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NO. 8 - DEC. 2014-JAN.2015 - £4























SUB-EDITOR Trevor Clarke

Julia Langkraehr An American Entrepreneur Living in London

EDITORIAL TEAM Ada Albert Bobbi Bicker Kristale Rama Ada Zguro



Our crew

Helping people to overcome their fear of


public speaking

Editorial – Three lessons from 2014



My story matters

News reports



Ask Judy: Everything in life has to change

What Syrians have taught us about courage and determination



Ask the Dragon: Career or Entrepreneur?

I am surrounded by beautiful people who I love


Ask Simon: Act soon for attractive tax saving PAGE 23

5 Lessons we have learned from 2014 Three successful women share reflections PAGE 28

Can your Spiritual Intelligence help you?


PAGE 52Founder & Editor in Chief

Turning failure into opportunity PAGE 55

Even little contributions from each of us are of high value PAGE 57

A migrant mother’s story of unconditional


love for her children

Formula for living a happy, passionate and healthy life

Allergy and Tolerance



An increasing lifestyle disease?

Mistakes that women entrepreneurs can’t afford to make




Shifting the management mindset & culture to a new level of thinking

How to make your first million

10 books of the year

Event snapshot

BOARD MEMBERS Baybars Altuntas Adelina Badivuku Aura Imbarus Marita Flager Julia Goga CONTRIBUTORS Baybars Altuntas Judy Piatkus Sarah Alexander Julian Childs Sahar Shahid Aura Imbarus Marita Flager Julia Goga Vivienne Aiyela Simon Newsham Shamin Iqbal ART EDITOR Henrik Lezi PHOTOGRAPHER Francisco Cruzat Rinaldo Sata Linda Scuizzato WEB DESIGNER Ken Doughty MARKETING AND PR Trevor Clarke Elisjada Canameti Amarilda Canameti Ada Albert ADDRESS Migrant Woman LTD Company Number: 08839812 E-mail: Web: London, UK


MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015


Our crew for this issue

JUDY PIATKUS Judy Piatkus achieved a diploma in psychodynamic psychotherapy and counselling and worked in an NHS surgery in Harley Street London, for 450 hours, as well as in her own private practice. Judy now works with a wide range of organisations and businesses as a leadership development coach, consultant and mentor. She is also in much demand as a speaker on the topics of entrepreneurship, future trends, angel investing and building a great business.

BAYBARS ALTUNTAS Baybars Altuntas is a Turkish entrepreneur, speaker and author based in Istanbul. He founded Deulcom International, a vocational training school in 1992 and currently serves as the president of the executive committee of Deulcom. He is also a dragon on the Dragon’s Den Turkey, The Turkish version of the Dragon’s Den TV show. In 2011, Baybars wrote Off the Bus, into a BM. The book has been reprinted 24 times and translated into five languages.

SARAH ALEXANDER Sarah Alexander is a coach, mentor, speaker, author and spiritual leadership expert. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and business professionals use their Spiritual Intelligence to make the most of their Life’s work. She is highly intuitive. Sarah uses this in her coaching to inspire people, to ensure them have clarity and, most important of all, to give them peace of mind.

SIMON NEWSHAM Simon Newsham is a Tax Partner at Winckworth Sherwood LLP providing advice to both UK and overseas companies, including publicly quoted, SMEs, OMBs and luxury brands and high net worth individuals, including celebrities and overseas royalty. He helps his clients in a number of ways, including: providing innovative solutions to their tax problems; advising on the tax aspects on corporate mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, reorganisations and international structuring; setting up private equity funds etc.

ANNA CAJSA JOHANSSON Born and brought up in Sweden, Ana-Cajsa has always had a strong and deeply rooted interest in nature and the natural world. She moved to London in 1999 and her interest in natural health was initially sparked by Traditional Chinese Medicine. A few years later in 2006 Ana-Cajsa was attuned to the Reiki levels, which were her first introduction to training in the concept of vibrational medicine. In 2006 she also came in to contact with Kinesiology.

SUSANNA HALONEN Susanna Halonen runs Happyologist, a coaching and training consultancy. She helps individuals and organisations to find their most passionate, positive and productive selves so they can reach their full potential by using happiness to fuel success. Susannah is also a published researcher and has just released her first book on Amazon called Screw Finding Your Passion: It’s Within You, Let’s Unlock It.



Letter from the edit r MIREL A SULA

Founder and Editor- in- Chief

Three lessons that 2014 has taught me


here are so many things I have learned in 2014, that began with the creation of Migrant Woman Ltd in January, leading to the first magazine being published in April. It has been a challenge but a lot of fun as well, which has helped me to grow and develop my abilities to connect and co-operate with others. There are three main lessons that 2014 has taught me and I would like to share them with you.

1. DON’T COMPARE WITH OTHERS It is believed that what makes us unhappy are not the deficiencies we have but the comparisons we make with others. Who has this illusion that life should be entirely fair? Focus on the blessings of life itself and avoid the chronic comparisons of ourselves with the luck of others, which are not useful at all. In my workshops, I often like to share my life motto: “Do not feel inferior to others, do not feel superior to others; just make yourself feel better then yesterday.”

Please show your support for Migrant Woman by liking us on our Facebook page, signing up online to receive our newsletter for keeping you informed and up to date, and take part in completing our survey on the website, which will be a great help in shaping the future direction of Migrant Woman magazine. Check our website for all the articles, posts & news

2. DETACH FROM LOVING THINGS To separate from a place, a partner or from a boring job are important actions in our life, especially when they are included in our list of priorities. They give meaning to our world. When we flip the page of an individual ‘chapter’ a new chapter immediately starts in life and at such significant turning points are bound to cause strong feelings and emotions. Often life does not give us what we want, but what is needed. It is never easy to negotiate with the ‘end’. However, when it is not possible to improve a situation, perhaps it is time to stop it. Our life journey includes experiences, places, people, events, and thoughts that we inevitably leave behind to undertake new opportunities. 3. FORGIVE AND LET IT GO In life, we meet people that may hurt us. It is likely that we will meet them again. Deep inside us it is normal to feel rage and anger boiling. And often these thoughts that can boil inside give us the intricate feelings and the links of our life. Anger does not improve our life at all. This is why we must resist the tendency to be fed with negative feelings, which are heavy burdens for our mind. Forgive and let it go… Thank you for your support in 2014 and please continue to spread the word for 2015 to build on and grow this wonderful community of inspirational women from so many cultures and backgrounds. Mirela


MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

Mirela Sula is an established, respected psychologist and journalist/author writing on psychological issues in Albania. She is working on a PhD in Psychology at the School of Psychotherapy, at Regents University and is the founder and Editor in Chief of “Migrant Woman” magazine.

How to Be Your Magnificent Self... Live a Magnificent Life WITH MIRELA SULA AND SARAH ALEXANDER






Sarah Alexander is a coach, mentor, author and speaker. She helps people achieve results in their personal and professional lives through connecting to their Spiritual Intelligence.






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news reports Almost half of UK businesses employ migrant workers, saying there is a lack of local talent and that staff from overseas have a more positive work ethic, according to a report by the British Chambers of Commerce. Forty five percent of UK firms hire migrants from within and outside the EU, the BCC’s 2014 workforce survey found. John Longworth, director general of the lobby group, said that while companies were concerned about the level of unemployment in the UK, particularly among the young, they struggled to find UK workers with the right skills. “Businesses continue to rely on migrant workers, because they can’t find enough suitable talent locally. Nearly half of businesses are hiring migrant workers, as they believe that they are more suited to roles than UK workers, have a more positive work ethic and better experience and qualifications.” The Guardian 23 November 2014

Net migration to UK rises to 260,000 in year to June Net migration to the UK rose to 260,000 in the year to June - an increase of 78,000 on the previous year. The figure is calculated by taking away the number of people leaving the country from the number coming in. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he hoped to get net migration below 100,000 before the election in 2015. But according to the data, 583,000 people immigrated to the UK in the last year - an increase of 45,000 from the EU and 30,000 from outside. Net migration is now 16,000 higher than it was when the coalition government was formed in 2010.

MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

British companies struggle to find domestic workers with right skills UK migration: What’s really happening?

Help End Violence Against Women Now Violence against women is a global pandemic. It is a problem that knows no geographic, socio-economic or cultural boundaries. It takes many forms and it is pervasive: One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in her life. It includes rape, domestic violence, abuse in school, harassment at work and on the street, bullying on the Internet. In some countries, women and girls are assaulted when they venture outside because they don’t have a toilet. Sexual violence is used as a tactic in armed conflict, with horrific consequences. Around 120 million girls worldwide (slightly more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. More than 133 million girls and women have been subjected to female genital mutilation in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful is most common. While 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced violence, some national studies have found that 70 per cent of women have been abused by an intimate partner. Of all women killed in 2012, it is estimated that almost half were killed by intimate partners or family members. In many cases, the very people that should inspire the most trust inflict the most fear. LinkedIn Pulse 24 November 2014

For 20 years, the UK has seen more immigration than emigration - reaching a peak in 2005. Net migration began to drop in the wake of the credit crunch economic crisis and then again from 2011 after the government restricted entry for some people from outside of Europe. But now net migration is on the rise again. The government has suggested that much of the increase in immigration is due to EU citizens coming to live and work in the UK. It points to the fact that 142,000 more EU migrants had entered the UK over the previous 12 months than left. All the data shows that this is indeed true - for the past decade there has been an enormous rise in the arrival of EU citizens to the UK. These movements were initially triggered by the then Labour government’s decision to allow Eastern European workers access to the British labour market while other EU members kept temporary restrictions in place. But since the Eurozone crisis has left many parts of the EU in the economic doldrums, the UK has also started to see new movements from western Europe. Even if immigration from the EU had stayed level, or fallen slightly, net migration to the UK would still have risen. That’s because the number of people coming to live and work in the UK from the rest of the world not only exceeds those from the EU but it also increased in the last year. After three years of falling numbers, in the 12 months to June there was net migration of 168,000 from the rest of the world, an increase of 20% on the previous period. 28 November 2014





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Issuing claims at the County Court and or High Court Business, contract, corporate and partnership disputes Property litigation Negotiation of alternative methods of dispute resolution Enforcement of judgments Languages that we speak include: Albanian (Shqip: 077 3741 3235), Italian and French (079 0638 2358), Hungarian (Magyar: 079 5157 8810)

ADDRESS: Morgan Pearse LLP, (Suite 6) 63 Broadway, London, E15 4BQ Telephone: 0203 583 2129 Fax: 0203 475 4544 Website:


MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015



Do you also have a question for Judy? Write to:

Am I too old to seek a new purpose in life and do something different?


Dear Judy, I am a mother of two

wants to do the same. This is making me

of doing this and think that is never too late

daughters, with the oldest in her

start to feel lonely. My husband is very busy

to go to university. I am 46 years old now and

first year of university and the

with his business and I stay all the day at

my husband thinks that I am too old to study

youngest in the second year of sixth

home alone. He did invite me to work with

at this level. He doesn’t stop me but I know

form. I have dedicated all of my life

him, which I tried for about two weeks but

he doesn’t like the idea.

to my daughters and I haven’t worked

I didn’t feel comfortable working with him,

I really would like to do something

any day in my life. When I arrived in this

or maybe I am not a businessperson. I am

different in life and achieving a university

country, my husband opened a shop and his

more academic, with a love for reading

degree, especially studying psychology,

business has been successful, so I didn’t

a lot of books. My daughter is studying

would give me a huge purpose and sense

need to work. I have looked after the family

psychology and I have started to read her

of achievement. Am I too old to do this,

and we have had a good life so far.

books, which I very much enjoy reading. This

or should I follow my desire to make this

The reason that I am writing to you now is

has inspired me to think about the intention

dream come true? Or is it too selfish and

because one daughter has left home for

of studying myself. I had this discussion with

unrealistic, which my husband seems to

university and independence, and her sister

my daughters and they both are supportive

think? Dara.

Everything in life has to change, including the roles within your marriage


Dear Dara,In every relationship, there are unspoken rules about the way that things are done. In your case, you and your husband, because of his good business acumen, have had a traditional marriage where he is the breadwinner, taking care of all your material needs, and you have looked after the home and brought up the children. However, it is not until one partner wishes to change the unspoken rules in a relationship, that couples realise that they do indeed exist. Your husband may be trying to dissuade you from studying for many reasons. These could include wishing to control your activities, being fearful that your academic achievements may show him up, worrying that he will lose face within his family of origin or even that you may in due course choose to leave him for another man. It is important that you demonstrate to your husband that you have complete clarity about the course you wish to study and that you know exactly what you want to do and why. You can then explain

to him that while you have been happy with the course of your life while the children were at home, that time has now come to an end and you must make changes. You are both entering a new phase of life. You have until now done everything to support his business and to bring up your family. Now it is your turn to find personal fulfilment. Communicate your dream with clearsighted passion and ask for his support in enabling you to achieve it. If you do not wish to feel resentment towards your husband, it is important that you do not allow him to control your actions. Do your best to engage with him in an open honest and non-accusatory way so that he feels safe enough to tell you what his own fears about your studying really are. Your husband may need reassurance that you will continue to love him the way he is. If he is the responsible loving partner with whom you have been happy in your marriage until now, hopefully he will accept your choice of career path and acknowledge that everything in life has to change, including the roles within your marriage.




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BAYBARS ALTUNTAS .tr or visit my blog to You can send your questions and find me on com. Follow me on Twitter at ww w.baybarsaltuntasnotes. as soon as possible. me to start creating new jobs Facebook. Get in touch with

Career or Entrepreneur? Weighing up the risks Dear Baybars, I read on the Migrant Woman website about the How to Make Your First Million event at Regent’s University London, where you were the guest speaker, but unfortunately I was unable to attend. I was sorry not to have been there to hear what you had to say and to ask you my question but if you could answer it in my letter to Migrant Woman magazine, I would be grateful. I have been living in England since the age of 13, have a hard work ethic and been successful as a sales consultant for around ten years, to do with learning resources for schools. I have saved money from my commission earnings during that time for the future. I’m thinking now that this may be the right time to get out of a career job in a large company and to start my own business. What holds me back is the risk in taking away a certain amount of security and doubts about if it is possible to make the change from a career to running my own business. I’ve heard the expression to do with nature and nurture and wonder which is more important to succeed as an entrepreneur? My main question to you is this: Should I only stick with what I know and introduce new ideas as my own boss but competing against big companies, or do new research and turn to something completely different for a fresh start? Flavia.




Minimise the risk and start by trying to sell your business idea to your boss Dear Flavia, The most important skill an entrepreneur should have is the sales skill. Because you are a sales consultant, this gives a very positive image to me that you have the potential to become successful entrepreneur. That said, you should consider, of course, the risks of leaving your job and starting a business. While taking such a decision, the first question you should ask is what you might lose if you do not succeed. Generally, would-be-entrepreneurs first calculate what they will win, which is the wrong approach to initiate a business.

If you can calculate your risk and see how you can put back what you lose, then it is logical to take this risk. But if you are not able to calculate it or do not have a Plan B if everything goes south, then it is not logical to start it. If I were in your shoes, I would develop a business model for my business idea. Then I would try to sell this business idea to my boss. Since you are a sales consultant, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to convince your boss to initiate this business by using the idle capacity of the company where you are currently working. So, develop a business idea that is initiated by using the idle capacity of the company

you are working for. In this way, you can minimise your risk and start a business. What I advise you to do then is to move from this intrapreneurship to entrepreneurship. First, try to execute your business idea within your present company. Try to test yourself, try to see if there is a demand for your product or service. After spending a reasonable amount of time in your company by trying to execute your business, decide if it is logical to leave your company. If it is, do it — or else stay and make your career there. Baybars.


MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

t Simon Newsham at ase do not hesitate to contac If you have any questions, ple ckworth Sherwood Win Par tner at the law firm Tax or visit ww

What are the tax reliefs and incentives available for my new technology product?


Dear Simon, I have been living in London for six years now and I registered my new business in 2013. I am presently trialling a new technology product that is

potentially a great aid for supporting independent living for the elderly and other vulnerable people. It has a patent pending for the UK. I’d like to extend it to the EU and other countries where the market oportunity is huge but it seems to be very expensive. I have also been told that there are various tax reliefs and incentives that I should take advantage of. This is not an area my brain likes to think about as I am more of a creative person but I know it is important. Could you please tell me more about the tax reliefs and incentives, what they are and what I need to do to claim them. Are you also able to advise me on patents and intellectual property, and how I can extend this outside of the UK for a fee that is affordable for a small business, not yet bringing in a high income? (But with huge future potential). Thank you. Katrina



The Patent Box is an attractive tax saving - but you need to act soon to be eligible


Dear Katrina Many thanks for your letter. Your technology sounds very exciting and to be of huge benefit to a great number of people in need. I am assuming that your new business is being carried out through a UK private limited company and the technology is owned by your company (not in your own name). This is important because the various tax reliefs can only be claimed by companies, not individuals. In terms of tax reliefs, the Government introduced the Patent Box to great fanfare with effect from 1st April 2013. The aim was to provide an attractive tax regime for companies to locate their development, manufacture and exploitation of patents in the UK and formed part of the Government’s wider vision to position the UK as a world leader in patented technologies. The Patent Box (broadly) allows qualifying companies to be taxed at an effective rate of 10% on their worldwide profits arising from qualifying patents and certain other intellectual property (IP). The full benefit of the regime was to be phased in over four financial years with the full relief being given with effect from 1st April 2017. However, a number of our European

partners, in particular Germany, believed that the Patent Box was a form of State Aid (which is not allowed by the EU). This has led to the UK very recently agreeing to close the Patent Box regime to new entrants in June 2016 and to abolish it altogether by June 2021. Whilst the details have yet to be finalised, there is a limited opportunity to take advantage of this regime and you should consider your eligibility relatively soon. Another form of tax relief concerns research and development (R&D). Broadly, the R&D tax regime allows companies to claim an enhanced tax deduction and for those companies which are loss-making, usually in the early years when the technology has yet to be fully commercialised, to claim cash payments back from the Government. The recent Autumn Statement announced that the tax relief will be increased from 225% to 230%. This means that for every ÂŁ100 spent, a tax deduction of ÂŁ230 can be claimed. This can make a huge difference. Filing patent registrations, particularly on a global basis, can be prohibitively expensive. However, there can be cheaper and yet highly effective alternatives and we should be delighted to discuss the available options with you.


MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015




Julia Langkraehr How I define success and wealth cover article

Julia’s story is of an extraordinary woman that evolved from an ordinary childhood in a small town of Mid West USA, while overcoming the challenges of dyslexia, turning the initial adversity into a disciplined strength, and becoming hugely successful in her career and as an entrepreneur, who has lived in London for the last fifteen years BY MIRELA SULA. PHOTOGRAPHED BY RINALDO SATA HAIR & MAKE UP: EMMA BORLEY


ulia arrived in London in 1999 working for a Canadian based real estate company, where she started speciality retail programmes in seven countries, mostly in Eastern Europe. After being made redundant, she started and grew an international multi-million pound business called Retail Profile Europe, which operates in three countries. After fourteen years, Julia successfully exited and set up a new business, ‘Bold Clarity’ where she now works with entrepreneurs and CEOs as a strategic coach, trainer and facilitator, combining her real

life knowledge and experience to help businesses grow. Success and wealth has not changed Julia as a person, who values having a good life balance, with time for her family, friends and healthy living. The only thing missing in Julia’s life is a tall, well-mannered and gracious man! I met Julia in her luxury flat off Oxford Street and felt the positive energy that she has created around herself, which led me to believe that behind a successful and beautiful woman is more than what we see on the outside. The story that she shared with me shows that she is a great inspiration for every woman of the Universe.


cover article Where does your curiosity and inner drive to explore the world come from? While at university, I was selected to go to Taiwan on an exchange programme. I did not speak Chinese and I had to apply for my first passport. I was one of 130 students from 35 countries who participated. The experience of facing my fear with excitement and anticipation, taught me that sometimes with big risks come big rewards. I not only learned from the other international students about their countries and cultures, but also got to experience Asian culture for the first time. A quick story: as it was summer in Taiwan, we used to take the local bus to the Sogo department store to get gelato. Even though I was overwhelmed by adapting to a very foreign culture, I probably looked more odd to the local people because I was so tall and blonde. They would giggle behind me as I stood hanging onto the bar of the bus, and try to touch my hair. How do you remember your childhood?  I grew up in small-town USA, like you would see on a TV sitcom. It was very small, quaint and had a main street with all the businesses lining the two sides. When I was growing up, we had one grocery store and one bank, so it was very small and friendly. I felt very safe, somewhat sheltered, and was quite naïve as I went away to college at 18. It was idyllic and I did all sorts of extra curricula activities in Grade School and High School. Aside from studies, in Grade School I played on the boys’ basketball team, was a cheerleader, learned to play the flute, and took piano lessons by the Suzuki method. In High School, I was a baton twirler in the marching band, I was in the choir, played volleyball, basketball, and softball, and was involved in the student council. What is your experience of dealing with dyslexia as a child? When I went to kindergarten at five years old I loved the social aspect of school, learning and playing with my friends. However, I realised quite quickly that I did not get it as fast as my classmates. I struggled with reading, and as I progressed and grew older, I used to dread Fridays because it was spelling day. It felt like no how matter how hard I tried, I

MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

I BELIEVE THAT MY DESIRE, DETERMINATION AND TENACITY TO OVERCOME MY LEARNING DISABILITY TAUGHT ME DISCIPLINE, HARD WORK AND PERSISTENCE. THIS IS HOW I OVERCAME MY ACADEMIC CHALLENGE TO REACH FIFTH IN MY CLASS WITHIN FOUR YEARS. THIS SHOWED ME THAT NO MATTER HOW MANY ROADBLOCKS, BARRIERS OR DISAPPOINTMENTS THERE WERE, IF I STUCK WITH MY GOAL I COULD ACHIEVE IT. IT MIGHT TAKE ME LONGER AND I’D HAVE TO WORK HARD, BUT I COULD OVERCOME WHATEVER THE OBSTACLE. could never get the letters in the right order and do well on the spelling test. I was popular, well-adjusted and athletic, however I continued to struggle in my own head with why it was so much harder for me than it seemed for my classmates. At the age of fourteen, when I was a freshman in high school, my mother convinced the Special Education Director Ginny Dorth to test me. It was really nerve-wracking sitting through a battery of test after test of images, words, pictures, and associations. The test came back conclusively that I was dyslexic. Finally, I started to understand why I felt different and why I might have struggled for so long. I was put in the class for children who were disruptive or had learning disabilities. I hated it. I hated the stigma and I hated being with disruptive children and not being able to concentrate. Eventually, my mom started to teach me at home, and I learnt how to overcome my problems by memorising things. How did this weakness become a strength? I believe that my desire, determination and tenacity to overcome my learning disability taught me discipline, hard work and persistence. I overcame my academic challenges to reach to reach fifth in my class within four years. This showed me that no matter how many roadblocks, barriers or disappointments there were, if I stuck with my goal I could achieve it. It might take me longer and

I’d have to work hard, but I could overcome whatever the obstacle. What made you decide to come to London? While living in Chicago, working for a major corporation, I used to take my five days holiday (Americans are only entitled to short vacations) and fly to Europe to spend two weekends and the week, giving me ten days to explore. One of these trips was to Ireland, with my friend Marsha. We were visiting her friend Lauren, who was married to an Englishman man who ran Pepsi in Ireland. On the tail end of our trip, we stopped over in London for three days. We stayed behind the Dominican Theatre on Tottenham Court Road. I remember ducking into the tube, following the map, and popping up all over London to explore the sites, streets, and hustle and bustle of the city. On that trip, I said to myself: Wow, wouldn’t it be great to live here one day, and that is where the seed was planted that one day my big dream would be to live and work in London. Having become a key person of influence in my industry, I let my trusted network know that I was interested in an international position. I wanted to take what I knew from my industry in the US and export it to Europe. I was contacted by Joe Larsen, a respected industry leader. I was interviewed by him and won a position working with a European retail real estate company, thus relocating to London.




cover article How do you remember the first year in London? My first year in London was both exhilarating and lonely. I had an amazing flat on Queens Gate in South Kensington, and I took the Number 14 bus to Piccadilly and walked through the Burlington Arcade (still one of my favourite places) to my office on Old Burlington Street. I loved the challenges I faced in my new position, the weekly travel to multiple countries was exciting, and my fellow colleagues were warm, supportive and friendly. However, I found it hard to build friendships outside of my work environment, as I found that the English people I met tended to hang out with their school mates. They had very long-standing relationships and it was hard to make friends with the English at first. I felt a long way from my small town beginnings and the life that I knew in downtown Chicago. I had given back the loft apartment I was purchasing in the US, put all my things in storage, given my cat to my mother, and moved to a city where I didn’t know a soul. Do you remember any time of not having any money in your bank account? No. I had my first time job when I was ten, and I started my first business when I was fourteen, teaching baton to little girls on my parents driveway for fifty cents, so I was earning money, but only a small amount. I have always been a good saver and always lived within my means, being quite conservative with what I purchase and looking for good deals and value. What is the worst job you have done in life and what did you learn from it? I have babysat new-borns, I have been a filing clerk in an office, I have picked off golf balls from a driving range, and waitressed at an all-American diner and worked at a fish farm. None of my jobs have been the worst because I was always enthusiastic, friendly, gave good service, and was always learning. My attitude was, and still is, that a good attitude and a friendly approach with hard work go a long way. How did you make your first million?

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A combination of growing the asset base of my company and being able to divest some of the interest and re-investing it in central London real estate, which has appreciated greatly. Where did your determination to be an entrepreneur come from? I believe I got my entrepreneurial roots from my father, who was my role model and mentor. By day he sold life, automobile and health insurance, but his true passion and part-time business love was building other businesses. He owned a couple of gas stations, and he bought and sold pieces of land. One time he relocated a whole house on a flatbed transport truck down the main street of our town at 2am so that he could sell the land commercially. He also developed a large piece of farm-land and turned it into a commercial and residential development. Seeing his creativity and determination helped me to dream that I could own my own business one day. What has changed in your life after having this financial success? Nothing. I am still the same small town girl with hopes, ambitions and dreams. I am entering a new stage in my life where I still want to succeed, however, my main focus is to help other people to grow their businesses. How do you manage your life balance? Not very well in the past, however I am trying to turn over a new leaf. I am looking to build my new business with Londonbased companies so I can travel less and be able to see my friends more, hang out at weekends, and spend time with my goddaughters and close friends. How important are family and friends in your life? Very. I have a huge network of close friends in every time zone, and I find it quite difficult to find quality time to catch up with each of them individually. I still travel to my home four to five times a year and keep in touch with both grade school and high school friends. They still think of me as the same small town girl, even though I now live abroad and travel internationally.

What about your personal life - what do you look for in a man? My ideal man would be tall (so I can still wear heels as I am six feet tall), accomplished, confident, knows who is he, learns from his lessons and mistakes, and is well mannered and gracious. What is the secret of your good appearance? I eat healthily. For over thirteen years I have been a vegetarian at home, and when I travel I am a fishetarian. I drink no coffee, caffeine or sugar drinks at all and I have boundless energy. Can you imagine me on caffeine? I am active in terms of working out and occasionally running. Most recently, I have started Vedic medita-

get by very well on very little. I enjoy earning money because I feel like it is a reward for providing value, and I come from a retail background where I know both personally and professionally that retail therapy feels good. However, my spending is always within a budget and needs based, as I don’t like to be wasteful. I believe having financial means allows you choice and freedom. What is your biggest fear and how do you overcome your fears? As human beings we have lots of fears. One of the biggest shared fears is whether I am good enough. What I mean by this is, sometimes I feel like I constantly have to do more to be worthy, and my ideal would

I ENJOY EARNING MONEY BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT IS A REWARD FOR PROVIDING VALUE, AND I COME FROM A RETAIL BACKGROUND WHERE I KNOW BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY THAT RETAIL THERAPY FEELS GOOD. HOWEVER, MY SPENDING IS ALWAYS WITHIN A BUDGET AND NEEDS BASED, AS I DON’T LIKE TO BE WASTEFUL tion which I find calming. It brings clarity and allows my racing mind to truly rest. How much time, money and energy do you dedicate for your physical wellbeing? If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. All the money in the world can’t buy a healthy body, so I devote a lot of time, energy and discipline to being healthy and consistent. What is your relationship with money? Which is more important: “How to earn money, or how to spend money”? I have a healthy relationship with money. I see it as a tool and a means to an end. I came from an environment of scarcity in a small town where many people had lower incomes and lived frugally. It taught me that money doesn’t buy happiness, and you can

be to be able to be myself and know that is enough. This has to do with self-confidence. I am sure that other people would relate to this feeling. What would be your advice for women who want to be financially successful? Find out what you love, are good at, and that other people will pay you for. Build your network of partners, have a clear vision and then single-mindedly move towards that vision, building your business, career, and network in order to be financially recognised. What is your biggest dream that is not yet realised? It would be to have a fantastic personal relationship with a partner who I respect, admire, learn from and love every day.




MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015





Lessons we have learned from 2014 Every year we learn new lessons. When we reflect on the year that has passed, we are always surprised by the new revelations and insights. We learn more about ourselves and better understand our purpose and perspectives. Three successful women share with us what they have learned during 2014.

Yuliana Topazli A very busy and exciting year but not without its challenges and lessons Janice Gordon I am still surprised by what life has to teach me Claire Young I realised that if I wanted a relationship, I had to invest time for it



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YULIANA TOPAZLI A very busy and exciting year but not without its challenges and lessons



Advice is everywhere nowadays, and for those who are in the early stages of business it is important to realise that advice is not a one-size-fits-all. Of course, there are basics which you can read in books, but you really need to know how your business will work in the real world. What would happen if you started tomorrow? Each business will have specific barriers to overcome: personally, I had to become quickly acquainted with the world of ‘commercial property’. I never thought it would be so difficult to secure a reasonable lease on commercial property that would be meeting the needs for the centre.

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Unfortunately, business cannot wait for us to make up our mind. Big decisions often need to be made fast in order to move forward. There is always a risk but you don’t want to lose out on an even bigger potential reward.


Starting a business and seeing success is an overwhelming feeling, but is this coming at too high a price? Work-life balance is very important to me as a mother, and I believe it is attainable even as a business owner. Enjoy growing your business but remember to relax and take time away from your business too. NETWORK, NETWORK AND NETWORK

It is amazing what networking can do for you and your business. Great connections can be made online and off-line. It is important not to make assumptions when you meet people - you never know when you will meet your next client, partner, investor or friend. This year, networking helped us to find commercial property, raise finance, secure early contracts, and substantially cut costs (to name but a few). PERSEVERE, PERSEVERANCE AND PERSEVERANCE

(‘If it’s not alright, it is not yet the end’). Never give up on something you really believe in. Be flexible, maybe you need to tweak your original idea, but keep battling – it will pay off. We waited 18 months to secure a property for our centre. It was worth it!

Yuliana Topazli - Director, My OutSpace Business Centre




JANICE GORDON I am still surprised by what life has to teach me

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I keep going, looking for the next achievement without giving proper credence to how much I have gained from the process and the journey. I set myself higher standards than I do for others and consequently I am quicker to recognise the achievements of others than of my own. I am grateful that I have the time to further develop, create, learn, and do more. I now plan to reward myself as part of the journey to achieving my goals. DO NOT LOOK AT WHAT OTHERS DO, LOOK AT WHAT YOU DO

It is hard to strike the right balance between what is outside and inside. Setting and stretching targets, being aware of the competitive environment, defining my brand and business, as well as understanding and meeting the needs of my customers, helps me be more aware of what makes me unique and different from others. That means remaining faithful and purposeful while being open and accepting. I have spent time understanding my journey. I have learnt that ‘what is right for me’ is to know and follow my own path.



I have met some incredible people, and I have gained from the knowledge that my online community generously shares. This year, I have taken some of my online relationships offline. I have realised that the engagement developed online is a short-cut to finding my tribe of friends and peers. It is amazing that this is not limited by location. I now see my social network as like fishing in the largest sea that you can imagine, and those that bite are a self-selecting preference for my food, which is a firm foundation for developing trusted relationships.



If we do not know something, we feel that we have to fill in the gaps and make a judgement. None of us knows what the other person had to sacrifice to get to that point. We see a confident person, but none of us know how they feel inside – it looks easy from our side. I have learnt that we are all just the same amount of full and empty, but in varying quantities along millions of combinations

Janice Gordon - Business Consultant & Mentor

and possibilities. In the process of understanding that perception is not reality, I am learning to judge less. I know that this is my ongoing challenge. I look forward to 2015 as I learn more and develop a better understanding of who I am and what I will become. I will leave you with this final lesson:



If other people think it is real, then it is real. If I think I am great, then I am great. If I decide to be happy, then I am happy. What is your reality?




MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

CLAIRE YOUNG I realised that if I wanted a relationship, I had to invest time for it

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As my career was flying high, my love life was nose diving. I realised that if I wanted a relationship, I had to invest time for it. THAT I CAN SURVIVE ON LITTLE SLEEP

I have a very active two year old who doesn’t sleep very well. I get through each day with lots of cups of tea and a sense of humour. THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING PHYSICALLY FIT

By July of this year I was exhausted and started going to the gym four times a week. I feel mentally fitter, healthier and stronger, and as a result, I perform better at work. TO KEEP BEING IN LOVE WITH YOUR BUSINESS

I considered selling ‘School Speakers’ earlier this year after being approached, but I realised how much I enjoy my business and the nature of the work that I do. THE JOY OF ONLINE SHOPPING!

I have zero time to shop, so being able to look at fashion and have it delivered to the office with no car parking, queues and etc, is a real pleasure. Claire Young Entrepreneur and ‘The Apprentice’ Finalist 2008






An Exclusive Networking Event With Special Guests Speakers

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ZOE BROWN Thai Yoga Teacher


Clarendon Hotel, Blackheath, London, SE3 0RW Time: 6.30pm - 9.00pm


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MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

It’s Christmas

Can Your Spiritual Intelligence Help You? BY SARAH ALEXANDER


Yes, it can. As a Migrant Woman in the UK, you may find some of our Christmas customs and traditions different to your own. Or they may seem very familiar. Whatever your plans for this Christmas, your Spiritual Intelligence is on hand to help you at this busy time. All you have to do is ask for its help.


our Spiritual Intelligence is that inner wisdom, instinctual knowledge and intuitional guidance that can provide answers for any problem or issue. It can provide answers and solutions for every area of your life, and the ultimate aim of your Spiritual Intelligence is to bring you peace. So, if Christmas is a challenging time, you have an inner GPS that can and will help you with every detail of the Christmas festivities. So what causes you concern at Christmas? Choosing the right party clothes? Buying just the right gifts for some people or for all of them? Having enough money to cover all the presents you need to buy? The prospect of Christmas alone or with the relatives? Cooking for a large number of people? Making a fair decision about how much time over Christmas should be spent with one side of the family or the other? Or is it all of the above? Releasing these seasonal problems to your Spiritual Intelligence starts with following four steps. These steps enable your inner guidance to help you. If you have doubts about the existence of this guidance system and its ability to help you, put it to the test. Ask for help and see what happens! STEP ONE: BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT HELP WITH

SARAH ALEXANDER Sarah is the author of ‘Spiritual Intelligence in Business: The Eight Pillars of 21st Century Business Success’ and ‘Spiritual intelligence in Leadership: From Manager to Leader in Your Own Life’.

The more clarity you give to your request, the better. It is also very important to make your requests in the positive, instead of in the negative. Asking that “The relatives do not end up staying all week”, or that “Aunt Maude doesn’t buy me the same calendar again this year”, or that “Granny Mildred doesn’t drink too much sherry” will not bring the Universal energies rushing to your help. Framing your desired outcomes in the positive, however, will attract its full assistance. Below are some suggestions for framing your Christmas requests to your Spiritual Intelligence in a clear, positive way: • I am guided to the perfect present for each person • I have all the money I need to buy those perfect presents • I look fabulous in my lovely


Christmas party outfit I have all the time I need to do all the shopping, cooking, cleaning and preparing for the Christmas period • My whole Christmas time is filled with happiness, joy and, most important of all, peace • All my family greatly enjoy the festive period and gain pleasure from each other’s company • My Christmas cooking is done with ease and enjoyed by all • All my family members are happy and content with all the Christmas arrangements I have made • I am very pleased with how well Christmas goes and the gifts I receive • You can ask for anything that you want. Be creative and think of new, exciting ways to enjoy Christmas. Remember this proviso though: add to your list of requests that you intend for this outcome or something even better. That allows your Spiritual Intelligence to use its creative ideas to bring you something even better than you have imagined. Your Spiritual Intelligence can see the bigger picture of your life, and therefore can see that you could have so much more than you ask for. Leave it up to this Intelligence to bring you the very highest and the best that you deserve! •


Having made clear requests, your next step is to let go of those requests completely. Imagine releasing requests into the hands of your inner Intelligence or your Higher Mind, thus freeing you from carrying around that burden of concern. If you try to hold onto your desires, or worry about when and how they will come to you, you will make it very difficult for your Spiritual Intelligence to bring them to you. Know that you will receive the guidance that you need at exactly the right time and in exactly the right way. With that guidance, the energy to act will come so that doors open for you, things happen easily and all you need comes to you in an effortless way. This attitude of total detachment declares: “I am happy if this happens and if



it doesn’t happen, I am happy too.” The more you can surrender your expectations and desires of what you think should happen and how it should work out, the easier you are making things for your Spiritual Intelligence. From its position, your inner Intelligence really can see what your highest good and greatest joy is. With everything you desire in life, the more you can totally let go of your expectations, the more easily life can work out for you. STEP THREE: BE OPEN TO GUIDANCE FROM YOUR SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE

Your Spiritual Intelligence communicates with you through your subtle inner senses and feelings. It speaks to you through synchronicities in your life, and through repetitive ideas and feelings. It acts almost like an internal GPS. Coupled with all, the inner guidance is the gut feeling or sense of

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“Yes, this is right.” This guidance is helped by your ability to spend quiet time alone, focusing on your breathing and allowing your full breath to imbue you with Spiritual energies. This quiet time alone is not difficult to achieve – it can be when you are in the bath, alone in your home, walking in the park or even sitting in a traffic jam. Any time during which you can take full, deep breaths while intending to connect with your Spiritual Intelligence is the perfect time. Being open to its guidance is also the key for the more you are attuned to the messages of your inner senses, the easier it is to recognise and receive guidance. Imagining that your first intention is to buy the perfect presents, how would inner guidance help you with this? You may go out shopping on a sudden whim, perhaps in your lunch hour, and




your attention is drawn to a certain shop, perhaps one that you haven’t been into before. You take time to look at its wares and your awareness is drawn to an ornament, a picture, or an item of jewellery, and you know with absolute certainty that it would make the perfect present for your mother. The feeling of inner knowing and “rightness” that accompanies this is unmistakable. By contrast, you may have set aside a certain day for buying presents. Again, notice the gentle drawing of your attention to the right displays, in the right shops, in the right locations.  Feelings of expansiveness, pleasure and a sense that you are being gently taken in the right direction, characterise this guidance. It is not something you can force. It simply happens naturally. Be willing to say: “Please guide me” and act on the guidance you are then given, instead of trying to work out logically what to do and where to go. When cooking the perfect Christmas meal, allow certain recipes to be shown to you if you want to try some new dishes. You may feel impelled to watch certain cookery programmes, search the internet for ideas, or be given a great recipe by a friend. It would be easy to discount this as your inner guidance, but this is the way that your Spiritual Intelligence works – opening your awareness to new ways of thinking and doing things, and assisting you in taking the easy route to your desired outcome. Is your request to be able to afford all the Christmas presents on your list? First, you have to be able to hear your Higher Mind’s response. This definitely requires your willingness to relax about money and how it may come to you. Lately, so many negative messages about money have poured from the media that it can be hard not to get caught up in the spread of fear. However, the more you can step out

in total trust that the money will be there and see yourself having all the money that you need, the more that will be the reality for you. Spiritual guidance may include guiding you to certain pre-Christmas sales where the perfect presents are at great discounts; they may nudge you to buy at lower prices on the internet; you may receive a bonus or cash gift unexpected by you, but already known by the Spiritual Intelligence. In endless ways, your inner intelligence can ensure that you have the money to buy all that you need at Christmas time. Be relaxed. Be open. Be receptive to its nudges and have absolute confidence in knowing that the nudges will come. STEP FOUR: TAKE ACTION ON YOUR GUIDANCE

The more you are attuned to your subtle inner senses by experiencing times of quietness every single day, the easier it is to receive guidance from your Spiritual Intelligence. This may simply come to you as new thoughts or ideas. Whatever the form of the message, the content will be repetitive, and it is very important that you do act upon it.

When you act swiftly on this guidance, you act in alignment with your “flow” as well as your Spiritual Intelligence. If your intention is to have a Christmas Day filled with happiness, joy and peace, you may be guided to get everyone up and out on a walk after lunch instead of letting them sit around and doze; you may be guided not to serve certain foods or beverages; to buy ready-prepared vegetables as a time-saving measure; to have the meal earlier or later; to play games at a certain time; or to let everyone know in advance that you want the evening to yourselves as a family. Let yourself be open to new ideas about how to create a happy Christmas. Above all, let yourself be relaxed about how you could create a different Christmas Day. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is for your inner Intelligence to work to support you. On the day, invite in Spiritual energies to add the energies of light and love to your Christmas. See how much you, and all those around you, enjoy it as never before.



MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

Susanna Halonen

The formula for living a happy, passionate and healthy life Happiness is finding the perfect balance between pleasure and meaning in your life – says Susanna Halonen when we ask her about the definition. Psychologists refer to this as “hedonic” and “eudaimonic” happiness. Hedonic happiness means that you experience positive emotions such as joy in your life, and that overall SUSANNA HALONEN you are satisfied with Susanna Halonen runs Happyologist, your life. Eudaimonic a coaching and training consultancy. She helps individuals and happiness is achieved organisations to find their most when you feel your life passionate, positive and productive selves so they can reach their full is worthwhile because potential by using happiness to fuel it is full of purpose, success. Susanna is also a published researcher and has just released her challenges and first book on Amazon called Screw personal growth. Finding Your Passion: It’s Within You, Let’s Unlock It. Basically, it is about savouring Why is this ‘formula’ for being happy in life so difficult for people to discover? all the little joys The formula for a happy life is a lot of daily life, whilst simpler than we think. We have just been taught it the wrong way. There is a misalso looking conception that success leads to happiness, for personal when in fact it is happiness that leads to success. That is the first lesson to learn. Secgrowth and ondly, people keep looking for some magiunderstanding the positive cal ‘happy pill’ rather than realising that happiness is right here in front of them. impact you are having on Happiness is not something you the world. achieve, create or buy; it is something you



A happy woman is a woman that takes care of herself both physically and mentally. A happy woman appreciates the little daily joys and celebrates every achievement. She challenges herself daily and sees setbacks as opportunities to learn from rather than failures. She is optimistic about the future and works hard to achieve her dreams whilst enjoying her journey towards them. A happy woman invests in her social relationships, both in life and at work, spending quality time with her loved ones regularly. She makes an effort to make friends out of her colleagues circle, and she helps people when she can (be it random acts of kindness to strangers or giving a friend helpful advice). She walks with a spring in her step and a smile on her face, injecting others with her positive vibes.

choose. And the more you choose happiness, the easier it will become to harness it. Just like you go to the gym to strengthen your muscles, you need to take time to work on your optimism, to strengthen your natural state of happiness. The foundation to this is: learning to appreciate the existing things in your life and focusing on the positives around you. Life is always going to be a roller-coaster ride and you can’t control that, but you can control how you approach that ride. That is why reframing your mind into a more appreciative, optimistic place, will help you to choose happiness in the here and the now. This does not mean that you are happy 24 hours, seven days a week. This means that, when you are faced with challenges, setbacks or upsetting situations, you are able to handle them in a more constructive way that will help you to bounce back into a more positive, productive state quicker. Some people do not believe in happiness - what makes them feel hopeless? There are three things which affect your happiness set point: your circumstances, your intentional activities and your genetics. The surprising finding is that your

circumstances influence your happiness by only 10%, whereas intentional activities influence it by 40% and your genetics influence it by 50%. That means that some people’s genetics may make them feel more hopeless to start with. However, it is the 40% of intentional activities that we have control over, and hence that is what we should focus on to get out of hopelessness. Do things that you enjoy, surround yourself with people who inspire and encourage you, and commit to taking care of your body and mind by exercising, eating a balanced diet and sleeping enough. Without these three basics of keeping your body and mind healthy, you are much more likely to suffer from hopelessness. According to you, what makes a woman happy?

What makes you happy and what do you do to remain happy? For me, happiness is about living my life with passion. With that I don’t mean ‘following’ or ‘finding your passion.’ I mean the all-encompassing type of passion that enables me to live my whole life with passion. I put my heart and soul into everything I do, and I have lots of fun whilst doing things! Through research that I have done, I have discovered the five keys which unlock this inner passion energy, and I live and breathe them throughout my life. I: 1. Connect to my authentic self every day 2. Know the purpose behind what I do 3. Invest in my learning, always seeking for opportunities to grow 4. Connect with people who inspire and encourage me 5. Use my strengths in different ways throughout my life




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What does this look like on a daily basis? I align my work with my values so that I work with clients and on projects which I truly believe in. I understand the purpose behind the work I do through my Happyologist business, and also the purpose behind other activities in my life (such as training my young horse Mickey with the ultimate goal of reaching Tokyo 2020 Olympics). I spend a lot of time with people who matter to me, be it my loving partner, my best friends or inspirational mentors. These are the things which help me live my happiest, most passionate life.

What are your tips for achieving happiness? On top of the five tips I shared in the previous question, there are a few other things worth mentioning. The foundation to happiness is taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Exercise will keep your body healthy, your mind alert and your confidence high. Making sure you get enough sleep will give your body a chance to recover and your mind to digest everything you learned on that day. Eat a balanced diet with a mix of foods that you enjoy eating - the key is to savour every bite and eat consciously so you avoid overeating. After these basics, come the mental happiness habits to embrace. Appreciate the good in your life, both small and big. Start a gratitude journal to build this into a habit. For 21 days in a row, finish the day by writing down three specific things you were grateful for in that day. This exercise will help you to reframe your mind into a more grateful, positive one. Remember to smile whenever you can, and you will be telling your brain to release the happy hormones which will make you feel even better. Smile when you are frustrated and you can actually trick your brain into getting you out of the frustration if you stick with it. Laugh in the face of fear and commit to overcoming the challenge you are afraid of. Last but not least, spend time with the people you love and make time to do things you truly enjoy. What is your resolution for the New Year? To take better care of myself! As my Happyologist business has been in the growth phase for the last year, I have prioritised work a bit too much at times, and I learned the hard way by getting sick. It was a good reminder that, in order to help others, I need to help myself first. And that is what I would advise you to do too. Take care of yourself first and only then you will be in great shape to help others in a much more powerful way!






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MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

Mistakes That Women Entrepreneurs Can’t Afford to Make


TONY J SELIMI Discover how to live an Elite Life: Looking to evolve as a man:

n today’s ever changing economy, being an entrepreneur is a very tempting proposition, and a path that can lead to having the freedom, flexibility and lifestyle that goes with it. Whilst some women entrepreneurs create a reality in which they climb the ladder of success and enjoy the many benefits that come with it, the truth remains, many other women have to face the reality of their present moment, the awareness of struggle, working long hours and becoming fearful of what the future may hold. For them, the dream of building a successful business is very far into their future or out of their reach.

From working with hundreds of women entrepreneurs, I noticed that many of them approach me for coaching for two main reasons. Some women are unhappy at work, lack clarity in what they want to do and are in the process of leaving their jobs to become entrepreneurs. Others, on the other hand, are already entrepreneurs and have an amazing business that they love and have worked very hard to build. However, they struggle to make ends meet, have families to support and lack the necessary mindset, skills and the processes required to expand their business. The common mistakes that most en-



trepreneurs make are in the early stages of building their business. Many end up working on the business and forgetting to reevaluate and switch to a new role. Silently they adopt “I can do it all” attitudes and, due to some sort of fear, fail to take the next step to invest in building a team that they can use to delegate low priority tasks to free up valuable time, which they can use to help them focus their energy on the high priority tasks and on the business itself. Some of you reading this article may be either of these women. You know that to quit, lose or leave a job in order to become

by working long hours to create a business plan, build a personal or company brand, learn to create the website and spend most of their time trying to market, sell and do their own PR. Many go to networking events hoping to find new clients, pitch their business and meet someone who may be able to finance their business. Instead, they end up disappointed because they meet people who are in a similar position, doing the same thing and trying to sell their own product or service too. Thus, they all leave feeling discouraged, hopeless and confused because

THE TRUTH IS YOU DON’T HAVE TO EITHER STRUGGLE OR DO IT ALL ALONE TO BE A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR. THERE IS A LOT OF HELP AVAILABLE TO YOU IN YOUR JOURNEY. NEVER IN HISTORY HAS IT BEEN SO EASY TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR an entrepreneur is far from easy. You may also be aware of the many struggles, obstacles and failures that women entrepreneurs go through in their journey to climb the ladder of success. From my personal experience of choosing the entrepreneurial path and having coached hundreds of migrant women who go through this process, I know that to create a viable business that is profitable can drain the life of the entrepreneur. It can often seem like an uphill struggle with several ‘firsts’ and hurdles to overcome. Few to mention are: lacking clarity on the kind of business you may want to have; not knowing how to create a viable product or service; getting to know the market that is willing to purchase what you have to offer; lacking the necessary skills, people and processes required in place to scale your business, and not making decisions critical to the future success of your company. Many end up feeling tremendous pressure as a result of the many tasks that they need to perform on a daily basis. Deep down, most of them feel, as the old saying goes “Jack of all trades, master of none.” They end up sacrificing their personal lives

everyone is selling and no one seems to be buying. This “I can do it all” attitude affects their emotional wellbeing and leaves them feeling drained, frustrated and desperate. The dream of living a balanced lifestyle, being successful in their venture and creating a profitable business fades away, leaving a bitter taste and instilling further a belief of struggle and hardship. The truth is you don’t have to either struggle or do it all alone to be a successful entrepreneur. There is a lot of help available to you in your journey. Never in history has it been so easy to become a successful entrepreneur, have access to various entrepreneurial groups and find knowledge at the touch of a button. It is all about having the right mindset, approach, method, idea and a good plan of action. What helped me most in my personal journey was being consistent, committed and have clarity in myself about the vision of my business and the life I want to live. I invested in a few business programmes and hired a coach who helped me become aware of some of the things I should watch out for when launching my business. It is as simple

as that: what stands between you and your dream life. When I was made redundant in 2009, I founded my first IT Consultancy Company. Two years later, I founded The Velvet Journey and shortly after, the Elite Life Coaching and Intuitive Healing Company. Many of my clients ask me if, at that time, I had the clarity, the road map and the business plan I have today. I did not. I adjusted through every venture I undertook, and it took me almost four years before I started making great profits. I remained consistent no matter what. Of course, in the meantime, I made a lot of mistakes, but what mattered was that every time I failed I made sure I failed forward. I also learned a tremendous amount about myself, the kind of people I should not have as part of my business and the emotional mastery that I needed to run a successful business. Each step I took was a lesson that helped me build a very successful coaching practice, become an internationally renowned author, build friendships, partnerships and have a lot of fun along the way. We all know that building a company from the ground up is not an easy task. That is why most entrepreneurs make mistakes along the way, and if you are first-time entrepreneurs, accept that some of you may make most of the mistakes that later on will become your blessings. To make sure that you, as an entrepreneur, and your start-up has the best chance of success, I have put together twelve of the most common mistakes that you, as women entrepreneurs, cannot afford to make and how to avoid making them before it is too late. The following is my personal list of unwise start up stumbles that you can avoid. Even if you are doing everything else right, committing even one of these mistakes can seriously damage your credibility and the chances of a successful entrepreneurial journey. The first six in my list of mistakes are featured here and the second half of my list will be featured in the next edition of Migrant Woman magazine. These tips will help you save time, money and energy while starting, building and growing a business.


business MISTAKE #1 Lack of knowing and understanding the skills needed to be a successful CEO

One of the most common mistakes I made, and see many of my clients make, is not acknowledging that the skills that are needed to start a company are very different from the skills needed to grow it. We often end up doing both: not knowing the difference, the impact and why it is important to know what makes us a successful CEO. Firstly, as founders, we need to be “firm, articulating and executing” and have “passion and a clear, concise vision.” Secondly, as CEOs, we need to understand “operations, processes and protocols, human resource policies and international partnerships.” MISTAKE #2 Learn and manage risk effectively

Whilst working for a government department as a programme manager in charge of a multibillion pound programme, I learned very fast how to identify, manage and act on various risks presented during the programme delivery. Personally, I think that there are four fundamental types of start up risk: technology/product risk, market risk, management risk and finance risk. For instance, if you were approaching an Angel investor to help you with funding, bear in mind that these types of investors don’t like to fund technology/product risk. This means that if your idea is still in the lab and has not yet been proven in the practical field application, then you are probably better off funding continued R&D through research grants and proving the technology’s viability before launching your start up or approaching an investor. MISTAKE #3 Prevent analysis paralysis

Due to budget restraints, many women entrepreneurs fail to invest in coaching, mentorship and continued education. Don’t be afraid to seek advice from trusted mentors, coaches and friends. Feedback is incredibly valuable to new businesses — especially when it comes from an experienced business owner who has built a business within your market or industry.

MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015



However, beware of not falling in the “free coaching” trap. I believe in investing in a good coach that later on will save you a lot of time, money and pain. Sometimes, I also observe from the coaches that I coach and the entrepreneurs that I work with, that even well intentioned advisors can overwhelm and confuse entrepreneurs. Too much advice and not enough doing can lead to analysis paralysis. Give yourself time to make big decisions, but not so long that you miss an opportunity or never take an action to help you move forward. You can correct a mistake, but you cannot succeed if you never get started. MISTAKE #4 Picking the wrong co-founder

Choosing someone as a partner is a big responsibility and one of the first choices that you will face when starting a new business. This decision is certainly important in terms of equity and satisfaction. You want someone that you can work with and trust, and supports your highest personal and business values. Know your own set of values, skills and work ethics, and wisely choose someone who will be able to complement you.


I learned this mistake during my days of working as Head of IT for a retail company. Every time I had to make a decision about the type of technology solution to deploy, I was put under pressure that the solution must satisfy 100% of every employee in the company, even though 50%

of them would never use the technology. This did not make any sense to me, but I had to find ways to make it work. If you try to create a product or a service to please everybody, you will end up feeling frustrated, drained and please nobody. Focus on your product, the solutions it provides and the value it brings to your customer; make it specific and don’t try to be like everything that is already out there. Get to know the problem that your product aims to resolve, for whom it is resolving and the special process, approach or quality that sets it apart from all other products that may be currently on sale in the market you are operating. MISTAKE #6 Poor cash flow

The fear of running out of cash affects, impacts and paralyses most entrepreneurs. Due to many tasks that they need to perform, they often fail to realise that every second of every day costs money. The truth is, to be in business, means to be in the flow and carry out daily activities that generate the income required to pay rent, salaries, overheads, utilities or other business expenses. If the cash is constantly going out of the door and you cannot bring enough cash in (through sales or financing), then you will eventually run out of cash and the game is over. Guard your cash like your life depends on it, create budgets, keep receipts, track expenses, know where your cash is going and you will be much better off. In the beginning, focus spending on customer acquisition, hiring, advertising and marketing your services by having a permanent advert in newspapers, magazines, radio or TV. Hire a great coach to help you with value creation, unblocking your abundance blocks and maximising employee productivity. Writing regular blogs on your website or on guest’s that relate to your industry, referring clients to others and receiving referral bonuses are some of the things that you can do immediately to help you boost your cash flow and reach out to more customers.



MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

Vlatka Hlupic

Shifting the Management Mindset and Culture to a New Level of Thinking Vlatka can be described as “several people in one”, and she thinks that this is quite an accurate description of her. She is an academic, management consultant, executive coach and CEO of the Drucker Society London, which was set up to help young people pursue their aspirations. Most importantly, she thinks that the best description about her could be that of a human rights activist (at the workplace). She has a huge passion to make this world a better place, and help individuals and organisations to create happier and more purposeful workplaces. That is why she wrote her latest book, ‘The Management Shift’, in which she brought together both theory and practice, to transfer academic knowledge into action and make a positive difference for individuals and organisations. The essence of who she is and what she stands for can be illustrated well by this quote from her recent talk at the Houses of Parliament on 5th November: “.... as I have been preaching these ideas to diverse groups of people, I feel like I am a politician, and that my political party is called ‘Humanity’. At the same time, I feel like I am a missionary, and my religion is called ‘Humanity’”. You have just published a book about leadership and management. Can you tell us more about it? How was this book born? This book is my life’s work. It is based on more than fifteen years of my interdisciplinary research and consulting experience. I was encouraged and inspired to write this book by Dr. John Adair, who wrote forty books on leadership and is one of the world’s most well known experts in this area. Many management thinkers describe the principles behind enlightened people and purpose focused leadership; many practitioners help implement good practice. In Vlatka Hlupic -



this book, I brought together the key elements to provide a comprehensive overview of the ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of better leadership. While people are often stated as a company’s greatest asset, few businesses have a clear model of leadership that improves engagement, removes barriers to innovation, and uncovers hidden strengths in people and the organisation. This book addresses that need and, more importantly, demonstrates how organisations can make ‘The Management Shift’ into a new way of thinking and working. Based on leadingedge research and supported by numerous case studies, which demonstrate the power and impact of change, The Management Shift offers managers a practical and systemic approach to diagnose leadership issues in their organisation. It then provides an implementation process to shift their mindset and organisational culture to the new level of thinking, performance and ultimately business success. It has taken you a lot of work and dedication to succeed - where does this energy derive from? For many years, I have had a passion for personal development and been doing a lot of personal development work, attending many leading edge courses and reading widely on this, and other areas. That helped me to achieve my own shift and realise that this work is my calling, this is my life purpose. That gives me drive, energy and motivation to pursue my passion and purpose, and it is hugely satisfying to see a practical impact of my ideas. How much you have changed since you arrived in London? I think we all change, grow and adapt on our life journeys. I have been living in London for the last 23 years, and yes, I have changed a lot during that time, but I think I would have changed anyway, regardless of where I lived. However, I believe that living in London, one of the world’s most exciting cities, has brought even more opportunities to learn and develop than I would have experienced somewhere else. How do you remember the first two years in London, and how did you create your new life here? The first two years in London were 100% dedicated to working on my PhD at the London School of Economics. That was the reason I

came to London, and I used every minute of the day to pursue this goal and make the most of that opportunity. The usual time for completing a full time PhD in the UK is three to four years. I completed mine in just over two years. It was a very intense period, but also very rewarding. Upon finishing my dissertation, I received a job offer I could not refuse and that is how my new life in London started. What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a migrant woman? I think challenges that women face are universal, regardless of whether they are a migrant or not. One extra challenge that I had to face was to work extra hard on improving my English language when I arrived here. Having a two hour English lesson per week at school and at the university in Croatia was very different from being immersed into a new life in London and doing a PhD research in English. Interestingly, these days I would find it difficult to do research, and write professional articles and books in the Croatian language. How do you balance your private and professional life? I try to be organised and plan ahead both important work-related events and activities, and quality time with family and friends. I do not always get this right. The last couple of months were especially quite busy with preparing for the book launch and various speaking engagements, but I am now making plans for quality time with friends and family over the Christmas break. The Management Shift talks about the five levels where corporate people operate – at what level is Vlatka presently? My ongoing passion for personal development and research in this area helped me to understand these levels (as described in Chapter 4 of The Management Shift book) and apply this thinking on myself too. I try to walk the talk as much as possible, and I believe my mindset has been anchored at Level 4 for some time. This has helped me substantially to overcome any obstacles that came my way, it has helped me to strengthen my intuition and keep pursuing a goal that feels right, regardless of any setbacks. It has also helped me to apply mindfulness in daily activities, use my skills and time every day to the best of my ability, and understand

that achieving big and important things in life takes time, in the same way as any real change takes time. Like anyone else, I have setbacks and disappointments from time to time that can easily move anyone to a lower level. My immediate reaction is “what would a Level 4/5 person think, do and say in this situation?”, and that helps me significantly to regain balance. When I am presented with any opportunity that I feel will help me grow or do some good, the usual thought that I get is “Why not?” Who has supported you to grow in your personal and professional development? I have been privileged to learn from many inspirational people, either by attending their training courses or reading their books. Few people who stand out that I could mention are Harvard psychologist, Dr Susan Cook-Greuter, Dr. Richard Bandler and Anthony Robbins. Being a single mother and a successful woman in your career, how difficult is this for you? I have always been focused on what I wanted to do and achieve, and that also includes being there for my children and giving them unconditional love and support, as well as pursuing my career. My children are one of the greatest sources of my inspiration. I would not like them to work for an autocratic, uninspiring boss. Being a parent is perhaps the most rewarding and challenging job an adult can have. Over time, I think I improved my juggling and multitasking skills, and I have also set up a support network to balance work with parental responsibilities. What is your next project and how do you make your projects happen? I always have new projects on the horizon, and my ideas are evolving continuously. I am expanding the research from The Management Shift book. I am convinced there will be a new book produced in due course. For now, I am focusing on disseminating ideas from this book, writing blogs and articles, giving talks about this research at various places (such as the House of Commons, Croatian Embassy, Beyond Budgeting Conference, IoD India Global Convention, European HR Directors Summit etc.), spreading positive ripples, encouraging and hopefully inspiring others to do the same.



MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

Annik Rau

Helping people to overcome their fear of public speaking How would you describe your experience of moving from Germany to London? I love London. It wasn’t love at first sight though. When I first came to London, the buzz and constant flow of people everywhere drove me slightly crazy. It was too big, too fast and too loud. Berlin is like a ‘village’ compared to London. A company I worked for temporarily in Berlin offered me a role in London, and of course, there was some romance involved too. So when I packed my little VW Polo with everything I could fit in, I was 200% excited about what was to come. The longer I lived in London, and the more people I met from every corner of the world, the happier I became. London can be such an anti-depressant, truly keeping you happy and on your feet. Who are the people that have supported you during this period? Out of 270,000 German born people who are living in London, I know only two. We just don’t stick together as Germans. The great thing about England is that you share houses, so when I moved into my place in Blackheath, I made friends instantly. People in London take socialising very seriously and this makes it very easy to meet people in pubs, at events or work functions. It felt very smooth leaving all my friends behind. As a matter of fact, I made more new friends in London in the first six months than during my five years living in Berlin. Do you cope easily with changes? In a city like London, you learn to get used to change and it becomes pretty exciting. When you walk down Upper Street in Islington, where I now live, you notice

Annik is a Londoner by choice. In a world where you can choose to live anywhere, London is a pretty magical place to live for Annik. She runs PONY Express – a speaker and pitch training platform for entrepreneurs and for those wanting to play a bigger game. In her world, everyone loves public speaking as much as they love “Unicorns” and “Black Forest” chocolate brownies. Annik says “If I had stayed in Berlin, I don’t think I would be running my own business now. London really inspires you to think bigger and helps you lose many fears because there is always someone out there offering support and solutions.”

new shops and restaurants popping up all the time. Things come and go. Many of my best friends have left London to return home to Barcelona, New Delhi, Warsaw, New York or Dublin. You constantly meet new people and it feels like starting all over again with friendships and business connections on a monthly basis, but you also grow your global network and can always have a place to stay wherever you travel to. On top of that, I got fired twice before

starting my own company, hence you get pretty used to things being different from one day to another. What are the main changes you have gone through in your life and their impact on you? When I was 21, my best friend and I moved from the tiny village where we grew up, to Berlin. Having no jobs but only a flat to live in, we fell in love with whatever we had and made it work. All of our worries and fears are mind generated. We frighten ourselves by creating ‘monsters’ in our minds and then we believe them. At 25, I booked a one way ticket to Sydney to learn English. It was the first time in my life on an airplane and it felt pretty daunting. As soon as I landed, I met another German girl at the airport and started this adventure together. Knowing how to connect with people and build rapport is one of the most powerful things in life. Learning how to do that no matter where in the world you are, is a skill that I highly recommend. Getting a dog recently was also a massive change. At first, I wasn’t quite up for it, but my fiancé is a master at persuading and I am happy I gave in. Roxy, our dog, keeps me company at home and in the office. It has a very healing effect on my public speaking to clients



touch with Germany. The reason for it may be because my life in London is so busy that I often forget about things that really matter. I speak with my family once a month and with my sister on a weekly basis, mostly because she told me off for not calling often. Technology should make it easier to stay connected, but it can also occupy us with trivial things like Twitter feeds or Instagram images. My fiancé and I have to allocate ‘quality time’ in our calendars and schedule calls with Germany or Australia. Where do you see yourself living after 20 years? My fiancé is Australian and runs technology start-ups, and my business is pretty flexible so Sydney or San Francisco might be on the agenda. The most difficult thing in life is to learn to live in the present moment. If you can do that, I don’t think it really matters where you live. If I had my way, it would be a pretty good mix between London and a sunny country. Roxy has a passport too so we shall see where our future takes us.

and helps with putting things into perspective when going for long walks. How do you feel now after spending many years in London? I love London to bits for the possibilities, the fun, and the constant drive to reinvent yourself to stay on top of your game. Two of my highest values are freedom and

variety. I think that if London did not offer all of these, I would move somewhere else. Particularly in business, where there are so many opportunities that you must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. How do you keep contact with your home country? I am actually quite bad at keeping in

What is your biggest dream and what do you do to make your dreams come true? One of my biggest dreams has already come true since starting and running my own business. I always wanted this kind of freedom. Right now it is all about taking my business to the next level: the systems, structure and strategy. I am not naturally good at all these things so mastering them in the not so distant future is going to be fun, exciting and totally out of my comfort zone. In London it is easy to find people supporting you in this business journey, and there are many start-up accelerators and other programmes offering guidance, so there really is no excuse. To achieve your dream you probably need to follow your head and your heart. Enjoy the present moment and have fun with whatever comes your way. Helping as many people as possible to overcome their fear of public speaking is what drives me. It has changed my life, and I know that it can do the same for others too.


my story

MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

Harriet Khataba is a profound example of how women of any upbringing and creed may find success in all they choose to achieve. Harriet is currently the owner and chief operator of the “Her Story Matters” (HSM) and www.HerStoryMatters. com. Her Story Matters is an organisation founded by Harriet, to spotlight and support women from across the globe in an effort to provide awareness and support for women to tell their stories and to emerge as a stronger and more successful individual. This effort would not be possible without the experiences provided to her throughout her life and career.

Harriet Khataba My Story Matters Harriet heralds from East Africa, where she was born and raised in Kenya. As a child, she recognised the hardships of an alternative culture from western influences. Harriet was raised in a large family of six children with separated parents. Her experience guided her into a life navigated by a need to raise the awareness of youth and women in all cultures. Her passion is to aid cultures, to influence understanding and to advance the awareness of misconceptions that lead to suffering through inequality of women in third world communities and in the western culture. Today, driven to make a difference, Harriet Khataba is leading a cause to bring communities together across the globe and at home. We have invited Harriet to share her story and to confirm once more that “her story matters”.

You usually listen to other women’s stories - how about your story? I suppose when you are always the one listening to other stories there is very little room to tell yours. I have on occasion given bits from my stories where appropriate to the conversation but not what I am laying bare on this occasion Our stories start being written by others and then at a stage of our life we decide to take the pen and write it with our hand - when did you start to write your own? I had what others considered a wonderful life and a great job in something that someone else thought I was good at, spending time with people who others thought were the it crowd - on the outside my life was perfect but on the inside it wasn’t. I went through a rough patch where I considered suicide. It didn’t make sense to me because I had everything I wanted but was empty inside. I lived in such great darkness that I was drowning to the point where suicide was the only way out, it seemed to me. I contemplated on the ways to do it, and the pain of my family, especially my mother finding out, which broke me. I was in a dark place until I had a thought, a small thought.

How about starting a women’s organisation? I had no clue how to do it but I was determined to find out and whilst I started my research and the areas that interested me, I realised that slowly I was starting to write my own life and my destiny. I started seeing the possibility of seeing the next day, having renewed hope and the courage to take control. I changed my life, my job, and friends within that transition. During that small time-frame, I was empowered to make my own decisions based on me and not what others thought. What is the most important chapter in the story of your life? When I made the choice to dedicate my life to God and began to know and understand who I am, my identity, my potential, my destiny, and the journey with Her Story Matters organisation. When I focused on helping others, in reality I was helping myself to overcome my own problems and getting to where I am today, my issues now don’t seem to be that bad. Which chapter gave you the best lesson? A few years ago I filmed a series with young people doing extraordinary things in their life. After filming, I had difficulty with the editing and one thing led to another, and I shelved them. Recent-



Who is Harriet?

Harriet Khataba is educated in the fields of Hospitality, Retail and Fashion, with a Degree in Hospitality and Business Management. Harriet has been part of many associations and causes. She has worked with organisations such as Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank as a supervisor and in organisation management. Additionally, Harriet has managed distribution and customer service for companies in retail. She has also thrived in the entertainment industry as well as events. Harriet enjoys the arts as a dance instructor and she regularly organises and acts as MC for many events. Most recently, Harriet has ventured into media, producing quality human interest and youth programmes and promotions. Harriet developed a ten episode series called Trendz, prior to her groundbreaking work with Her Story Matters.

ly I took them out to be edited and will have an opportunity to have them aired together with an FGM (female genital mutilation) documentary (being one of the issues we highlighted by online campaigns with Her Story Matters). The best lesson I had from that was to fight for what I believe in, to never give up and to be my biggest motivator and inspiration as no one else will do it for you. It also taught me about having the right people by your side, to give you sound advice and have the guts to tell you off when you mess up.


Which chapter has been the most painful one? When my father died it was a terrible time for the whole family, and for me it was difficult because I had not seen him in years. Previously I was angry at him for leaving us when I was young. My mother looked after us and did great bringing us up. It was hard seeing her struggle to make things work for us but she did



MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

My partners on Her Story Matters are definitely people I want in my life. I have very dear friends who have been there for me in their own way and I let some stay in my life because the pressure they bring enriches me and helps me become stronger as well as build my character. What are the most positive ‘characters’ of your story who have supported you to write optimistic chapters? My biological mother is most definitely the one character who is largely responsible for who I am. She encouraged me in everything I ever wanted to do and never made me feel like I couldn’t do it. I like to think that most people I have come across have impacted me in a positive way, those who intended otherwise still left a positive in my life I choose to change the negative to the positive. It is the only way to grow. At what stage of your story are you now? I am at a very good place now with regards to identity, I have made peace with the past and eager to see what is coming my way. I am thrilled and excited with life I can’t wait for the day to begin so I can reach someone inspire someone or be a blessing to someone

well and we never lacked for anything. When did you decide to change the page? When I found out about his bad health, I made the choice to forgive him and let go of what I was holding on to. I chose to remember the good and let go of the bad and the relief I felt was amazing. Now I celebrate his life instead. Who are the people that you have decided

to include in the chapters of your life - are these people chosen by your will or something else? I believe people come into our lives for various reasons and nothing is ever by chance. I have many people coming into my life that I would love to stay but I guess time will tell, most importantly I have spiritual parents who have been great - I call them my voice of reason.

Do you have a big picture about your story where is your destination? I have a huge picture ... I want to leave a legacy, to bring 350 million women from around the world in one voice, to fight for those without a voice, to come away from the stigma associated with sharing your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Once we understand that we are all imperfect beings, it makes it easier to embrace our story. I have a platform for women in Her Story Matters, where we encourage each other by sharing stories and being an inspiration to others. In one voice we have an opportunity to overcome limitations placed on us by ourselves and society and open up to possibilities, growth and change. Telling your story is not a weakness - it is courageous and admirable and we want to change the perception associated with any shame in telling one’s story. For more information please visit


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MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

Fardous Bahbouh

What Syrians have taught us about courage and determination BY LELA STRUGA

Fardous Bahbouh is an education and language specialist who has worked at various universities and language institutes in many countries. Born and raised in the small lovely town of Nabik, in the suburb of Damascus in Syria, Fardous had a happy childhood in her large family, and enjoyed the beautiful mountainous scenery and the close bonds with her community. She told me “the great memories of my childhood and the warmth of my family are indeed what keep me going regardless of all hardships”. From an early age, she loved reading and excelled at her studies especially in Maths, Arabic and English. She started reading great works of literature, which offered her a unique insight into various cultures. Her dream of travelling the world and learning more languages was inspired by a verse in the holy Quran stating that our different languages and colours are among God’s signs (Verse 22, Chapter 30). “Among His proofs are the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours. In these, there are signs for the knowledgeable”. Fardous followed her passion for knowledge and her dream of exploring the world. She travelled to the United States to complete her BA. In 2009, she came to London, the Fog city as it is called it in Arabic, to complete her Master in Teaching and Applied Linguistics. She was keen on discovering for herself the beauty of London, and enjoying the multiculturalism and multilingualism of the international city. Fardous also spent about a year learning Turkish in Istanbul.

Do you believe in happiness and what is happiness for you? For me, happiness is about leading a meaningful life. It is about compassion and love. Personally, feeling the presence of God in my life makes it all worthwhile. Everywhere I travel and whatever I am doing, I always know that He is watching over us, and this gives me strength and inspires me to help other people. I also chose a career in teaching and education because I believe in the value of inspiring and empowering people to help them realise their goals. It gives me great joy seeing my students being successful in their different fields and that every one of them is contributing to the community in their own ways. So once we discover what is meaningful for us, we can

then enjoy life and start thinking every day: “This is going to be my best day!”   What was the best happiness that you have experienced?  A family reunion is always a great happiness. I vividly remember going back home after my graduation, seeing my family and friends and sharing with them the joy of my achievement. My family and my friends all over the world are the greatest gift of my life and they all contributed to my success.    When you realise that you are not happy, what do you do in order to change that? I do not allow myself to be unhappy. I usually keep an optimistic outlook on life,

balanced with empathy to all those who are struggling all over the world. If I feel down, I remind myself of all the meaningful things and great people in my life. Also, I am always up for a new challenge and learning new things. As Sarah Lewis says “We thrive not when we have done it all, but when we still have more to do.» For example, I started my career as a teacher and a translator. I then worked as an academic advisor and voice-over artist. I also worked as a teacher trainer and helped many people pursue a teaching career. Now, I am establishing an Arabic Language Centre in London. So far, the entrepreneurial journey has been amazing, and it is keeping me excited and focused. I have chosen the name ‘Arabic Language Jawaher’ because in Arabic, Jawaher means “jewels.” I do believe that languages are precious, and it is priceless to be able to communicate with another person in their native language. The name is attributed to a phenomenal brave Syrian woman who decided to go back to Syria on her own, to be with her three daughters. Jawaher now works as an English teacher at elementary and secondary schools in Syria. She is my hero: her personality, her love and dedication to her daughters and to educating children are great inspirations for me.   What kind of memories do you have from your country – were you happy there? I have very fond memories of Syria. My favourite is walking in the old city of Damascus, and admiring the historical buildings and the small spice shops. Even with the war now, I strongly hold on to my belief that the war will end, and we will rebuild the country and make it as beautiful and magnificent as it



used to be. Looking at the bright side, Syrians have taught me and the whole world a great deal about courage, determination, devotion, patience and creativity. How does the everyday life (the external circumstances) affect your happiness? We do not usually have control over external circumstances, but we can control our

attitudes and try to overcome the challenges we face without losing sight of our goals. It is extremely important to have a vision for our life. We also have to accept that we can’t get all that we desire, and we should appreciate what we have.   What about the people that surround you – is it important for you to be sur-

rounded by happy people? It is important for me to be around kind and understanding people who bring positive energy and optimism. They might be unhappy at some point, but we should always help each other. As I mentioned earlier, loving and meaningful relations are essential, and helping other people reach happiness could be the greatest joy of life.    How do you feel when your beloved friends or family members are not happy and what do you do to help them? I always try my best to help. Whenever I can, I am eager to assist others in finding a solution or changing an unhappy situation. And if there is no immediate solution, I will be there for them to offer comfort and support.    Do you think that happiness is something we have to work hard for, or that we can achieve it easily? Well, life is hard and being happy takes efforts and hard work. I also believe that the harder our goal is, the harder we need to work, and then the greater our sense of achievement will be - as long as we don’t lose our vision, and we are able to eliminate all self-doubt and limiting beliefs. It also requires positive energy, optimism and wisdom. For example, I have recently started cycling professionally. It has been a rewarding and empowering experience. Even though, at some point, I doubted that I could make it and I was concerned that I might fail. However, I did not give up. I had all the determination, perseverance and persistence required to overcome all the difficulties and build more muscles! Finally, when I made it to the top of the first hill, I was super excited. Also, sliding downhill, I loved the feeling that I was flying and free. Since then, the higher and harder the hill is, the more exciting sliding down becomes.   What is your advice about happiness that you would like to share with our readers? My advice to all readers and my motto in life is “Always Smile!” Because no matter how hard the situation may seem, there is always a solution. Compassion is also the key to happiness. Keep on giving and your life will be richer. Happy Holidays!



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Originally from the Ukraine, Lina lived in Russia for over a decade before moving to London and quickly establishing herself as a successful business woman and a great achiever. Lina came to the UK in 2001. She was not able to find a job immediately and was told she was over qualified! Lina decided to take a different approach and set up her own business. In a short period of time and in the middle of the financial crisis she made a career in an industry dominated by men. Apart from running her business and working with clients Lina is well known for providing financial education to businesses and their employees.

Lina Bourdon

I am surrounded with beautiful people who I love If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say today? My younger self always knew that life would find her place in the world but even in her wildest dreams she was not be able to imagine how far she would go! I grew up in a country which does not exist any longer – the Soviet Union. The Western world was a scary beast for us when we were kids. So if someone told me that I would be living in Western Europe and running a business in one of the most special cities on Earth my younger self might have had a nervous breakdown! It is good that life does not tell us more than we need to know! So if I was writing a note to my younger self I would probably advise her to enjoy every single moment as it comes, look at everything life throws at you with curiosity and don’t sweat over the small stuff! How much has your life changed through the years? My life has changed a lot! I was born in a small Ukrainian town no one has heard of and spent the first seven years of my life with

my grandparents. My parents were working so I went to kindergarten. A few weeks after going to kindergarten I got ill. My Granny took me to their village so I could recover, and she never let me back to kindergarten again! I stayed with my grandparents until I had to go to school – this was the best thing that happened to me I think. I spent my early childhood surrounded by nature with people who didn`t try to put me “in a box” and allowed me to be myself. Then I moved to the town where my parents lived and spent the next 10 years of my life there. So for the first seventeen years of my life I lived in places where everyone knows everyone. After I finished school I moved to Russia (which was still at the time part of the Soviet Union) to study law at University. Kalinigrad, the city I lived in for the next 13 years of my life, was huge compared to my childhood town – there were over 800,000 inhabitants there – and it was both challenging and exciting to find your own place among all those people. Today I live and work in London, I call this amazing city my home and at times it does feel like I am in the centre of the Universe! And though

my life has changed dramatically I think deep inside I am still the same – a little girl who loves to be lost in nature What is the biggest decision you have taken in your life? There were many but the most challenging was a decision to set up my own business in the country which I knew very little about, in an industry dominated by men and with no experience whatsoever. Add the biggest financial crises the world has ever seen to the mix and you have a perfect recipe for failure. I had many, many opportunities to throw in the towel and do what seemed logical – find a job. But instead I decided to keep going and make my business work. I am glad I did What makes you proud of yourself? I am a very proud mother! My daughter is the best and the most successful “project” I have been involved with so far. She is 21 now and we are more like two friends than a mother and a daughter. From a very young age she called me “an old wise owl” – I can`t say I agree with the “old” part but overall I



How do you deal with failure and loss? I believe there is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback from which to learn. If something does not go according to a plan then I see it as an opportunity to change and move forward. As about loss – losing physical things and objects does not bother me much. I freely give away what I have. I do find it difficult to deal with the loss of people I love. I`ve lost both of my grandparents in a short period of time – less than 6 months. It happened quite a while ago. They both lived to a ripe old age, but even so I am still very emotional when I talk or think about them. My parents are still with me but I know the day will come when I will have to say good bye to them too. And I have no idea how I will deal with that How do you treat yourself to express self-love? I buy myself presents – books!

Lina Bourdon is the Founder and MD of City & Country Financial Services Ltd, a practice of Independent Financial Advisers based in central London. She has run financial seminars and workshops for a number of years and she was also a part of a project organised by the Financial Services Authority “Money Made Clear”. Among organisations Lina has worked with are: House of Commons, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, UK Border Agency, John Lewis, Zurich, Sony, BUPA, NHS Trusts and Local Government offices to name but a few. Lina holds two Masters Degrees (in Law and Philology) as well as a Diploma in Financial Advice, several qualifications in sales, and she has undertaken an endless list of courses. Lina is a powerful and charismatic speaker who promotes and supports women in business and supports women

like the name. Some time ago she said that she had the best mom she could dream about. It brought tears to my eyes. Well, I might not be the best mom, she is biased! But I am definitely the luckiest one! Do you blame yourself anytime - if yes for what? I don’t blame myself but I am very tough with myself! I am very good at acknowledg-

ing other people`s good deeds and noticing beauty in every human being. But when it comes to myself…… well, I am a human being, a work in progress! I am learning! Do you have regrets in life? No not really. I believe we should regret things we don’t do rather than the things we do do. If I were to die tomorrow I would have no regrets. So far I’ve lived my life to the full.

How do you choose the people who are part of your life? I don’t think I choose people. I rather allow people to be part of my life. Many years ago when I was in my early or mid-twenties I realised that it is impossible to pretend and live the life others expect you to live. So I promised myself to do whatever it takes to discover who I am and to stay true to myself. This discovery is an ongoing process, it never ends! But today I know much more about myself then I did in my twenties. And being myself allowed me attract the right people into my life – be it in business or personal life. I am very lucky, I am surrounded with beautiful people who I love, respect and admire – my husband, my family, my friends, the people I work with, clients and complete strangers. What dream makes you feel scared? I take life as it comes – moment by moment. It is probably strange to say something like this but I do not have grand dreams. I live in the present and try to enjoy every tiny bit of it. Huge success probably scares me more than anything but I have long way to go to worry about that! I told you I am very tough when it comes to myself!



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Turning Failure into Opportunity and Let Your Dreams Soar High Once a little girl with just some “crazy, unrealistic” dreams, today a woman, empowerment coach, poet and public speaker on topics such as change, war, peace, gender issues, women’s transformation, violence against women, leadership and more. She is a migrant woman of the world who speaks nine languages: Albanian, English, Croatian, Turkish, Hindi, Dari, French, Serbian and Bosnian. This migrant woman doesn’t belong to one place or one country, because she feels at home everywhere she goes. The world is her home. BY REZARTA MATAJ

Shqipe Malushi is a lifetime student of transformation, constantly seeking enlightenment and wisdom. After 34 years of living in the country of freedom, America, where dreams are just on the other side of human fears, she talks about the power of life changing experiences; when one dares to dream big and aim for greater things in life out of the comfort zone, when one lives each day like it is their last on earth. A multi-talented little girl surrounded by closed minded people of a small village in Kosovo was dreaming of big dreams. She says: “I have one thousand and one dreams.” A restless young soul, as she calls her teenage self, who wanted to be free, love and be loved, dance, paint, help others, study arts, music and travel the world, was about to face the biggest challenge at the age of 14 when she said “NO” to the rules that others had set for her and followed her inner voice outside the family’s boundaries. “I ran away from home when I was fourteen years old. I read in a magazine that the singer Tom Jones, from the UK,was helping talented orphans. I considered myself an orphan and I was very talented. I stole my mother’s passport in which she had a visa for Istanbul, and stole my grandfather’s money, about 5000 Dutch Marks, which in 1970 you could buy a house with that money. I hired a taxi driver and headed towards the border. I

disguised myself as a young pregnant woman with a black headscarf, looking like my mother in her passport photo, and just like that I crossed three borders: former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Turkey.” Malushi’s first attempt failed, but failure did not hinder her path to success. That was just the start of many border crossing types of her life journey. The hunger for education and wisdom has shaped the woman she is today, her career and her success. “Initially, I studied pharmacy to follow in the footsteps of my father. He was the first Albanian pharmacist in Kosovo. I hated pharmacy so after two years I studied psychology but, due to my restless soul, I left psychology and switched to study French. I switched again in the Department of Linguistics where I finally graduated in Albanian Language and Literature. As it goes, knowledge was my destined path and in America I was lucky enough to get a scholarship from Sarah Lawrence College. This was one of the top schools where many famous artists such as Yoko Ono, Barbara Walters, Vera Wang, Alice Walker, Joanne Woodward and Allan Gurganeous studied before me. It was Allan, who I met at a freshman party, that got me a scholarship. I graduated from SLC in two and a half years with honors. My major was in writing and literature and I wanted to become a writer and a poet.”



Dancing in the rain (Oct 2010) As Rumi Says, I am not from the East or the West, Tonight I say, I am a pebble in the drizzling rain, I am the East and the West, Traveling through time, not alone Each moment rising and disappearing, I am here in the city of lights, With a dancing heart, in love with You. Who am I, You say? I ask the mirror, each day. Her work is published in many print media such as the New York Sun, Lady Fire (an online magazine), Falcon Flier, Marletta Times, Women’s Day Magazine (New York), USA Today and many others. Her television appearances include FOX 5, CNBC, Channel 13 USA, CNN International, National Television Doordashan in India, TV 21 and National Television Kosovo. The women empowerment coach con-

tinued her Master’s Degree at New York University majoring in Performance Arts, Culture and Tradition. She wanted to learn how to use culture and tradition through performance and tell people’s stories in a way that was more comfortable and natural, free from any classical form of theatre. The fearless big dreamer’s hard work paid off when she got another scholarship from Columbia University to study Leadership and Executive Management, whose skills, she admits, have been the most important factors in the job that she has been doing for the past fifteen years. Her academic experience continued with the completion of many other courses like empowerment coaching, cultural awareness instructor, advanced teaching, methodology instruction, leadership and executive management. For many women, she is considered the light in the dark tunnel. She travels to Afghanistan, Lebanon, India, Kosovo and other countries of war to empower

women and work with children. It only takes a few minutes from browsing on her social website Facebook page to read messages written for her by women from different countries around the world. They write messages of gratitude, give thanks and send much love her way. One of her followers, Elvira Rama, wrote: “Keep looking up. You participate in life changing moments for many! Just keep your head up high.” Another person identified as Prof. Dr. Vibhuti Patel, wrote on her LinkedIn account: “Shqipe is an excellent trainer and resourceful person. She is highly knowledgeable on gender and human rights issues.” Shqipe Malushi’s dream of embracing the world came true when she started living her life to the fullest by helping others do the same. “I see all kinds of people, especially in places of war where their lives are destroyed. I look into my heart and my luggage of experience and there I find a story for everyone. My goal is to encourage women, men and children to overcome difficulties in their lives, create a beautiful vision for their lives and a plan on how they are going to achieve it. People then become hopeful, and I feel so connected to God because I believe that I am meant to do this. Why? Because I love what I do! Every time I have managed to overcome evil, hatred, violence or abuse, I have won over and over again through love. That little girl inside of me wakes up sparking and says: we did it again! I inspire, motivate and influence a positive change in people’s lives, which is only possible through love. Without love, it is impossible.” And if you are one of those people who believe in the power of the universe, you should believe in karma too. Those who believe say that what you give is what you get. Shqipe Malushi is one of them. It was good karma that helped her get up and win over cancer, while at the same time, getting the medical help she needed. Shqipe found herself surrounded by so much love from people all over the world, the people and women she had helped when they were were in need. “Women in Afghanistan gave me so




MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015

much love when they knew that I was not well, and yet I was working with them. Every day they would bring me healthy food, sweets and all kinds of natural medications that they believed would cure me. I never knew where exactly they came from; they never put down their names. There was so much love. In India, I was taken to an Ayurvedic centre called NAVJIVAN (meaning New Life) in Gujarat, where I went through a complete detox through yoga, meditation, change of diet, resting and exercise. In Lebanon, I was under the supervision of Diet Delight Company, which delivered healthy organic meals to my door every morning and I monitored my health with their help. At home, my sister Alida, who is a food expert, cooks healthy foods so she takes care of me. As you can see, a lot of people get involved in my life and with my health because they love me and I love them”. Today, years after her first attempt to escape the sad reality of her hometown with a very long and professional resume, hundreds of friends in many countries of the world, many job experiences, life challenges and obstacles, Shqipe Malushi dares you to dream big. “There is no reason to fear. You can turn failure into an opportunity if you focus on drawing lessons from negative experiences. I encourage women to dream and let their dreams soar high.”

special feature


Keiti Kondi Even little contributions from each one of us are of high value What is your experience of being a migrant at a young age? I see it as an opportunity rather than a difficulty, being a migrant woman at such a young age. I had the possibility to grow up from a personality point of view, as well as professionally. Of course, there were struggles like being far away from my family, or time management difficulties coming from working as a researcher, a Bocconi ambassador (Italian University) and studying for exams at the same time. However, these years have been a great experience for me. I had a great time, and I just want to be proud of what I have achieved, rather than think about the difficulties. What is your study about? Can you tell us more about it? My study is about the mechanisms to lower sex selection abortion, especially through state transfers. I start by analysing the Balkan, as I know the region pretty well, and then move on to the countries where this issue might be relevant due to the high number of migrants. I study both the consequences and the mechanisms to lower it. There is a need for a possible solution to this phenomenon, not just from inside the family, but also from the state, society and institutions, especially in countries where private clinics undergo female abortions even if sex selective abortion is illegal. I am working mainly on the economic and social model of the paper. Then, it will be up to the institutions and the doctors on how to apply it, and if all-inclusive, on a regional level or for the whole country. Education works as a long-term solution, but this is a delicate problem and there is no time to wait, hence a short-term solution is needed. State transfers for mothers to give birth to girls

may be an efficient one. This project has a very humble aim, and it is very important to emancipate our society. Even little contributions from each one of us are of high value in the end. It is better moving one step at a time, than not moving at all. I am very optimistic for this short-term solution. Why did you choose this topic? I came up with the idea for this topic while I was working as a research assistant at Dondena Centre for Research Dynamics. At that point in time, I was involved in other study projects, therefore I did not have the possibility to undergo the study simultaneously. It is a very delicate topic, and I have heard many times in Albania about cases of abortion just because the family wanted a boy instead of a girl. It literally made me sad. So, after I analysed the main reasons for the issue, I decided to do a study not only for the reasons but to try to come up with a solution. In your opinion, what are the factors that may influence this phenomenon? Albania has transformed from a patriarchal society and traditional family to an open society marked by changes in the family structure. This phenomenon is still present, and that is what attracted me most to analyse this topic. How is it possible that this dark side of behaviour still prevails in this society? There are reasons behind this issue such as the traditions, family structure, organisation of society and family, professions, economic circumstances and not just the “I want a boy� mentality. What is the role of your family in

your life? What about the role of your home country? My family is my number one supporter and we are very close to each other. They are my inspiration and are always there for me. They motivate me and taught me to work hard and be optimistic in life. Regarding the role of my home country, let’s say that it has probably made me stronger and very good at multi-tasking. Since we are not members of the EU, we go through a lot of bureaucracy and sometimes I joke by saying that all Albanians living abroad have excellent legal knowledge and skills, taking into account all the documentation we have to go through. What is your ambition for the future? I would love to keep doing research in family economics, development and macroeconomics. I am currently working on a research project where I included Albania as well and, apart from being a job and my passion, this gives me a big satisfaction. You never know where life may take you, but I know for sure that whatever profession I will be doing, I will keep working independently on research.



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my story


A migrant mother’s story of unconditional love for her children I was six years old when my family moved to England to join our father. My daughters were born here. I am British, but I am also immensely proud of my Pakistani cultural heritage. I believe that living in one country while preserving the cultural heritage of another is an advantage because you can take the best out of both cultures. However, children can sometimes suffer from an identity crisis since we all need a sense of belonging. It tends to be the mother’s role to provide that loving environment and a positive understanding of their cultural heritage...



my story

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Pakistani Muslim culture has a sense of community, spirit of sharing and generosity, whilst the western culture gives you the sense of independence and freedom to determine and follow your own destiny. I have tried to instil community values from my cultural background whilst adopting western values of being independent and free so that my daughters can live their life on their own terms. When my children were small, I used to go to my parents house every day for a couple of hours, and my brother and sister would turn up with their kids at the same time. We often sat and ate together. It gave my parents the chance to see all of their children and grandchildren, whilst the kids could play with their cousins. Those were special times of bonding as a family. As my daughters have got older, they have

their own friends. I have encouraged them to do so since ultimately you have to find your own place in the world and develop as a person through friendships and peer groups. Like many parents, I was clear about how I wanted to bring them up. Looking back, I see in them a reflection of my own values. I wanted them to have the freedom to think, do and be whatever they wanted with the backbone of being respectful and kind towards others. It is natural for parents to want to protect their children, and my parents certainly sheltered us from the dark aspects of my own culture. For instance, I had never come across or heard about honour killing until I saw it in the media. I realised that I did the same with my children. When my daughters went to Pakistan, they were shocked that men and women were treated so differently and had to be in separate rooms, and that in some households men were fed before the women. They both felt outraged and a bit depressed about the way in which society was set up. We can have an idealistic view of our culture when we are not living in it. THE MOST DIFFICULT TIME AND THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS A MOTHER BULLYING

One of the most difficult times was when my daughter was being bullied at primary school. I had gone to an exclusively white school, had mostly white friends and two of my brothers married white women, so we have a healthy inter racial family. However, I wanted to send my daughters to a multicultural school. The primary schools that my daughter attended comprised of a large percentage of Muslim children. I found out that a group of girls had decided that since my daughter wore her school uniform, PE skirt and showing her legs, she was not a Muslim, so they initiated a bullying campaign against her, aggressively kicking her bare legs. She didn’t tell me, and at first I assumed the bruises were from falling down since she was an active child. It was my mother who questioned her and also cross questioned her sister when the truth finally came out. I found out who the ring leader was and visited her parents who felt embarrassed. The girl owned up. I had to make the decision if she should stay in the same school because I didn’t want her to be pressured into covering them up. I also didn’t want my daughters to be bullied for wearing their school uniform. I decided that it was better for my chil-



dren to be in an environment that was in line with my own values and I changed their school. DIVORCE

Getting divorced was a particularly difficult period, even more so because I was in my final year at University and had to go through the Court in between giving in essays. I don’t know how I managed. I failed some of my subjects in my Solicitors Finals. Everything seemed to go wrong all at the same time. I lost the comfort of my parents looking after the kids because they had retired and gone back to Pakistan. I ended up putting my older daughter into a boarding school for a short period. All the while, I was worrying about her emotional wellbeing so, after two terms, I decided to take her out because she looked very miserable. On the advice of a friend, I undertook some family counselling. Noreen, my eldest daughter, felt that I had put her into boarding school because I didn’t love her. I can still remember her exact words. That was the most unexpected and shocking thing that I had heard from her. As a mother, when it comes to your children, you have a huge amount of love for them and assume that they know how much you love them - unconditionally and always. But I realised that children can quickly doubt it too, so I made a decision to tell them often how much I loved them. CHANGES

My relationship with my daughters over the years has evolved. I was 21 years old when I had Noreen, and fifteen months later I had Nadia. From the beginning we had a lot of fun and laughter. I used to race the girls. They would pick me up when I came back from work and we would collapse on the sofa, have a big hug with them at either side of me and a brief catch up, both of them talking enthusiastically and loudly at the same time of course! Compared to my sister, I was not strict and embraced their cheekiness since it was a sign of confidence. They often made me laugh with some of their antics. My relationship with my daughters has blossomed and got better and better over the years. It is very different from my relationship with my mother. Noreen decided to tell me about her first crush before she told her best friend. Even now we help each other in choosing outfits. There comes a period when they appreciate how much you do for them and they want to reciprocate. We have enjoyed Christmases where the girls have taken charge,

and I have been ordered to just relax. Slowly and surely the roles have reversed. It has become more of an equal relationship, and it feels good to have a mature relationship with my daughters who are now grown up women themselves. THE ADOLESCENCE

I come from a family of seven siblings. My sister had her children before me, and I remember laughing at my younger brother when he was going through his teenage strops. It is still surprising how stunned you can be when your children learn to say ‘no’, or when they don’t want to be seen with you. I learned from my own parents that when your children are being difficult, you have to spend more quality time with them rather than get into your own drama and expectations of them. That was my strategy and we had a few lunches talking and trying to see things from each other’s perspective. I remember coming back from a two

weeks holiday in Italy with my friends and both the girls actually wanted to go out with me. They had missed me and I laughed and teased them: ‘really, you don’t mind being seen with me, your mother, not cool’. That period didn’t last too long. I think most children come out of their teenage tantrums stage, look back and realise that they were a bit bratty at times. THE BIGGEST LESSON I HAVE LEARNED FROM THEM

I think that the biggest lesson that my children have taught me is love. It is one relationship where love is the only currency. There are certain fundamental relationships where you can never “unlove”, and the one with your children falls into that category. Whether you like it or not, you have to iron out any problems with your children, if you have any, because you cannot live without them. Well, not happily anyway.



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The daughters view of the relationship with their mother

Our mother has been a model for us

NADIA – THE YOUNGEST I have a close relationship with my mother, and we enjoy spending time together. I have always known that my relationship with her was different from other people since she was a young mum, and we were brought up in a sociable environment with lots of fun and laughter. It is a strange thing to say but true – my mother didn’t really fit into any type because she was more liberated, open minded and nonjudgmental than anyone I knew. I remember a gay couple, who were really close friends of my mother, who were babysitting us when we were really small. Another friend of mine was a gay Muslim and wanted to speak to my sister and I about her sexuality when she came out because she had become a family friend. I was introduced to different cultures from an early age and went to all kinds of different weddings and festivals. It was a natural way of acceptance of others via friendships. My mother provided an inclusive environment for us which shaped me as a person. As I got older, my relationship with mother has also grown. We have similar views on politics, and I am inspired by and support her vision for peace. She also encourages me

to take action on my goals. My mother has been a role model for me in many ways. She is very decisive, and will take action and not allow anyone to put her off. She is made of steel and resilience in bringing us up in an environment where there can be clash of cultures. She never weakened to other people’s ignorance or tried to fit in to please others. She is the first person that I will turn to for advice, and the times that she has pushed me outside of my comfort zone I have progressed further. NOREEN – THE ELDEST My mother is a wonderful caring person and we have a strong relationship. Even when I was at university, I would speak to my mother every day without fail. I can talk to her about everything, and I mean everything! We’ve got a lot in common and we can spend hours chatting. I don’t open up to people straight away, and it takes time for me to build relationships and trust. My mother is the only person that I know whom I can talk to about anything. We don’t have any secrets from each other. I find her inspirational, and always turn to her if

I have a challenge because I know that she will help me find a solution, and coach me to overcome any obstacles. My mother has taught me to be open minded, and although she is quite nurturing, she is also one of the strongest people I know. THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF OUR RELATIONSHIP Nadia We are both strong women and sometimes our personalities clash. My mother was brought up with lots of siblings and many rules, and under no circumstances could they answer their parents back. As a result, my mother is very non confrontational. On the contrary, I was encouraged by her to be expressive, have opinions and a strong voice. At times, I can come across as domineering and my way of persuading my mother is to use that strong voice, particularly when I think I am right. Sometimes, I feel that my mother stops listening to me because she thinks that I am having a rant. The more I am trying to be heard, the less I am being listened to but if she agrees with me, she will tell me the next day or so when she has had time to digest



the point that I was trying to make. Whereas, if I agree with my mother on something, I will do it straight away without thinking too much about it, because she makes her point clearly without raising her voice. When I am passionately expressing myself, it may seem to others that I am shouting, but I am not: I’ve just got a big mouth! Noreen I have told my mother that when she is old, I will be the one to look after her because we hardly ever argue. Our relationship is quite easy going and relaxed. The biggest challenge is when I am working with her. My mother lives her life on fast forward so she does everything at 100 miles an hour. If she has a business associate that has arrived in the UK, and he has a slot to have a quick meeting, my mother will jump on the train in a whirlwind. By contrast, I will just stand back because I personally cannot cope unless things have been scheduled and have had time to do my preparation. At times, she expects me to be able to do the same as her and it becomes a yo-yo of ‘no I can’t’ ‘yes you can, just get on with it’. I am a planner, and she is a doer. If I stick to what I am good at and she does the same, it is perfect. THE BIGGEST LESSON I HAVE LEARNED FROM MY MOTHER Nadia The biggest lesson is seeing how far she has come from a culture that can be restraining for women, and the positive impact it has had on my own life. I take so many things for granted, and it is only when I see how much I have compared to others that I can appreciate it. My mother would never turn anyone away, and seeing how loyal and dedicated she is in helping those who cannot help themselves, has made me more sensitive to the needs of others. My mother is strong for others and literally pulls them up. Where she can see a solution, she will support and coach her friends step by step. I remember one Christmas when one of her friends had a breakdown and was hospitalised. She cooked Christmas lunch, picked up her friend’s children and we all went to visit and spend some time with my mother’s

friend, on Christmas day, in a psychiatric hospital. This kind of thing would be natural for my mother. As we have got older we tried to persuade her to be a bit more selfish, but she is not easily persuaded when she believes that it is the right thing to do. My mother’s mantra has always been that if you can help someone, you should, because there will be other times that you can’t do anything. If someone is dying of cancer, you can’t help them, but if there is anything you can do, then you should do it. I remember telling my mother, when we were living in Maida Vale, that she should write a letter of complaint to the management company on behalf of one of our neighbours who was being bullied by a cranky and nosey neighbour. It is true what they say that sooner or later you will start to turn into your mother, and I have started behaving similarly. I can see in myself that I have the same compassion towards people that are less able to help themselves. Noreen I used to be shy and reserved, and lacked confidence. I admire my mother’s charismatic personality. She can make anyone like her; she can attract a crowd of friendships. I have seen how, when she has just met someone, that person instantly wants to be her best friend. I think that without people around her, my mother would be a

fish without water. She really is a people’s person. For instance, even in a supermarket queue, if my mother strikes up a conversation she will be talking all the way to the till, whilst I have my head in a magazine. That is why she has always found it easy to be successful. People that she meets love her and want to help her, but she is also a big giver. I have learnt the lesson that life is always more interesting when you know people, whether of your own nationality or not, because it helps you to grow as a person and experience so much more. You have one life and should not waste it, but get involved. For instance, I love animals and I have spent time in animal sanctuaries as a volunteer. I went to Pakistan when I was 18 years old for six months and saw how badly dogs were treated. I used to take our family dog for a walk even though everyone thought I was a bit strange: the girl from England walking a dog in a culture where touching dogs is a taboo, and you have to wash your hands afterwards. Being away from home, I realised that not everyone can do what they want because they have been suppressed or are scared to do things that are deemed to be unacceptable. Through my upbringing and the relationship with my mother, I have found my passions, developed my own individual values and the inner strength to do what I feel is right, even if others don’t agree.



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Allergy and Tolerance An increasing lifestyle disease?

How can you find out what it is that you are reacting to? Are there ways of managing your reactions? Did you know that your hydration levels and stress can influence allergic reactions?

ANNA-CAJSA JOHANSSON Please note that this article contains some personal views and should be considered as a topic for discussion, along with referenced facts, for different ways of relating to a widely used term. It is always advised that you discuss your individual health concerns with your General Practitioner before seeking other advice. I intend only to introduce this topic here and could go to much greater depth in each area. Any request for further information, support or questions with regard to the above, can be sent to

Allergies and various sensitivities are common, and numbers continue to rise every year by 5% according to Allergy UK. Why are we becoming more and more sensitive to the environment we live in and the things we choose to surround ourselves with? It is fair to say that the definitions of the terms allergy, tolerance and sensitivity sometimes aren’t very clear and can differ slightly depending on the group you belong to and your beliefs. An allergy response could take up to 72 hours to appear. Symptoms might include, but are not limited to: skin conditions, bloating, mood swings, headaches, sneezing and lethargy. There are always various degrees of being uncomfortable and that limits us in our daily life. WHAT IS ALLERGY?

Allergy, very simply put, is an altered response to something in your environment. The immune system reacts to a substance

that is seen as harmful. Part of this reaction is due to histamine, which plays an important role in the immune response, as well as regulating the physiological function in the gut and is involved in the inflammatory responses in the body. Heightened levels of histamine are part of the body’s response to allergens: it lowers blood pressure, causes itching, increases production of stomach acid, narrows the bronchi in the lungs and increases permeability of the blood vessels. By classic definition, intolerance creates a reaction in the system to a substance but no immune response is present. In both cases, you are talking about reactions to substances that normally don’t cause a problem for people. The more holistic approach looks at the disturbance of the body’s natural energy flow and balance. Kinesiology talks about substance reaction and tolerance with two different reasons for the reactions. Substance reaction is defined as an altered energy re-



sponse where the body simply does not recognise the substance and reacts on that basis. Tolerance is seen as a metabolic issue where there is a limit, even if very low, to the amount of a certain substance the body is able to deal with at a certain point in time. These levels can vary depending on other factors. Kinesiology considers everything in your environment as possibility for reactions. ALLERGY – HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT WHAT ARE YOU REACTING TO?

The most common ways of testing for allergy is a skin (prick or scratch) test. With a skin test, you prick or scratch the skin then observe any reactions to the substances that are being tested. It’s a fairly invasive process, and in some way limiting in results where the reaction is triggered by inhaling or digesting the substance. As the test shows results in 1520 minutes, you are not able to accurately test for allergic reactions that would have oc-

curred in the 72 hour window. A blood test can be done when a skin test isn’t an option and the result is ready in 7-14 days. In a patch test the substance is left on the skin for 48 hours. This kind of test is often used for eczema, dermatitis and other skin reactions. All patients are tested for common chemicals that are known to likely cause reactions. Vega testing reads the body’s electromagnetic field response to substances. There are other tests too like hair analysis and cytotoxic testing. Kinesiology uses a non-invasive method where a muscle is used to check for difference in resistance when in contact with a substance. Substances vary from food, additives, chemicals, fragrances, common metals, dust, pollens and industrial chemicals, inhalants and others. An avoidance period is usually advised for substances that test up as an issue. The idea is to help clarify the link between the reaction and the substance.


Our response to a substance or food could be different depending on the situation where it is encountered. When moving or changing your environment in any way, you are often faced with a new set of possibilities for allergic reactions. This includes even substances or foods that have never previously caused an issue for you. So how is that possible? Think of the possibilities of the variations in an apple. Where it was grown, what it absorbed while growing in terms of chemicals and pesticides that could have been used, how it was stored and for how long. There are about 7,500 different varieties of apples in the world with unique growing conditions. It is likely that you could have a reaction to some, or one of those, but not to the rest. Strains of wheat used commercially differ from country to country and so will, for example, conditions in dairy farming.



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Stress and negative emotions can have a profound effect on how your body reacts. For example, asthma, hay fever and eczema are partly regulated by hormones and brain chemicals released into the bloodstream in response to stress. In the case of chronic stress, when stress is ongoing for longer periods, the hormone balance can be affected. Long term stress can also increase the risk of inflammation in the body, for example in the airways. WHAT CAN YOU DO?

So what can you do to influence and support your body in the face of allergy and tolerance? Maintain a strong immune function. Good nutrition, appropriate water intake and other factors play a part in this body function. Staying away from processed food, toxins and encouraging habits that help support your body’s detoxification process are

useful tools (please see Migrant Woman November issue – ‘How do we make our lives less toxic?’) Pay attention to your body and mind – this can give you a clue as to where the problem lies. • Do you react more at certain times of the year? • Are the reactions always there when you are at home but never when you go on holiday? • Is there a difference when you spend the day at work? • Do you notice a difference from spending time in air-conditioned environments? • Do you react more in damp or mouldy conditions? • How do you feel after ingesting certain foods or being in contact with certain chemicals?

Do you find that certain foods increase the amount of mucus you produce? Are you sensitive to dust?

Include more foods that are low in histamines and cut out the ones that have high content. Alcohol, sugar, most wheat, processed foods are examples of high levels. Fresh meat and fish, fresh vegetables (except tomatoes), green leafy herbs and most fresh fruit (with some exceptions such as strawberries) are examples of low histamine levels. Antihistamines or steroids are often used to manage allergies. They are chemicals that work to block the immune response in the body. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the body isn’t reacting but rather the reaction is masked by the medication. They can come with side effects like drowsiness, nausea, headaches, insomnia and others. Non-conventional support in this area generally looks to raise your body’s tolerance. Homeopathy, Herbal medicine, and Acupuncture offer various ways of working to help support your body. Bowen Technique, a soft tissue manipulation therapy, has recorded good results in people with asthma and hay fever. Kinesiology uses its approach to work on emotional and stress triggers, looking at diet and the idea of energetic recognition to substances that are an issue. Allergies and sensitivities are on the rise. Are we creating an environment for ourselves, which with external added pressure from pollution, electromagnetics and increased use of chemicals and additives, is detrimental? A research from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) suggests that increase is a result of our immune system changing, a genetic disposition, alongside inactivity, stress, pollution and diet. Antibiotics are also mentioned in the same research due to their reducing effect on gut bacteria and therefore their impact on the immune system. How we live our lives and the environment in which we choose to live change all the time, sometimes rapidly. Any changes made in any part of our lives whether internal, external, environmental or cultural, will have a ripple effect through all of those parts.





MIGRANT WOMAN #8 15 DEC 2014 - 15 JAN 2015


ROCKING YOUR ROLE Jenny Garrett This book goes beneath the surface of what it means to be the Female Breadwinner and drags women kicking and screaming out of the closet. Why? Because, being the Female Breadwinner can fundamentally challenge women’s identity. It is the trigger, catalyst and cause for many complex issues that women have to manage. For a successful family life and career, women must address and examine these internal challenges for their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. THE GIFT OF ADVERSITY Norman Rosenthal The noted research psychiatrist explores how life’s disappointments and difficulties provide us with the lessons we need to become better, bigger, and more resilient human beings. Adversity is an irreducible fact of life. Although we can and should learn from all experiences, both positive and negative best-selling author Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal believes that adversity is by far the best teacher most of us will ever encounter.

Does the sound of your morning alarm fill you with dread? Do you go through life avoiding mirrors at all costs? Do you struggle to remember the last time you really felt happy? If any of the answers are a resounding ‘yes’, it’s time for you to make that ‘Big Leap’. In this accessible, seven-step guide to help you change your life, acclaimed life coach Suzy Greaves offers practical help.

THE TURNING POINT: CREATING RESILIENCE IN A TIME OF EXTREMES Gregg Braden In this compelling new work, bestselling author and visionary author of The God Code and Fractal Time Gregg Braden merges his expertise in leading-edge science with present-day realities to answer the questions on everyone’s minds.

OUT OF THE TRANSYLVANIA NIGHT Aura Imbarus This book explores tyranny and freedom, love, success, and the price paid for misaligned dreams in an epic tale of identity and the human spirit. It is a deftly woven narrative about finding greater meaning and fulfilment in a free world, and an exploration of how social issues affect the human spirit. An incredibly powerful memoir.



the Year PATH TO WISDOM Tony J Selimi You will come away from this book having a deeper understanding of self, freeing yourself from old limiting beliefs that keep you stuck in a rut, and starting to walk a path that leads you to living a meaningful and inspiring life. Inner peace, calmness and clarity are just some of the results you can expect from reading this book. You become effective, productive and live a healthy and balanced life.

DON’T LET YOUR MIND GO Mirela Sula This book conveys the importance of mind by bringing real-life examples and reflections of true stories. Despite the difficulties that you may have had in the past part of your life, regardless of how sad the past may have been, no matter how unlucky you feel in a given moment, all of these conditions can turn into advantages if we learn how to use the manual of the mind.

THE MANAGEMENT SHIFT Vlatka Hlupic Based on leading-edge research supported by numerous case studies, which demonstrate the power and impact of change, The Management Shift offers managers a practical and systemic approach to diagnose leadership issues in their organization. It then provides an implementation process to shift their mindset and organizational culture to the new level of thinking, performance, and ultimately business success.

OF THE BUS INTO A SUPERCAR Baybars Altuntas The joy of the author’s success is much more than personal. His role model has had a stimulating effect on the environment for entrepreneurship in Turkey and beyond. Seasoned advice is one of the most valued assets in any entrepreneurship ecosystem. Readers of this book should note that, as governments worldwide are adopting startup-friendly policies, the tide is turning for start-ups to make an even larger difference in their communities.

SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE IN LEADERSHIP: FROM MANAGER TO LEADER IN YOUR OWN LIFE Sarah Alexander This book provides the reader with the seven inner hallmarks, or foundations, that underpin 21st century leadership. When we have these seven hallmarks in place, we can lead in any capacity. This includes our ability to lead ourselves in our lives. This book will help you in your transition from living your life based on your ego’s thinking, the manager in you, to your True Self’s thinking, the inner leader in you.


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How to Make Your First More than 80 people attended Regent’s University London on 25th November to hear the Turkish Dragon entrepreneuer and best selling author Baybars Altuntas, talk about the secrets of his success and impart some of his wisdom and ideas for would be entreprenuers. Baybars talked about his transformation from travelling by bus and then a BMW within two years (he has written a book about it, ‘Off the Bus, into a BMW’). Baybars created Deulcom, which became a multi-million dollar business for a 400 dollar investment, and is now the largest training school franchise chain in Turkey. He has met with US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and travels the world to speak at conferences and encourage entreprenueralism. Migrant Woman magazine welcomes his regular contributions and wisdom in the the Dear Baybars section, for readers to ask questions related to their business or idea for starting one. The ten key steps that Baybars recommends, to become a millionaire from scratch are: 1. Perceive your environment 2. See what is missing 3. Does your nose smell money? 4. If yes, get your pen and paper 5. Calculate what you may lose 6. Re-control your calculations 7. Are you able to develop yur business model as “earn first, spend later”? 8. Ask everybody 9. Close your ears to negative stimulus 10. Take your risk


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Migrant woman magazine issue 8