International Women's Day - 2021

This year at Sojoourn we have decided to celebrate International Women’s Day by creating a portrait collection. Until the end of March we will showcase the powerful women in and outside of our community.

Many of you have shared your incredible stories, challenges and achievements with us, thank you. 

We are proud to build a diverse community where women can show up in a safe place and get inspired and supported by each other.

Did you know that Sojoourn is run by 2 women?

 

It is a unique company designed for expats by expats. We are a team of 2 passionate and dynamic young women, who have lived abroad and experienced the highs and lows of being an expat. All we want is to help you better integrate in France and to make you feel home.

ALEJANDRA

A communication specialist with the project: “Rights On”, a podcast and content creation around human rights, gender equality and mental health; from Mexico City, but currently living in the Netherlands.

 

Challenge: Suffering from depression, anxiety and having an addictive personality, but she is stronger than ever!

 

Achievements: Helped to safe her best friend’s life by raising 60K USD funds; starting to create awareness about feminism and gender equality.

 

Inspired by: successful women around her, her mom, her ex-boss, her grandma, her friends.

ALEXIA

A trained artist with a strong interest in human rights and environmental topics; from Indonesia but adopted by Australian-Indonesian parents. 

Challenge: Language barrier, her French isn't fluent yet. However, her images sometimes communicate better than words, therefore her artworks can be enjoyed inter-culturally.

Achievements: Her art is used for a good purpose. One of her posters are currently pasted all over Melbourne city to support the refugees who have been in indefinite detention for 8 years; and another one is used for the campaign of releasing children out of offshore detention centers. 

Inspired by: Her mother. She came from a Ukrainian family who had it really tough during the war. She has found her when volunteered in an orphanage in Indonesia, and adopted her!

ANNA

A life-time expat currently living in Germany. She supports expat parents and runs #IamRemarkable workshops to empower underrepresented people; from USA.

Challenge: Juggling family & work.

 

Achievements: Raising three strong, confident outspoken children.

Inspired by: Her grandmother.

EMMANUELLE

A chemical engineer turned into entrepreneur, the founder of Sojoourn. Her mission is helping expats to successfully integrate in France and having an amazing experience abroad; she is from France.

Challenge: Feeling disconnected from the world and not being able to travel. One of the reasons why she has created Sojoourn is to feel surrounded by international open-minded people and to connect to them. A way of traveling in a way! 

Achievements: Having the courage to quit her well-paid job to do something she loves more; having a positive impact on people's lives; experiencing living abroad (in Mexico) for the first time alone in a far and not so safe country. 

Inspired by: Female leaders and entrepreneurs such as Brené Brown (American), Pauline Laigneau (French) and Sheree Rubinstein (Australian).

FARNOUSH

Graphic designer, traveler, volunteer from Iran.

Challenge: Becoming a permanent citizen in France; finding a stable job or developing her own business.

 

Achievements: Her translations have been published in a reputable magazine in Iran; had a lucrative fashion business at the age of 22; did her master's at a high ranked university; speaks fluently and have taught 2 foreign languages; immigrated 2 times; has traveled in Madagascar for 5 months alone and made it back safe and sound in spite of dangerous situations; became a business owner for a second time in a foreign country.

 

Inspired by: Feminists, Serena Williams, expat business owners she has met in France.

GERONE

Yoga and meditation teacher from the Philippines.

Challenge: To make people realize that yoga is for everyBODY, not just for those who are already lean and flexible.

Achievements: Trained and certified in Accessible Yoga, she led yoga classes to assist pregnant women and teach special classes for people with reduced mobility. She is still working with the metropole of Grenoble to give accessible yoga classes.

Inspired by: Dianne Bondy: a social justice activist, author, accessible yoga teacher, and the leader of the Yoga For All movement.

GWLADYS

With a Masters in Inclusive practices and Accessibility for persons with disabilities she helps individuals and organisations to create an inclusive society; she is from Guadeloupe. 

 

Challenge: To make policy makers, governments and stakeholders understand that investing in people with disabilities is worth it and we all benefit from it.

Achievements: Becoming fluent in English and graduating with honours with a degree in linguistics; being the only student of her home island who graduated from the same university; all that she has achieved in her career.

 

Inspired by: Shelly Ann Gajadhar.

HANANE

A pastry chef who moved back to France in 2018 after living in Dubai for 4 years.

Challenge: To open her own pastry shop.

Achievements: Successfully passing the pastry exam in October and working for different companies while changing her life.

Inspired by: Women pastry chefs such as Claire Heitzler, Nina Métayer and other women in entrepreneurship in general.

LORENA

A professional cook at Café Somos and nutritionist; she is from Mexico.

Challenge: To find a place in a profession that is almost ruled only by men and to find balance between her job and her personal life.

Achievements: She has adapted to a different country and culture and she feels proud of the little family that she has created.

Inspired by: Woman in charge or owners of small or big restaurants.

MARTINA

A Czech-Canadian leadership development coach who works with global clients to help bring out the best in them; to help leaders become more self-aware, inclusive and open-minded while creating empowering spaces.

Challenge: Too many of us are operating on auto-pilot, just getting through the day to day; not recognising that we do indeed have an impact on the world around us, through our actions and inaction.

Achievements: In 2015 she completed a world tour as Global Ambassador for an international not for profit; spoke at the United Nations, Summit of the Americas and many more conferences about the need to address major global issues by changing our thoughts, behaviours and actions first and foremost. Her philosophy being that any big problem we see "out there" we can solve by starting within us.

Inspired by: Malala Yousafzai and many strong women like her, committed to their causes and selflessly advocating for a better world.

MELANIE

A fighter for a more fair and equitable world; from the beautiful Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.

Challenge: Believing that the world will one day change for the better!

 

Achievements: Working with some amazing companies and individuals who really care about living in a more inclusive society!

 

Inspired by: Vernā Myers (VP Inclusion Strategy at Netflix) and her mom.

NINA

Yoga and bodywork teacher for anglophones with an Eastern approach; from England.

Challenge: Living at the Croix Rousse in Lyon challenges her to cycle back up the hill every day.

Achievements: Being recommended by her students to new customers.

 

Inspired by: her dad. He’s the most positive genuinely happy person.

RITA

An expat in France for 14 years; entrepreneur: recently launched her company; she is from Lebanon.

Challenge: Growing a company in an uncertain world.

Achievements: Publishing two books at the age of 18 and 19 and leaving a stable job to volunteer abroad.

Inspired by: A lot of people: Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, Simon Sinek, Jacinda Ardern, her parents and her Godfather.

UDITA

A neuroscientist working in Lyon for a pharmaceutical company; she is from India.

Challenge: The constant questions about marriage and why being a 31 year woman still without a family who focuses too much on building a career.

Achievements: Travelling to far-off places all by herself from the age of 19; researching the human brain and eyes for several years; speaking multiple languages and being a liberated independent woman who is proud of being a feminist.

Inspired by: Her German language teacher who has travelled the whole world on a bike.

ZSOFI

With a background in communications and marketing she is the Community Manager of Sojoourn; she ended up in France by following her passion for food and pastry; she is from Hungary.

 

Challenge: Constantly adapt to a changing world, while figuring out one’s identity.

Achievements: Moving to France alone at 23 years old and overcoming the language barrier; changing her career twice.

Inspired by: Eleanor Mills, who turned her sickness into a life-concept and built her business empire.

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Thank you to all the women who came before us, to all the female pioneers who have challenged the status quo and paved the way in education, civil rights, science, art, and so much more.

We stand on the shoulders of countless other women, who have laid the foundation for today’s doors to be finally opened and glass ceilings broken.

Thank you ladies!