What country were you born in (if first generation, where is your family from?), and how long have you lived in Cleveland?  

I was born and raised in Albania, a small country in Southeast Europe. I have been living in Cleveland since 2015, which is when I first moved to America.  

What has been the largest challenge in your journey toward personal success?   

My largest challenge has been becoming who I am today, a teacher. I moved to a new country at 44 years old, had to learn English while also providing for my family, and on top of that I had to study for several exams in order to get my teaching license. All the while having to get accustomed to a different society and societal rules. Getting my license and overcoming these obstacles has been my largest challenge and my biggest pride.  

You have been nominated for this recognition by another amazing person, proving that we are so much stronger when we support one another. What is one piece of advice you have for women in your community and all over the world?  

If you are truly passionate about something, whether that be in a professional aspect or not, give it your all. Put in the work, work ethic is crucial. Set clear expectations and goals and make small steps each day to get to that ultimate goal. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! I want the women in my community to know that supporting each other when we need that help impacts the community as a whole and promotes overall growth also.   

 How can the greater Cleveland community encourage, support, and amplify the success of international women?  

There are many international women who own small businesses, which is also intertwined with shopping local and supporting small businesses in our community. There are some amazing women coming up with the most unique ideas to financially profit from their talent, and their success would undoubtedly be amplified by our support. Another form of support would be offering education opportunities to these women, who might be starting to learn English upon moving to the states. Perhaps not all of them can afford to take ESL classes, or maybe they have other responsibilities that keep them from taking these classes. I think international women would really benefit from a program that offers free English classes, and why not have these classes taught by other women?