.

As he began to plant his roots as a newly Naturalized American-Arab, Sam married the love of his life, Ibtihal, in 1989 and together, they raised four children: Moe, who recently joined Sam in the real estate business as a licensed assistant; Ally, who is pursuing a law degree; Angela, who is studying education at U of M  and Lilliana, who at the delicate age of 12, already shares her father’s warm smile and tender heart.

Life has not been free of challenges for Sam. In July of 2016, just as Sam began to contemplate giving back to his community by pursuing a more active role in local politics, his wife fell critically ill following a reaction to a minor medical procedure, requiring round the clock care that Sam and his family provide.

Fiercely loyal, compassionate and principled with a dash of competitive ambition, Sam is the welcomed and honored friend that extends beyond the wingspan of his Community, and encompasses the Mayor of his beloved Dearborn, John O’Reilly, to the most recent of newlyweds.

Bob Curran, CEO of Century 21 Curran & Christie, fondly acknowledged,  “We are proud that Sam Baydoun has built a name and persona for himself and our firm that is respected and recognized throughout his city, community and industry such that, literally hundreds of business owners and families seek him and trust him annually to help them accomplish their real estate plans.”



Mr. Allie Berry
Vice President, Armada Oil & Gas Company

Allie Berry is an Entrepreneurial Senior Level Executive with extensive, hands-on in management and business leadership while working with owners of retailers and wholesalers of petroleum marketers, Board of Directors, Banks, PE firms and Attorneys. Allie has established a record in growing enterprise value and developing personnel. He is responsible for management, marketing and development. He is also the Chief Financial Officer of the corporation, responsible for budgets, forecasting, financial planning and acquisitions.

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At the age of 15 where he settled with his family in the City of Dearborn, MI and pursued full time schooling and sought work to support himself and to assist his family’s financial needs. During the following six years, Berry worked a full time schedule and attended college at a full time level upon graduation with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration in 1983; he worked for The Rocky Mountain Energy Company of Denver, Colorado. Three years later in 1986, Allie Berry joined Armada Oil & Gas Company along with his long-time friend and partner Ali Jawad. His financial background and expertise in accounting aids in directing the actives of Armada Oil & Gas Company and its planning for the 21st.

Throughout the years, Allie Berry held many positions, including a Business Community-police liaison with the Detroit Police Department, appointed to the Arab American Advisory Council by Governor John M. Engler for a six year term, Member of Detroit Economic Club, Member of Michigan Petroleum Association, Michigan Association of Convenience Stores, Society of Independent Gasoline marketers of America, Board of Governors Fairlane Club, Officer and Board Member of Dearborn Community Fund. Berry has and continues to be a very active community activist and leader. In addition to serving his second term as Chairman of the Arab American Scholarship Foundation, Berry has held many positions of leadership and responsibilities with almost every community organization including Lebanese American Heritage Club, Metro Detroit Service Stations, Congress of Arab-American Organization, Bridges and many other civic, charitable, benevolent and professional organizations.

Bridget G. HurdMs. Bridget Hurd
Director of Community Responsibility, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

As a public relations, community relations and communications executive, Bridget Hurd has worked in the health care industry for 19 years helping to facilitate stronger linkages among the community and health care institutions.

Ms. Hurd is a member of the leadership team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan where she is director of Community Responsibility. In this role, she develops and leads strategic community partnerships to encourage healthy, active lifestyles at every age and oversees the corporate giving program, the employee and executive volunteer programs, and corporate internal and special events.

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Prior to joining BCBSM, Ms. Hurd worked for eight years at the Greater Detroit Area Health Council (a non-profit, regional coalition). As part of the organization’s executive team, she played a significant role in branding and building its regional and national image, organizational capacity building and directing strategic planning. She managed strategic partnerships and led internal and external communications, including media relations achieving recurring visibility in print and other media. Ms. Hurd was also responsible for member recruitment and retention, governance and board relations, stakeholder communications, sponsorships, and planning educational and fundraising events. Through these efforts she strengthened the organization’s focus, visibility, and influence, both nationally and regionally.

Ms. Hurd has also worked at the Detroit Medical Center where she was press secretary and has conducted community relations for St. John Providence Health System helping to increase access to health services through community engagement. She has provided communications leadership for the Voices of Detroit Initiative, the Detroit Wayne County Health Authority and the Michigan Cover the Uninsured Network.

A community steward serving on numerous advisory committees and boards, in addition to providing leadership for the Southfield Community Foundation (where she served as interim executive director), Ms. Hurd is actively engaged with the Michigan Women’s Foundation as a volunteer and a Power of 100 Women member. She is a board member of Communicating Arts Credit Union, Special Olympics Michigan and the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also participates on the Planning Committee for the Michigan Business and Professional Association’s annual Women and Leadership Conference, the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women and is a member of Inforum. Ms. Hurd is a recipient of the Michigan Chronicle’s annual “Women of Excellence” Award.

Ms. Hurd is a graduate of Wayne State University where she obtained a Master of Business Administration degree and the University of Michigan where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications. She is also a Leadership Detroit XXXI graduate.

Mariam Bazzi headshotThe Honorable Mariam Saad Bazzi
Judge, Wayne County Circuit Court

Mariam Saad Bazzi was appointed to the Third Circuit Court in May of 2017.  She has over 11 years of experience prosecuting various types of criminal cases at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, where she most recently served as the lead attorney in charge of the Deed and Mortgage Fraud Task Force. As such, she oversaw a multi-agency unit that prosecuted financial crime, complex, and high-profile cases.

Mariam has also been involved in the community and in local politics for many years. As a college student, she volunteered with the Arab American Institute (AAI) and the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). After graduating from law school, she joined the Arab American Political Action Committee (AAPAC) where she served as the President of the organization from 2010 to 2014.

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Mariam’s  passion for community service led her to run for a seat on the Dearborn Board of Education in 2014. In a race for three open seats, she came in first among eleven candidates.  Prior to her appointment to the circuit court, she served as President of the Dearborn Board of Education and Chair of the Henry Ford College Board of Trustees.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, she also served on Michigan Middle Eastern Affairs Commission which she was appointed to by Governor Rick Snyder. This Commission comprised of fifteen members and aimed to address the needs and issues of the Middle Eastern community in Michigan. She was also appointed to and served on the Environmental Justice Work Group which was tasked to examine policy issues and develop guidance, training, and curriculum for state and local agencies.

Mariam is married to Abdul Bazzi, a director of Information Technology at General Motors and, together, they have three young children.

Stanley Henderson

Mr. Stanley Henderson
Retired- Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Life, University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Stanley E. Henderson is Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Life at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he leads an institution-wide enrollment management and student engagement initiative. Prior to becoming Vice Chancellor, he was Associate Provost for Enrollment Management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2003-2005 and Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at the University of Cincinnati from 1995-2003. He was also Director of Enrollment Management and Admissions at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo from 1985-95 and Director of Admissions at Wichita State University in Kansas from 1971-85. He began his work in the enrollment field as an admissions counselor at Michigan State University in 1970.

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Mr. Henderson holds the bachelor’s degree with high honor in Political Science from Michigan State University where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He completed a master’s degree in Government at Cornell University and completed doctoral course work in Higher Education Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Active at the national level, Henderson is a past president of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). He was also Vice President for Enrollment Management, Admissions, and Financial Aid for AACRAO and served on its Board of Directors for six years. He is a co-developer of AACRAO’s national Strategic Enrollment Management conferences and is recognized as a national thought leader in enrollment management as well as one of its leading practitioners. His chapter, “On the Brink of a Profession: A History of Enrollment Management,” in The SEM Revolution is considered the definitive history of this emerging field; and his College and University article entitled, “Refocusing Enrollment Management: Losing Structure and Finding the Academic Context,” emphasizes the academic nature of the field. He is also an editor of and contributor to the Handbook for the College Admissions Profession; and his chapter, “Admissions at the Front Door: From Gatekeeper to Strategic Partner,” introduces The College Admissions Officer’s Guide. Henderson, chair of the AACRAO Centennial Committee, received the AACRAO Distinguished Service Award in 2007 and the Founders Award for Leadership in 2008.

Mr. Henderson received the Community Friendship Award from the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan in 2009. A member of Who’s Who in America, he is a frequent national presenter and has consulted at a wide range of institutions, including public Research Extensive universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, regional state universities, and small private colleges. He is currently a senior consultant with AACRAO Consulting Services.

Danene CharlesDanene M. Charles
Coordinator for Affective Education
Dearborn Public Schools

Danene is serving her 6th year as the Coordinator for Affective Education.  In her current role, she organizes multiple student initiatives along with providing services that impact the whole child.  She began her career in 1996 as the homebound teacher for the district.  She taught students with special needs for seven years at Stout Middle School and spent eleven years serving as an administrator at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  Her experience and collective knowledge of the Dearborn school community has afforded her multiple opportunities to richly engage in the diverse culture, learning how to effectively build relationships and sustain programs for students. Danene connects families, staff and students to resources that enhance the overall learning experience.

Fouad Ashkar

Mr. Fouad Ashkar
Retired- Manager, Ethnic Marketing, DTE Energy

Fouad Ashkar is the Manager of Ethnic Marketing at DTE Energy.
DTE Energy is a diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide.

His responsibilities include developing and creating strategic relationships with ethnic business organizations, business leaders and customers in various ethnic communities.

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Ashkar has more than 35 years of progressive general management and international business experience. He has a consistent track record of successfully introducing sophisticated systems and programs into work environments, building positive customer relationships, establishing dynamic sales and marketing strategies, introducing new products, improving productivity and creating growth.

During his career, Ashkar worked extensively in the Middle East. He was born in Lebanon. He arrived in Michigan in 1971 to attend college at Western Michigan University where he earned an undergraduate degree in Industrial/Mechanical Engineering. Later he earned an MBA from Davenport University in Detroit.

From 1982 to 1998 Fouad served as a group general manager for a major industrial in Saudi Arabia. Prior to 1982, he worked as a manufacturing engineer/industrial engineer for General Motors.

He is active in several community-based and business organizations.

  • Executive Board Member – Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab American Chamber of Commerce
  • Advisory Board member – Past Chairman for the Council of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA)
  • Board of Directors – International Visitors Council of Metropolitan Detroit (IVC Detroit)
  • Board of Directors – Dearborn Chamber of Commerce
  • Board Member – Arab American Institute – National Leadership Conference
  • Board Member – American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (1999-2002)

Ashkar’s involvement in other organizations and institutions include Henry Ford Community College, Davenport University, the Bint Jebail Cultural Center, and the U.S. Arab Economic Forum Global Conference and the Arab International Festival.

He has received several major awards:

  • Hispanic Business Alliance Award
  • Michigan Korean Community Award
  • Family Latino Service Award
  • The Outstanding Community Service Award from the Yemeni American Benevolent Association
  • Ambassador for Peace Award (Universal Peace Federation)
  • Council of Asian Pacific Americans Award
  • Michigan Food & Beverage Association Award
  • Lebanese American Club of Michigan -Trailblazer Award
  • Certificate of Tribute from Michigan Governor ( Jennifer M. Granholm)


Hassan SheikhHassan Sheikh
Deputy Director- City of Dearborn
Economic & Community Development Fund

Hassan Sheikh was born and raised in southeast Michigan. He received his Bachelor’s from Wayne State University, and his Master’s in Public Administration from Oakland University with a focus on local government management and non-profit management. In his prior roles he served as the first Executive Director for the Michigan chapter of Emgage, and then the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Hamtramck. He currently serves as the Deputy Director of Economic and Community Development for the City of Dearborn. Hassan also works as a political strategist and is the co-founder of Ahmed and Sheikh Consulting. Hassan comes from a long history of community service, activism, and political advocacy. He currently sits on the executive board of Wayne County Healthy Communities, Emgage, Rising Voices of Asian American Families Action Fund, and the advisory board of Huda Clinic. Hassan resides in West Bloomfield Township with his wife Sumaiya, and his sons Hamza and Ali.

Zenell Brown - Updated 2019Zenell Brown

Executive Court Administrator
Third Circuit Court

Zenell Brown currently serves as the Executive Court Administrator of the Third Circuit Court.  She has previously served as the Friend of the Court, Enforcement Director, and Senior Staff Attorney, as well as mediator.  She is a certified diversity professional and co-author of a SCAO approved mediation training curriculum, and has shared her insights on diversity, dispute resolution, and leadership with audiences at the Association of Family and Conciliation Court, National Association of Court Management, and the National Black Child Development Institute conferences. Zenell serves on the board of the Detroit Bar Association, the board of the Michigan Diversity Council, several committees of the National Association of Court Management, the faculty of the Michigan Judicial Institute, and the faculty of the Institute of Court Management.  A forever learner, Zenell holds a Juris Doctor (Wayne State University Law School), Public Service Administration Graduate Certificate (Central Michigan University), Court Administration Certificate (Michigan State University), and enjoys taking a variety of online courses through Coursera to stay abreast of trends and to learn new cool things.