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

I think the largest challenge we all face is the mental barriers we grow up with. Neither my family nor the society that I grew up in expected me, as a girl, to become a leading professional. And yet I always wanted to lead. The challenge was that my mother had chosen to stay home and the successful women that I encountered early in my career at the United Nations were either single or childless. I had no road map for how to successfully balance family and career. Moving to Cleveland, I decided to let go of expectations and just figure it out. That decision has very much been a personal success. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has painfully doubled the pressures of balancing a family and a career. My hope is that, from this challenge, we will start to change how we choose to support working parents. 

 What is one piece of advice you have for women in your community and all over the world?   

 I would tell women, here and globally, to confidently believe in their own power. I saw this working for the United Nations: women across the globe are ending conflicts, building better communities, and demanding to be treated with equal respect and dignity. In fact, the United Nations has made women’s empowerment a cornerstone of its global action. Because it’s the right thing to do. And because women across the globe are such powerful agents for positive change. Women should believe in their intrinsic value and in the value that they add to society. When you value yourself, it makes it harder for others to not show you respect. 

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

 I find the Cleveland community to be – rightfully – very proud of its immigrant heritage and welcoming to more recent immigrants. I would hope that the Cleveland community would be a bit more forward-looking in supporting the role of international women – and men. This pandemic has shown us how globalized our reality is, and global trends (climate change, migration, other pandemics) will likely impact us more in the future. The international community in Cleveland is helping connect Cleveland to the rest of the world and could do so even more going forward. Global connections will help fuel Cleveland’s growth and vitality. Greater global awareness in the Cleveland community could amplify the success of international women (and men) and enhance Cleveland’s success in general.