3 Migrant Women – 3 Reasons to Connect
Stella, Antonia and Ceza are three migrant women in London and their job is connecting women all around the world. They all come from different countries but with a common vision, using the power of networking. Being part of Athena Network and investing for many years on bringing businesswomen together, they are now very popular and well connected women. We met them during one of their training sessions to share with us their experiences.
Stella Fehmi – I enjoy meeting like-minded businesswomen
Stella Fehmi has a Greek Cypriot background and is one of six siblings. Her migrant father came over to Britain in the late 1950s as a carpenter and progressed in his field after working on the Centre Point building in London. As a devoted churchgoer, it was important to him that his children be raised in the Greek Orthodox religion. As with most Mediterranean countries, the family is a big part of everyone’s life and being a member of Athena is almost like another ‘family’ that Stella watches over, as she would with her own family.
I became involved with The Athena Network (a women only networking business organisation) in 2007 when I attended my very first meeting, surrounded by like-minded business women who were so supportive and vibrant. I came away with such inspiration and I knew then that this was something I wanted to be part of!
In March 2010, I purchased the City and West Essex Region. I have steadily grown the groups and now have six networking sessions that take place every month for female professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners in the City of London and West Essex. Despite an unstable financial climate and people saying this was the worst time to buy into a business, we have seen women flourish as they create connections and inspire each other to greater success.
This network embraces every woman, at every stage of their business, whether you’re a new business owner, or have been in business for years, are a home based mum or a city professional. With such great support, training, inspiration and motivation, it is what brings these women repeatedly together every month. Nine years ago on 26th January 2005, a community of female entrepreneurs and business women was launched and it has grown year on year. Like a ‘Silver & Magenta Army’ Athena has launched throughout the UK and in Singapore, placing their high heels in counties and countries where there is a much needed requirement for a community that is committed to both personal and business growth.
Ceza Ouzounian – Having role models really helps
Ceza Ouzounian was born and grew up in London, but she is of Armenian origins. Ceza is an actor and an Arbonne Independent Consultant, growing a business in vegan Skincare and Cosmetics.
I joined Athena recently to help grow my Arbonne business. I found Athena a really friendly and comfortable environment in which to meet other like-minded women, while helping each other grow their business. Opportunity brings these women together to share their businesses and build strong and supportive relationships. It gives us the chance to develop vital skills needed to have successful careers and all this in a non-judgmental and open environment. It is motivating and encouraging to be around other successful women and learn from them and their experiences.
By being successful women in our own businesses we will be setting inspiring examples for the younger generations of women. Coming from an engineering background I know that sometimes the first choice we make isn’t the right choice and it is important for young people to know that change can happen at any time and anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Sometimes you need to follow your heart and really go after the things you want and having role models really helps.
Antonia Chamorro Alvarez – I use networking to increase my personal contacts
Antonia is from Leon, Spain. She came to England in 1997. Antonia lived in Cambridge for a brief period and in 1999 she moved to London, where she has settled with her partner and her two sons. They live in a vibrant community in North London, Stoke Newington.
I have two jobs at the moment, as a local child-minder, and I run my own network marketing business under the umbrella of Utility Warehouse. I became a childminder rather than going back to work for an employer, which doesn’t have such a parent friendly approach.
Through my childminding practice, I met a mum – Tamsin Ford, who is achieving successful results with Utility Warehouse. After helping me to make substantial savings on my household bills, she showed me how the business works. I was inspired by how easy it is to create financial freedom without having to compromise on work or family.
Tamsin introduced me to Athena in April 2012 and I have been a member since. Thanks to Athena, I have been able to grow my Utility Warehouse business and create a wide network of other like-minded women.
I connect with people, mainly one to one, which gives us the opportunity to show our businesses in detail and find out about each other’s aims and how we can help each other. I use networking to increase my personal contacts, and to create strong links with women that can provide me with referrals, as my business grows by word of mouth.