Jasmine Nahhas di Florio is the Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships for Education for Employment, a non profit aiming to eradicate youth unemployment in the Middle East North Africa region.
A Rhodes Scholar, Frank Knox Scholar, and Fulbright Scholar, no less, she is a graduate of the University of Alberta, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School.
She has nearly 20 years of experience spanning the non-profit, government, and private sectors. Joining EFE in 2006, she worked closely with the Founder and Chairman on EFE’s start-up.
What does style mean to you?
Style is a form of self-expression, freedom of choice, and a way to highlight inspiring stories of substance. It is an opportunity to celebrate artistic women entrepreneurs who are both local to where I live and from around the world where I travel. Wearing their authentic pieces is a chance to bridge different worlds and celebrate our shared humanity.
Women even in the most difficult circumstances enjoy style – it is not about quantity or cost. I have seen style in the most humble locations."
How important are style and substance in your life?
Women even in the most difficult circumstances enjoy style – it is not about quantity or cost. I have seen style in the most humble locations. Style is also a conduit to exercise my purchasing power by supporting women, fair labor conditions, artisans and small business owners.
My usual style is “come as you are” with an interesting accent. It needs to be versatile and practical so I can go straight from work to the New York streets and subway for all those errands that await.
Style is also a conduit to exercise my purchasing power by supporting women, fair labor conditions, artisans and small business owners."
Please describe a challenging time for you and how you found your strength?
Returning to work within weeks after each of my children was born was the most challenging but also rewarding time for me. I remember getting ready in the dark to take a very early morning flight to Washington, DC, and walking into the boardroom a few hours later with a brown and black shoe. What got me through the relentless demands was my purpose – that I am here to serve youth who deserve a chance to overcome barriers – and that having a job is a privilege that brings dignity and a future for us all.
What are your words of wisdom that you can share to inspire others?
Sometimes we confuse the relationship between gratitude and happiness. Gratitude creates happiness, not the other way around. Starting and ending our days with gratitude takes minutes and can have the biggest impact on our lives. Also, surrounding ourselves with people who are positive and uplifting has greater impact than the things that we have or don’t have in our lives. And cultivating a growth mindset and staying humble helps us to be open to learning and new possibilities – everyone we meet knows something that we don’t. What gives you daily strength and inspiration?
Family and friends. Gratitude. I am also inspired every day by the mission at Education For Employment, where we open doors for young women and men to live out their potential by obtaining valuable skills and starting their first job or their first business. If we can help youth on this journey at a pivotal point in their lives, we leave behind a better world filled with brighter futures.
There are so many! My grandmother was an immigrant and entrepreneur with four children and nine grandchildren, yet she always made me feel like I was the center of her world with her encouragement, stories and humor. My mother, who raised me to feel that I could do anything without pressuring me to live up to external expectations, while she worked, earned her PhD, and raised us with my father working from afar to help support us. Also Dr. Nawal Saadawi, an Egyptian physician, writer, and activist who has campaigned to end women’s human rights abuses for 60 years, unafraid to call out taboos. She remarked: “They said, ‘You are a savage and dangerous woman’. I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous.” We need courageous fighters like that in our world.