Throughout my career, I’ve experienced highs and lows — who hasn’t?! And real talk, as a human, we all have our ups and downs.
A buoy for me as I navigate through a storm (or these days, several storms) are my people. I understand the value of support in my own life and how those relationships pave the way to other strong connections in the lives of others. This is one of the reasons why, as a business owner, I feel I have the opportunity and the responsibility to create spaces where others feel valued and empowered.
I have strived to do this throughout my career; when I started my business at 24 years old, I sought to become an employer that supported young designers from different experiences and educational backgrounds.
Whether I’m looking for another strong teammate or providing support to the Barwaaqo University in Somaliland, I continue to advocate for young designers and students across experiences — and inspire my team to do the same — through my work with Reit.
Soon after starting my business, I became a New York State Small Business Services Women Business Enterprise (NYS SBS M/WBE) to connect with clients that support women-owned businesses. A few years later, I volunteered as a mentor for the same organization; and today, I lead the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of New York (EONY) Mentorship Program, connecting several M/WBE members one-to-one with leading entrepreneurs in NYC. I’m proud to share that we have paired over 70 participants. So many of these pairings have expressed their joy in connecting.
In addition to leading the Mentorship Program with EONY, I am also part of the EO OneWorld Committee, an initiative that seeks to create a more inclusive and equitable experience for EO members that identify as women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+. OneWorld is a powerful initiative that creates a safe space for all people to create connections, educational experiences, and a place to have hard conversations. OneWorld will include mentorship opportunities and support for young entrepreneurs, among other avenues for connection. I am excited to see what unfolds as this program takes shape.
Most recently, I co-founded Other Parents Like Me (OPLM) with Casie Fariello, another parent like me. We met during our children’s struggle with mental health and substance use; and connected over our similar experiences and a mutual desire to create a space for other parents and families to feel supported while weathering similar storms. OPLM is a digital community that provides a support network for parents supporting parents of children struggling with mental health — including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance use, behavior disorders, and more — and opportunities to learn from mental health professionals, industry leaders, and guest speakers. Our goal is to nurture a community that supplies the support, insights, and connections parents like us need.