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#MobilizeWomen Recap: The Importance of Storytelling and Living Your Truth

#MobilizeWomen Recap: The Importance of Storytelling and Living Your Truth

#MobilizeWomen is a movement propelled by change makers in business to commit to taking action against gender inequality. Ellevate Network hosted a number of speakers in NYC on June 21st, 2017. This is a recap of part of the event, with the most relevant concepts you can use to take action in your everyday life. Download the Mobilize Women Action Guide here.

Scroll down to watch the full video of this interview.

Do you have a story? According to Zainab Salbi, humanitarian, author, and host of the Nida’a Show and The Zainab Salbi Project, every woman has a story to tell — what they might not have is a platform. In an interview by Claudia Chan, Founder and CEO of S.H.E. Global Media, Zainab expressed why it is so important for women to break their silence and make their stories known.

After growing up in Iraq and moving to the US as a young woman, Zainab felt a responsibility to women around the world who did not have the freedom to raise their voice the way she did.

“I was living in a country now that does provide freedom of expression, freedom of actions — things that were not available for me growing up in Iraq. Many Americans take that freedom for granted. For me, it’s a privilege.”

And so, with a desire to help raise up women who were suffering in war-torn and impoverished countries, Zainab founded Women for Women International. The organization started by helping 33 women affected by the war in Bosnia in 1993, and 20 years later Women For Women had reached 400,000 women and raised $100 million.

“There was nothing special about me [as an entrepreneur]. The only difference I’ve come to realize between those who follow up on their dreams and run with it is not the dream, the idea, or the availability of the issue — it is perseverance. You must be stubborn and a believer in what you’re doing for an idea to manifest.”

Zainab left the organization after 20 years because she felt that as CEO and board member, she was no longer growing, and neither was the company. “I always say I am as proud of leaving Women For Women International as I am proud of founding it,” she said. “That’s hard to admit for a Founder or a CEO; to say, ‘I am no longer growing.’”

This honesty with herself comes from another of her fundamental values — speaking with authenticity and living your truth. An entrepreneur herself, Claudia agreed, pointing out the reason that so many women don’t try to live up to their full potential.

“There’s so much fear wrapped up in all of it,” she said, “To show up authentically with who we really are inside. How do we get rid of that fear? How do we listen and follow our authentic journey?”

“It’s not an easy process,” Zainab answered. She continued by saying that we live in a time where we celebrate perfection and success, but we need to start talking about the challenges that are faced while getting there.

“Everytime I speak my truth, it’s constantly a leap of faith; a moment standing on a cliff. Do I stay in the safety of this unhappy marriage, or unhappy job, or do I jump? [Jumping] entails going through the abyss. We only celebrate the end story — but we need to discuss the abyss as well.”

The abyss, Zainab says, is the story women need to have the courage to tell. We need to hear about the obstacles other women have faced, as well as how they overcame them.

To Claudia, the challenges offer even more than just a story to tell.

“In many ways, obstacles can be blessings if you can pause and see the lesson that they’re teaching you,” Claudia said. “We wouldn’t be interesting if our life was not full of hardship. Transparency is transformational.”

Living your truth as a woman means leading like a woman, too. Women are often taught to act like men in order to succeed in business, but what business and the world need today is something different.

“We need to lead as women, and that entails tapping into our own authentic voices. As we stand up and speak, we need to speak from the core of our values rather than in reaction to what we are against… to speak with integrity, not with anger.”

Zainab calls on women to step up, speak up, and amplify the voices that can’t amplify themselves. “The way I hear what women are saying is like on an old radio, where we had to adjust the dial to hear it.” We all have the capacity to be heard, but it takes courage, and a little help — from women for women.

Now is the best time to invest in yourself. Join the community that is committed to your success, and has your back no matter what. We’ll see you at an upcoming event!