I Believe That We Should Be the Change We Want to See in the World - Yasmin Sakalla

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1. Tell us more about yourself and your life.

I’ve been working in Tech companies in the last 15 years. I started working in sales positions and customer success, after finishing my BA in business school I worked in senior roles in marketing.

Later I moved to operation roles and got a program manager certificate. In the last few years I discovered my passion for mentoring and coaching, so I had the chance to join mentoring programs in the workplace and outside of it. Earlier this year I moved to training and I also co-founded “Can I mentor you?” - a professional mentors networks that provides pro-bono mentoring sessions to those who got affected during Covid19.

2. What led you into the field of Entrepreneurship?

I think in a way I always was an entrepreneur ever since I remember myself, I always loved trying new things, walking in unmarked paths and taking risks. My most recent one is co-founding “Can I mentor you?." It all started in a post on my linkedin.

Back in May I was looking for a way to give back and help to people who got affected by Covid-19. I posted on my linkedin saying I want to offer to help - if we worked together in the past, I offered to write a recommendation, or connect with people in my network for the next opportunity. If we didn’t work together, I offered pro bono mentoring in my fields of expertise.

The reactions were amazing, I got people from all over the world reaching out to me, I got the chance to help many people and support them. I realized that this is my calling and that my passion is to mentor & connect people.

I then spoke to my friends Nelli Golubeff Isweesi and Aliis Kuusik, and we decided we want to take it to the next level, and we co-founded “Can I mentor you?” to connect mentors who are willing to give pro bono mentoring so we can get to help to as many people as possible. 

3. What is that one cause you care deeply about and why?

I care deeply about equality and supporting each other.

My passion in life is  knowledge sharing by teaching, mentoring & connecting people. 

Being able to ask individual questions that can help them get back on their path or even sometimes finding their path, is something that I feel very grateful for. 

I love using my gift to help individuals to level the playing field.  

4. If one wants to contribute and make a difference in the Entrepreneurship space, how can they do it?

I believe that we should be the change we want to see in the world, we all have an inner voice that tells us what we should do, but reality is that a lot of times we push it away.

In my opinion, You need to find what fuels & excites you, I call it “the calling”, and then let it take every free minute you have. Last year I met with my mentor and we had a revealing moment, while I was talking about projects I worked on she pointed out that most of the work I did had to do with new hires, mentoring & coaching individuals and developing training programs.

It sounds funny but up until that moment I never thought of moving to training as a day job, and after that it felt like to me it was always “the calling”.

5. Who is your role model and why?

I have many, but the 2 that influenced me the most:

Suad Sakalla, my mom- I grew up watching my mom fighting barriers and making hard decisions. She though me how to make the most out of any situation, either you win or you learn, 

Dr. Maya Angelo - a good friend of mine gave a gift a few years back, the book “Mom & Me & Mom”. It was amazing and could not leave it for a second. Dr. Angelo helped me rediscover my womanhood and being comfortable in my own skin. I learned a lot on how to use my voice, how important it is to tell your story & compassion to others.

My favorite quote by Dr. Angelo is “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

6. What are some of the challenges and roadblocks you have faced along your journey?

I had many challenges along the way, they made me who I am. I think the biggest one was when I relocated to Ireland and I had to adjust to many changes all at once. Even though it was an English speaking country, I had to adjust to new city & new country, work culture, and finding new social circles.

I had a mentor who helped me alot in adjusting to the work culture, she worked in a few countries and had a lot of experience that helped me to fit right in. 

7. Your opinion about the current situation with respect to your industry ?

I see myself part of a few industries, but I think the one that interested me the most is marketing. We are seeing a huge shift there. One of things that came out of Covid-19 is that it made people go online, a lot of businesses who didn’t have any presence online had to start advertising online or to create a facebook page.

This bright it a lot of new players which from a consumer’s POV is fantastic. It creates a great competition and challenges the existing state. Now if I want to buy a table I can check a few websites before ordering and comparing which gives me the best value, where if I was in the shop physically I don't think I would be taking the same approach.

Interviewed by- Dhairya Gangwani

Edited by - Vayun Sahni

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