“Being businesswomen and mothers ourselves, and having had to neglect too often either side of our persona throughout our lives and careers, the decision to blend these two aspects together came very naturally.”
An economic crisis might not be one’s preferred time for starting a new venture, but if some of the recent stories on Entrepreneur are any indication, more and more enterprising individuals find their new ventures as “a great medicine against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Those are the exact words of Daniela Rossi, a SVP buyer for local and international omni-channel retail groups, and Nicoletta Danieli, founder and Managing Partner, ORIENS International Business Consulting, when answering why they are launching Unlimited.ME, a new multimedia platform for inspiring women and mothers in our current circumstances.
“Starting this business in these challenging times forced us to learn how to organize under uncertainty and equip ourselves for it, as many things we used to take for granted are not there anymore,” says Danieli. “It also made us highly aware of the need to keep costs down, and, as a consequence of this, we are prepared to proceed on a pro bono basis. Every day, we have to create new opportunities and change our actions accordingly. It is challenging, but interesting. We are very positive about the future. A common theme that we hear from our guest speakers when discussing the future is ‘collaboration,’ and we couldn’t agree more.”
Rossi explains that the “ME” in Unlimited.ME represents each and every person listening, and also stands for the Middle East, which is “the land that has given us such unlimited possibilities, and that keeps allowing us to convert challenges into opportunities.” During the crisis, she adds, people have become much more open to listen, to support and work together than before the crisis.
“Maybe this is because we all tend to have a bit more time or maybe because we became more conscious of our dependence on other people’s success,” Rossi adds. “It is clear now that our own wellbeing depends on society’s wellbeing as a whole. Today, individuals alone cannot create successful enterprises if the business environment is not thriving. This is true not only at a personal level, but also at national and international level. If the region and the world are not healthy nothing can flourish, nothing can sustain itself by itself.”
Unlimited.ME has been envisioned as a podcast featuring women and mothers who forge a path for themselves and for others that is different, innovative, and that surpasses the mainstream. The founders believe that, due to the hectic pace of today, podcasts have become an extraordinary source of knowledge and enrichment available at our fingertips.
“From a professional level, coming from 45 years of combined experience in retail and business consulting, we were well aware that having a clear target audience is crucial,” Rossi explains. “From a personal perspective, we conducted market studies and focus groups with trusted parties from the region, which confirmed our initial perception that, unfortunately, platforms dedicated to mothers nowadays still tend to focus exclusively on motherhood, while platforms dedicated to professional women tend to neglect their personal life. Being businesswomen and mothers ourselves, and having had to neglect too often either side of our persona throughout our lives and careers, the decision to blend these two aspects together came very naturally.”
Another thing that came naturally to Rossi and Danieli was to partner with Nima Abu Wardeh, a bilingual English Arabic broadcast journalist specialising in Arab issues, and creator of S.H.E. Strategy, a practical online program that she describes as a combination of a media training and a public speaking course.
“Nima embodies all the messages of our platform,” Rossi says. “She is a mother, an expert and one of the most inspiring and energetic people we have ever met. She is an award-winning broadcast journalist able to pick apart and explain situations of the most complex nature and to tell stories as few can. What is more, Nima is now totally dedicated to a very important project that is precisely focused on offering concrete help to women, so they can be Seen, Heard, and Empowered. To not just inspire women, but to truly empower them, her S.H.E. Strategy aims to provide a step-by-step plan to showcase who you are, what you do, and where you are headed. This is the essence of Unlimited.”
One of the themes Abu Wardeh focuses on is enabling women to make the right decisions for their financial lives by being aware of the consequence of taking time off work, not going for a promotion, or up-skilling in their career. She shared some interesting stats with us- for instance, 80% of women are poor at the age of 65, and that women are three times more likely to live below the poverty line in their 70s.
“There are key facts of life that no one teaches us and that we find out the hard way,” Abu Wardeh says. “Unfortunately for women, this means women die broke. Yes, I generalize, but then again, I am interested in the ‘silent majority,’ the women who plough through life, coping as best they can, juggling a multitude of things, only to end up poor in their later years, and with a huge chance they will die broke.”
For that reason, Abu Wardeh believes that women need to be better informed on these issues and in a way that is relevant, easy to relate, and easy to remember. “For example, every year a woman takes off work, to care for someone in her family for example, is equal to three to four years of income being taken from her life time earnings,” she says. “I believe that if women knew these, simply put, research-based facts, then they and their families would think differently around the issue of ‘time off to care for someone’. This is not to say women must not take time off – no. I believe in informed choice. In decisions made knowing what women are up against. But here’s the thing, there is little point in sharing facts –where we say ‘don’t do this’ or ‘do that’– without passing on the skills and tools that enable women to ‘do,’ not just ‘know.'”
This is the point where Unlimited.ME and Abu Wardeh’s S.H.E.Strategy become more important for their listeners and our readers- both provide a tool-box that enables women to excel in their lives and careers. As Abu Wardeh noted as a tip for women: “Live your brand of success. What do I mean? Your life is unique to you– what you need and want for yourself is specific, and unique to your life. Figure out what your ‘best’ life is. Does it include time off work? Going part-time? Starting a business? Being a digital nomad? Whatever it is, figure it out. Then comes the ‘how do I make it my reality.'”
You can find the original article here.