WEB EXCLUSIVE! Donate online to the Broumand & Fausti Family Scholarship
BY RUTH HAWK
A well-traveled couple getting ready to take their vows is so enthusiastic about RMU that they are forgoing the traditional wedding registry to leave a legacy on campus instead.
Bride-to-be Kristina Fausti ‘97 and her fiancé Shahriar Broumand, both active with the School of Business Board of Visitors, plan to ask the 200 invited guests at their wedding this fall to help them build a scholarship in their names for future RMU students.”We’re ordinary, everyday people looking to make a difference and give back,” Fausti says.
“There are a lot of great institutions in the world, but there’s something special at RMU,” says Broumand. He first visited campus with Fausti at Homecoming, and later she brought him to a Board of Visitors meeting. “The people were remarkable and the offerings amazing. There was such a welcoming spirit that it felt like family. I was right at home,” he says.
The couple met by chance two years ago through an online introduction. For months they exchanged lengthy conversational emails. They were astonished by how much they had in common. Both come from families with strong values, have noteworthy achievements and a lifelong passion for learning, travel extensively and want to explore everything the seven continents have to offer. “Our first date was a four-hour dinner. I knew instantly I had met the right person,” Broumand says. Fausti agrees: “On the second date, we looked at each other and it was clear we were destined to be together.” A long-distance relationship developed over the next year; he was an executive for Bank of Scotland in the United Kingdom and she was a lawyer in Pittsburgh.
They travelled back and forth, explored Europe together, and had weekly dates on Skype. He proposed in Paris at the romantic Pavillon De La Reine hotel, overlooking the Place des Vosges. “The ring was on a plate covered by a silver bell. It totally caught me off guard,” she says.
The couple will exchange vows September 30 at a ceremony at the Pittsburgh Opera building in the Strip District, where they reside. Friends and family will be gathering from all parts of the globe. The reception tables will have names of continents the couple has explored and cities that have special meaning in their lives. “I’ve attended 49 weddings. This will be my 50th,” Broumand says.
The Broumand & Fausti Family Scholarship will be offered to an incoming business student with a 3.5 GPA who resides in Beaver County and has demonstrated financial need. Broumand and Fausti donated the initial $2,000 to start their scholarship fund, which will build through donations.
“I want to give back to a student like me,” Fausti says. She grew up on a small farm in Conway, in a family that was relentless about the value of education. She attended RMU on two scholarships, majoring in accounting and computer and information systems. Fausti attributes a legal seminar taught by associate professor of legal studies Louis Swartz, J.D., with changing her life’s direction. “His creativity in incorporating current events into his lectures was amazing,” she says. After graduating, Fausti earned her M.B.A. and law degree from Georgetown University, went to work at a Washington law firm, then became a special counsel for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Two years ago, she came back to Pittsburgh to become director of legal and regulatory affairs at the Bridgeville firm Fi360, which provides fiduciary training and software to investment professionals.
Broumand was six when his family fled Tehran, Iran, amidst political turmoil. “We were one of the last planes out before they shut down the airport. All we had were two suitcases that were by no means filled with money,” he says. He grew up in London and Belgium in a financially struggling family with a father steadfast on getting his son an education. That quest paid dividends; Broumand attended European University in Brussels and Loyola Marymount University. As an executive with Pittsburgh-based FreeMarkets, he built the business auction website’s European commercial operations, then became a vice president for Ariba after it acquired FreeMarkets. He is now a managing partner with BrainNet, a Swiss-German supply management consulting group, and is responsible for the company’s North American operations.
As for their honeymoon, Broumand is keeping the destination secret. “She loves surprises, and this is one I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” he says. “All I know is it’s somewhere warm,” says Fausti. “I won’t know where we’re going until we actually get to the airport.”