Chief Smiling Officer, the Art Cart; President, ACS Regulatory Consulting Age 28; Education: Quinnipiac University (MS)
Shahid has grown the Art Cart — a creativity and movement program for people with Parkinson’s disease — into a national company, traveling to various communities to reinstill confidence in patients’ abilities by teaching them to work with their symptoms instead of feeling burdened by them.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A maxillofacial surgeon, to spread smiles by fixing children’s cleft conditions. I was accepted to medical school but decided not to go, as I had just started the Art Cart and found that I can use my passion for art and medicine to help improve symptoms of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s. I feel blessed to see patients smile when they see improvements in their symptoms from the programming we offer.
What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far in your career? Authoring the Let’s Combat Micrographia interactive workbook series, which helps those living with Parkinson’s disease improve their symptom of micrographia. It is the only book of its kind and is currently sold worldwide in English and Spanish.
What are you passionate about? Spreading as many smiles as I possibly can. Smiles are contagious and are understood in any language. They help break barriers and form bridges. The foundation of the Art Cart is focused on disorders that list the inability to smile as a symptom. We start every Smile Through Art workshop with 30 seconds of forcing a smile to spread happiness and exercise the facial muscles. Try it!
How do you relieve stress? Working full-time and being a full-time, stay-at-home mom can get exhausting. The Peloton has made relieving stress convenient and allows me to put my best foot forward every day.
What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? I would love to have lunch with Priyanka Chopra, who is involved in so many inspirational projects.
Who inspires you, and why? My 1-year-old son, Aayan Ali, inspires me. He is so smart. His curiosity and drive to learn motivate me to do more and go one step further every day to teach him to give 150% to every opportunity that comes his way. Also, my husband, Chad, is one of the most inspirational and kindhearted people I know. I admire his drive and ambition. He keeps me on my toes, and I am forever grateful for our journey together.