On September 13, 2018, students and alumni of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management gathered for a special edition of Ladies First. For the first time, Karin Reuschenbach-Coutinho, Head of Frankfurt School’s Career Services, welcomed not only female students and alumni but their male counterparts. “We have made an exception today because of our special guest. Asiya Mohammed is not only a social entrepreneur and former diplomat, but also a current Executive MBA student at Frankfurt School. She believes that men have an important role to play in ending violence against women and wanted all her classmates to attend!”
Asiya Mohammed, Founder and CEO of Conflict Women, begun by relating her career path from representing Trinidad and Tobago at the United Nations, to leaving diplomacy and starting her business. Her first steps were discovering who she was and what she wanted from life. “I am passionate about women’s rights, jewelry and business and dreamed of returning to the grassroots to change lives. While other NGOs in Trinidad focused on housing, advocacy and psychosocial support, none focused on finance.” So, she founded Conflict Women, which provides a monthly income and free training to survivors of abuse in exchange for their hand-crafted jewelry, which is retailed through hotels and luxury gift stores.
Before coming to Frankfurt School, Asiya Mohammed persisted despite difficulties with Conflict Women. “Even though this is my dream, business was challenging. As an entrepreneur, I had to be honest about my strengths and weaknesses. While I studied international relations and politics, I had little business training so started researching MBA programmes.”
The EMBA brought new energy and skills and taught her that teamwork, cooperation, and trust yield the best results. She highlighted the importance of what she learned for Conflict Women 2.0, the new and improved business model she is creating with two of her classmates for the thesis. “It is an online platform that leverages corporate partnerships to financially empower survivors and incorporates everything I have learned.” Although this project is still in its inception phase, it already gained significant support and will create sustainable change for women across the Caribbean and Europe. The social entrepreneur ended by telling the audience that passion changes lives. She urged them to find what they love and to live their best lives, one step at a time.
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