Innovator Insights: CEO of ROAR for Good, Yasmine Mustafa @myasmine
Fun Facts about Yasmine Mustafa, founder and CEO of ROAR for Good, a company that utilizes fashionable, safety accessories, mobile technology and educational programs to empower women to feel safer in cities and college campuses:
- She’s one of six siblings (3 sisters and 2 brothers).
- She wanted to be a professional basketball player.
- She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Temple University in 2006 with an Entrepreneurship degree. She put herself through school and it took her 7 years to finish.
- She was part of the first class of DreamIT Ventures in 2008.
- She holds the record for “Most Innovative Idea” competition awards at Temple University with four wins. Ironically, the concept she actually decided to pursue (123LinkIt) only received an Honorable Mention in 2010.
- 123LinkIt won First Place and $25,000 in cash and prizes in Temple’s Business Plan Competition in 2010.
- She started 123LinkIt (a blog advertising company) in Philadelphia in 2009. The company was acquired in late 2011.
- She was once a Temple University ad model for their MBA program. She doesn’t have an MBA and is not a paid model.
- She’s a Guinness Book of Records holder thanks to RedditGifts.
Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?
Yasmine: I come from an interesting past as many have told me and my journey has driven me to want to make the world a better place. I came to Philadelphia as a refugee when I was 8 years old. I learned how to speak English, assimilate to a new culture, put myself through school, became a citizen and started two companies as well as a non-profit chapter with little resources. I know what it’s like to be told you can’t do it, to be discriminated against, and to plan your dinners at tech events that were serving free pizza. Each of those drove me to want to treat others the way I’d want to be treated and lead others the way I’d want to be led.
Me: What problem would you like solved?
Yasmine: Gender inequality. Numerous studies have shown gender equality would reduce poverty, increase well-being, improve GDP and accelerate economic growth, lower birth mortality, and so much more.
Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?
Yasmine: If I can go back to myself 10 years ago, I would share two pieces of advice. First, let go of being a perfectionist. Life’s too short to beat yourself up and obsess over the tiniest details. And second, it doesn’t matter how much you plan, life will throw a wrench into those plans. Learn how to adapt sooner.
Me: What does success look like for you?
Yasmine: This changes for me every few years. Right now, it’s that we live in a world where self-defense tools are no longer needed. I would love for my current company, ROAR for Good, to go out of business one day because women don’t need to protect themselves.
Me: Who are your heroes?
Yasmine: Malala for obvious reasons.
Me: What is your best discovery?
Yasmine: Headspace and Calm.com meditation apps. I still can’t clear my mind completely but they’ve gotten me as close as possible at the moment.
Me: What is your biggest regret?
Yasmine: To not have dwelled on my regrets sooner. Each challenge and struggle has made me stronger. As tough as they are in the moment, I know I’m going to come out of it as a better person so I’ve shift my mindset to think of them as growth opportunities.
Me: Anything else we should know about (product launch, crowdfunding or marketing campaign, recent interview, job openings..)?
Yasmine: At ROAR for Good, we’ve developed fashionable safety wearables aimed at diminishing attacks against women. As a pending certified B-corp, we will be donating a percentage of proceeds to nonprofits that teach empathy and healthy relationships, which have shown to decrease violence.