Women immigrants constitute a considerable part of the total immigrant population in the United States. As of 2019, around 22.6 million immigrant women resided in the country, making up 51.9% of the entire foreign-born population. Their experiences and challenges in adapting to a new environment are unique and often underrepresented.
A prime example is Aytakin’s story, also known as Ika, which began 12 years ago when she had to go door-to-door in San Francisco, seeking low-paying jobs at restaurants despite having a successful career in her home country. Her financial struggles led her to take matters into her own hands as an immigrant in a foreign land. This experience and the absence of resources and professional guidance made her realize the importance of sisterhood and mutual support for immigrant women.
Recognizing the need for a support system, Aytakin Aliyeva founded the Femigrants Foundation as a personal venture to provide career advice and resources to immigrant women. Over time, the foundation has evolved into a platform that actively strives to foster a diverse workforce, bridging the gap between immigrant women and the opportunities they deserve.
The Journey from Facebook to Femigrants
Aytakin’s extraordinary journey began as a Data Integrity Specialist at Instagram, where she overcame impostor syndrome and gained valuable insights into the diverse and talented workforce. Recognizing the potential of immigrants to succeed with the right guidance and support, Aytakin sought to learn the secrets behind their achievements. Through interviews with successful immigrants and sharing their inspiring stories on social media, Aytakin created a Facebook group to connect immigrants and foster support among them.
As the group’s popularity soared, she organized in-person events, culminating in a Silicon Valley forum attended by 150 guests, mostly community members. From its humble beginnings with just 5-6 members, Aytakin’s Femigrants community has grown into a thriving sisterhood of over 5,000 immigrant women; all united in their pursuit of success and empowerment.
The Femigrants Foundation: Empowering Immigrant Women
Femigrants, a blend of “female” and “immigrants,” is a professional community offering career resources, community support, and cultural adaptation assistance to diverse female immigrants from various backgrounds and industries. Through sisterhood programs, local events, and success stories, the foundation helps immigrants integrate into society and fosters an environment of acceptance and understanding.
United by a shared commitment to wellness and success, the organization serves as a trusted hub for immigrants in search of support, career guidance, and inspiration. Driven by a mission to help immigrant women reach their professional goals and seamlessly integrate into modern society, Femigrants upholds the values of D.I.V.E.R.S.I.T.Y: Devotion, Integrity, Voice, Empathy, Respect, Support, Inspiration, Tolerance, and recognizing the uniqueness of You. By embracing and celebrating these values, Femigrants creates a supportive and nurturing environment where every member is encouraged to share their voice, grow, and thrive.
The Key Quality for Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs
In Aytakin’s view, sales confidence is a key quality that empowers immigrant women entrepreneurs to overcome any obstacle they might encounter. Sales confidence, an essential factor for success in today’s business landscape, involves a combination of self-confidence and the ability to effectively promote oneself. She encourages women to demand what they deserve. As reflected in her statement, “Every immigrant woman should know how to showcase her skillsets, articulate her capabilities, and confidently request what she deserves – be it a promotion, investment, sponsorship, or anything else that will contribute to her success.”
Particularly for immigrant women, it is vital to assert their abilities, express their ideas, and pursue their desired paths. This concept is akin to the law of attraction, where positive energy and value create a cycle that attracts people to them. By cultivating a confident sales mindset, immigrant women entrepreneurs can achieve success.
Essential Advice for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs
For women looking to become entrepreneurs, Aytakin advises, it is crucial to surround yourself with individuals who believe in your capabilities and dreams. Entrepreneurship can often resemble a rollercoaster ride, full of ups and downs. Without a strong support system, it’s easier to abandon your greatest aspirations rather than persist through adversity. It’s important to have at least one or two entrepreneurs a few steps ahead of you who share similar values and experiences, as they can be invaluable resources for guidance and direction. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to ask for help, which could save you time, money, and effort. There will always be people willing to assist you in any way possible – all you need to do is reach out. This approach will also help you determine who to trust on your entrepreneurial journey.
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