February 1st, 2021

Fyne Chats: Kicking off with KeiSei Magazine

Fyne Chats: International Women's Day Edition

March 08, 2022

Stargazing Collection

#BreakTheBias

For International Women's Day 2022, we reached out to some of our Fyne Friends and Clients to raise awareness on achieving a gender equal world. We chatted about their passions, the recent challenges they've faced, and stereotypes they'd like to crack. Finally, they shared key lessons on how they feel empowered. 

Read on to meet our star guests for this special edition of Fyne Chats.

Nada Elbarshoumi - One Arab Vegan

Please introduce yourself.

Originally Egyptian but based in the UAE, my name is Nada and I’m the founder and writer of the MENA's first-ever vegan food and lifestyle blog, One Arab Vegan. When I’m not dreaming up delicious, empowering and nutrient packed plant-based recipes inspired by Middle Eastern flavours, I’m a public relations and communications consultant.

What are your passions & how does this translate into your daily life and career?

I’m extremely passionate about food and cooking and am an avid conscious living advocate and health enthusiast. These passions translate into my life daily – I’m constantly looking for ways to tread lightly on the planet and (gently) educate those around me on how tasty and satisfying plant-based food can be. 

Women can face additional challenges in their lives, what’s an example of a challenge you overcame recently?

Despite my passion for food, I haven’t always had the best relationship with it as a result of body image issues and pervasive diet culture that have hounded me since I was a young girl. In recent years I’ve worked with a therapist to help shed my insecurities and love the skin I’m in, no matter what the scale says.

What is the one stereotype you’d like to get rid of?

I don’t know if this is a stereotype per se, but the notion that women are tasked with doing the emotional labour for themselves and others because they’re just “better at this stuff”. It’s beyond time for men to step up to the plate and start shouldering more responsibility when it comes to their relationships – be them in the workplace or in their personal lives. 

What or who makes you feel empowered?

The strong and inspirational women I’m lucky to call my family and friends. Even though we live oceans apart, thanks to technology their support and words of wisdom are just a touchscreen away. I’m immensely grateful to have such a strong network of women in my life.

Nada Elbarshoumi

Nada Elbarshoumi | @onearabvegan

"I’m extremely passionate about food and cooking and am an avid conscious living advocate and health enthusiast."

Sol Parga - Shop Soleil

Sol Parga

Sol Parga | @sol.parga

"I love entrepreneurship and being creative. It’s a fundamental part of my business as I encounter different challenges on the daily and need to be resolutive and a problem solver."

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Sol and I am the founder and designer of Soleil, a sustainable accessories brand. All our products are handmade by women artisans in my home country, Spain.

What are your passions & how does this translate into your daily life and career?

I love entrepreneurship and being creative. It’s a fundamental part of my business as I encounter different challenges on the daily and need to be resolutive and a problem solver. I love the creative part of the job: styling, coming up with new designs for my brand and working on photoshoots and campaigns. I also love going to the gym and having a healthy but sustainable routine, it helps to keep me grounded and focused in my career.

Women can face additional challenges in their lives, what’s an example of a challenge you overcame recently?

I started my first business when I was around 24 and the main challenges I’ve faced as a young woman in business have mostly been with suppliers and other key partners taking me seriously, especially in male dominated industries such as manufacturing and web development. I think most of the time we are very underestimated and always have to prove ourselves before getting that trust, whereas men’s abilities in business are less likely to be doubted from the beginning. 

What is the one stereotype you’d like to get rid of?

Gender bias in business. As women we are still very behind in terms of representation in leadership positions. We are programmed from a young age to be more submissive and complacent, and when we are not, this behaviour is interpreted differently depending on our gender, which should not be the case.

What or who makes you feel empowered?

Setting goals for both my personal life and my business and working towards them, believing in myself and helping others in any way that I can. And the unconditional support of my family.

Rohma Theunissen - RT Copywriting & Curated Conversations Host

Please introduce yourself.

I won’t lie, I find this really hard to answer. There are so many sides to who I am, so I’ll list it all out here...

I’m an entrepreneur and brand strategist, with my own copywriting consultancy. I also host and produce the industry-focused podcast series Curated Conversations, and I’m a brain haemorrhage survivor. I love yoga, traveling, music, and spending quality time with the people I love. I’m wildly independent and a free spirit. I’m a daughter, a wife, a sister and a friend all rolled into a size 5’6 woman who dreams of one day having her own animals sanctuary.

I think that about sums it up.

What are your passions & how does this translate into your daily life and career?

I’m passionate about living an inspired and balanced life, and about carving a path that enables me to pursue the things I really want to do on my own terms. Working for myself enables me to calibrate a pace that elevates my productivity, and on those days that I feel a bit meh? I can take the time off to rejuvenate my mind, body, and soul. I always work with the rhythm of my body, not against it.

Women can face additional challenges in their lives, what’s an example of a challenge you overcame recently?

I had a miscarriage towards the end of last year and I desperately needed to take time off to heal. As a small business owner, I am deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of my consultancy, and so, I did the unthinkable, I emailed my clients and informed them of my loss. And you know what? They understood. We’ve been told for so long not to talk about these kinds of things, but you know what? It’s not unprofessional to tell the truth, and if you look at business etiquette through a lens, you will notice that it’s only the issues that solely afflict women that are frowned upon. It’s time to break the silence. 

What is the one stereotype you’d like to get rid of?

That stoke survivors cannot perform. I was let go from my job at the time for having a stroke because they didn’t think I could keep up anymore. I could have come back stronger than before, but I just needed time. Time to adapt to my new capabilities, time to understand the changes in my personality, and time to develop the skills necessary to overcome my limitations. I’ve worked ever since to speak openly about my stroke, because I want to break the stigma, I want to educate people and I want people to realize that because of our experiences, stroke survivors often have an outlook on life that can only come with the closest brush of death. The worst that could have happened has already happened to us, so we are fearless in a lot of ways and don’t really sweat the small things. We can stay focused on the bigger picture when others get distracted.

What or who makes you feel empowered?

Trying new things, traveling on my own, working out, and of course, my family and friends.

Rohma Theunissen

Rohma Theunissen | @rohmatheunissen

"I’m passionate about living an inspired and balanced life, and about carving a path that enables me to pursue the things I really want to do on my own terms."

Jemise Jordan - Sustainable Luxury Digital Marketing Consultant

Jemise Jordan

Jemise Jordan | @jemisejordan

"I focus everyday on being aligned in my purpose and doing at least one thing for pure enjoyment."

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Jemise Jordan. I’m from Miami and currently living in Dubai. I am a marketing consultant for sustainable luxury fashion and beauty brands. I love finding creative ways to help brands connect with today’s audience using great content strategy and aligned brand partnerships.

What are your passions & how does this translate into your daily life and career?

Fashion and beauty plays a huge role in my daily life. I love looking beautiful and feeling confident when I get dressed. But I also live a plant-based lifestyle which encourages me to also live sustainably. Making conscious choices in my life when it comes to what I wear and buy guides my lifestyle and also the work I do everyday to connect sustainable brands to conscious consumers.

Women can face additional challenges in their lives, what’s an example of a challenge you overcame recently?

Honestly, moving my life to a whole new country was much more of a transition than I expected it to be! In the US, I had a pretty solid life with my family, friends, routines, client relationships, places I loved, activities -- you know all the things that makes our lives run! When I moved here, I basically started all over. I had to establish new friendships, get new clients and just find my flow again. It’s been a year and I feel like I’m almost where I want to be in most areas but the transition definitely came with it’s challenges. Staying connected to the people I love from home, establishing new professional and personal relationships while navigating a new place has afforded me so many chances to learn and grow. I’m proud that I took the leap of faith and bet on myself!

What is the one stereotype you’d like to get rid of?

I’m from the United States and the US is notorious for being quite work-obsessed. For many people, being productive means working tirelessly often to the point of being unwell mentally and even physically. I’d love to get rid of this stereotype that productivity and success only comes from working hard at the expense of your self-care. Instead, I focus everyday on being aligned in my purpose and doing at least one thing for pure enjoyment. I believe when you approach life this way, all the doors you need open for you and you get to work diligently on things that bring you joy. This is what success looks like to me.

What or who makes you feel empowered?

I feel empowered by seeing other women living beautifully. You can tell when a woman is enjoying her life and her journey -- it’s beautiful! My mom is one example of that. She has been a physician for over 30 years and still enjoys caring for her patients and does it with such joy. And honestly, I empower myself when I’m feeling this way. When I’m truly enjoying myself, my work and my life, I feel so empowered and internally beautiful. With that energy, I feel like I can conquer the world -- or at least conquer my day! And if you can conquer each day, that’s a life well-lived.

Hailey Yoon - Co-Founder & CTO at IO21

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Hailey Yoon and I am a CTO at IO21 and lead IO21's long-term technology vision; I actively develop blockchain systems, AI & ML algorithms, web/mobile apps, and more. I hold a Bachelor of Science - Honors Degree, Computer Science from UNC-Chapel Hill, completed Leadership & Innovation for Technology Professionals Program at MIT, and am currently enrolled as a part-time student at Stanford University, completing my postgraduate in Artificial Intelligence. 

Outside of work, I'm a child sponsor at World Vision. Since 2017, I have been supporting my sponsor child Mirriam. We send each other letters, and World Vision regularly updates Mirriam's status to me. I'm happy that I can help Mirriam and her community in Uganda to stand tall, free from poverty.

What are your passions & how does this translate into your daily life and career?

My passion is to help people. I'm a software engineer who helps people translate their ideas into functional software, and I'm also a mentor accelerating the tech sector's growth in the Middle East.

Women can face additional challenges in their lives, what’s an example of a challenge you overcame recently?

Being talked over is a big challenge for many women, including myself. I often need to say, "I'm speaking," to finish my sentence without getting interrupted. I was first afraid others might view me negatively, then I quickly realized it was important to speak up. 

What is the one stereotype you’d like to get rid of?

That women make emotional decisions at work.

What or who makes you feel empowered?

Fellow women entrepreneurs & women engineers :)

Hailey Yoon

Hailey Yoon | @realhaileyyoon

"My passion is to help people. I'm a software engineer who helps people translate their ideas into functional software, and I'm also a mentor accelerating the tech sector's growth in the Middle East."

Collectively, we can all forge women's equality and #BreakTheBias. To find out more visit: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

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