Our Latest Episode: Magic Exists 🐋
#227 - Leveraging Adversity For the Greater Good, with Yasmine Mustafa of ROAR For Good [REPOST]

May 31, 2022

#227 - Leveraging Adversity For the Greater Good, with Yasmine Mustafa of ROAR For Good [REPOST]
Play Episode

In honor of World Refugee Month (June), we bring back this exceptional conversation with Yasmine Mustafa of ROAR For Good from October 2019.  Yasmine founded ROAR For Good, a mission-driven technology company dedicated to cultivating a safer workplace.


In honor of World Refugee Month (June), we bring back this exceptional conversation with Yasmine Mustafa of ROAR for Good from October 2019. 

Yasmine Mustafa is a champion social entrepreneur, refugee, and immigrant living in the United States. Her own personal experience drove her to build a company that uses technology and focuses on personal safety. 

Yasmine founded ROAR For Good, a mission-driven technology company dedicated to cultivating a safer workplace. Their vision to empower people with technology inspired them to launch their latest product, Always On – an indoor location tracking safety device. Prior to launching ROAR For Good, Yasmine founded and sold her first company, Girl Develop It - Philly, to a prominent marketing firm in Silicon Valley.

In this episode, Yasmine speaks about her passion for leveraging technology for social good, the journey in creating their first prototype safety device with her team, and the reason for their shift from consumer-based to business-based market. Yasmine also shares how a non-tech person like herself built a successful and revolutionary technology company.

SPONSORED BY

 

  -- --

💌 BETTER WORLD WEEKLY NEWSLETTER:

The Better World Weekly is a weekly newsletter written and published by Grow Ensemble Founder and Podcast Host, Cory Ames. For the latest insights, analysis, and inspiration for building a better world, join the 1000s of changemakers and social entrepreneurs from all sectors all over the globe who get this email in their inbox every Monday.

Subscribe >>> https://growensemble.com/newsletter/

-- --

🗣 TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • The story of how Yasmine started a company that protects women
  • Yasmine's experience as a refugee and living in an unsafe environment
  • The process of turning an idea into an actual safety device
  • ROAR's transition and realignment to support consumers
  • The curve cut effect of ROAR's safety devices
  • Yasmine's personal and business development practices

🔗 LINKS MENTIONED:

SUPPORT THE PODCAST:

GROW ENSEMBLE:

ABOUT CORY AMES:

Transcript

Cory Ames  0:00  
Before jumping into this episode of the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast, here's a quick word from our sponsor. At Saybrook University, MBA and DBA degree programs are built for the quadruple bottom line. People: empower others within your organization. Planet: champion environmentally friendly solutions. Profit: increased profit with integrity. And finally, Purpose: when business is guided by purpose, everyone benefits. Saybrook MBA and DBA programs challenge conventional business practices in favor of disruptive innovation and sustainability. Explore a business administration program that is guided by purpose. Learn more at growensemble.com backslash Saybrook. That's growensemble.com backslash Saybrook.

Yasmine Mustafa  0:59  
I would say what pushed me through is – what was really amazing is, everywhere we went and talked to about our mission and our product, we would always get some people that would wait after we finished speaking and pull us aside and talk about an assault that they'd experienced or harassment or dating abuse or violence. And it was at every event no matter what. And I would say the purpose of what we were doing - and I think this for any social impact company is what ultimately drives you at the end - There were emails that whenever things got tough, and I'm like why am I doing this? What the heck am I doing? This is this has taken over my life - is this what I meant to be doing? I would actually go and reread those emails as motivation anytime I got down and anytime things got difficult.

Cory Ames  1:43  
Hey, y'all, it's Cory here with the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast. As always so grateful to have you listening in. Today's episode is one that's coming from the archives, a really exceptional guest to bring back up into the fold. Today's episode is with Yasmine Mustafa, a well accomplished and well awarded social entrepreneur based in Philadelphia. She is the CEO of ROAR For Good. Yasmine and ROAR are dedicated to cultivating safer workplaces with their first focus being on the hospitality industry. Where near 60% of housekeepers report being sexually harassed on the job. Their indoor location tracking safety platform, called Always On, protects staff members, no matter where they are. This conversation particularly pertinent and relevant for this month of June here, last day of May, kicking off June. June is World Refugee month, and Yasmine has a really exceptional story of how she's achieved what she has, after a difficult transition to the United States. She was originally born in Kuwait, her family was forced to leave, to evacuate, as a product to the Gulf War, and she's a refugee here in the US. She ended up graduating from Temple Social Entrepreneurship program while working two part time jobs. And there's tons more information and details to that story, but I highly recommend you check out her two TED talks, where she discusses this exact story. 

Yasmine says she's driven by a desire to leverage technology for social good. And I do believe that ROAR For Good is a very perfect example of that, and in this chat, we discuss the founding story of ROAR For Good. This is not Yasmine's first company, but we also dive into why Roar has pivoted the way that they have in the few years since their inception to make a greater impact and serve a very focused, but different demographic from where they started. We also talk about resilience and resistance that Yasmine has faced on her path to both getting the first prototype for a ROAR's product in her hands and how she's able to accomplish that with the team that she's cultivated, given she doesn't have a technical background herself. But she's a very impressive entrepreneur, she's been generous enough to share her many reflections with us on her social entrepreneurial journey. So I'm excited for you to hear this chat if you didn't hear it way back when this was episode 43. So, there have been some episodes between the original publication and this one - some time has certainly passed. 

But before we dive into this conversation with Yasmine Mustafa, I want to remind you to sign up for the better world weekly newsletter if you haven't yet. We have over 6100 changemakers and innovators getting this email in their inbox every single Monday. These are my thoughts, musings and reflections on the world of social impact, social good, and sustainability. So go to growensemble.com backslash newsletter to get that next email in your inbox. That's growensemble.com backslash newsletter. Alright y'all, here's Yasmine Mustafa from ROAR For Good.

Yasmine Mustafa  5:14  
My name is Yasmine Mustafa. I'm the CEO and co founder of a tech company and start up called ROAR For Good, R O A R, and we are a social impact company focused on cultivating safer workplaces, specifically starting in hospitality for the 58% of housekeepers who experience sexual harassment on the job.

Cory Ames  5:33  
Excellent. And can you tell me a little bit as to how it was that you came there to that defined of an idea, you know, protecting folks in the hospitality industry? And as well as a arena of sexual harassment?

Yasmine Mustafa  5:46  
Sure, yeah. It depends on how far you want me to go. I can go far into childhood, and we talked a little bit about my background, and if you want me to share that? Or I can get into how we started the company ROAR, that initial vision, how we switch to work with safety?

Cory Ames  6:01  
Sure, well, let's, you know, as I do want folks to know, you do have a couple of wonderful TEDx talks, where you do dive into this story of where you've come from, and how you came to America and ultimately starting ROAR For Good. But let's do the latter. We'll let folks dive deeper in themselves. And we'll pick up with something a bit more recent.

Yasmine Mustafa  6:21  
Sure. Yeah. So we started the company, focus on personal safety, five years ago, as of last week, funny enough, and the idea came about-- I had just become an American citizen. So the first thing I did, of course, is get rid of my possessions, put a backpack on and go traveling through South America by myself for six months. And as amazing as it was, everywhere that I went, I just kept meeting women and men that would share really terrible stories of friends who had been attacked or abused or harassed. So then a week after I came back to Philly, my neighbor was raped a block from our apartment building. And that's what led to the idea of ROAR for Good and initially it was, women use self defense tools like pepper spray and tasers, wearable technologies are all the rage, why not combine the two to make them more accessible? And the initial idea was called the Mace-let, mace in a bracelet. And the idea was, you had something that looked attractive on you at all times, if you needed it, it was right there. And if something were to happen, you could push this button, it would dispense pepper spray, and it would send text message links to your friends and family, let him know where you are. 

Did some market research, found that it was a terrible idea. Most women are actually really afraid of existing self defense tools, especially because they have to be very close to the other person in order to deploy it. And most of all, because they're afraid that they'll be overpowered, and their own self defense tool used as a weapon against them. So nixed that idea, eventually came out with what we call Athena, which was our first safety wearable, that was something that looked nice as something that could help ward off an attack by launching a very loud, audible alert, and something that would message friends and family with your location, letting them know where you are. And then we wanted to make sure we got to the core of the issues related to violence against women. So we had this nonprofit connection where we partnered with organizations that would go into schools and teach empathy and consent, and healthy relationships, because we found that that was the core of the issue and reduced harassment and assaults overall. So that was the initial vision of the company.

Cory Ames  8:30  
What do you feel like in your background drew you to want to perhaps solve these problems with, you know, a new device, some sort of new form of technology? Why was your appetite in solving these problems that way?

Yasmine Mustafa  8:44  
Yeah, it's a good question. And I might break your rule in terms of leaving the past behind, but I would say, for the most part, it was just I had lived in very unsafe conditions coming as a refugee learning I was undocumented. I was constantly in this walking on eggshells type of environment where I wasn't sure if somebody was going to find out, I was being exploited at work due to my status and the positions I was in. And I just always had this fear in the back of my mind of being discovered, found out, and and trying to hide my status and where I came from. So I would say, primarily, the company itself evolved as a result of the experiences that I had myself related to those.

But in terms of technology, what's interesting is I don't have a technology background. I'm a non techie running a tech company, still to this day. It led me to start a nonprofit to help women learn how to code, belong to a board to help kids of color learn how to code. But I would say in terms of the biggest challenges that I've faced entering the world of technology, it's being a non technical person founding a technology company. And what's helped me with that, is hiring people much smarter than me to execute on the idea and then surrounding myself with members in my advisory team that know the technology so that as I'm speaking about, "hey, here's the vision, here's what we're looking to do. This is what we want." They can pepper me with questions and make sure that I'm thinking about what the right technical questions that I need to ask if my technical team - like that team hasn't already considered it. So it's a good way to make up for that lack of skill set.

Cory Ames  10:22  
I mean, was there any particular, like, tipping point for you where you did come to the realization like, I'm going to need additional help here? Because I mean, myself, I'm not technical and to be able to come up with a solution that I think you've come up with, I'd be like, I'm not sure if I would even thought that that sort of thing was possible. I feel like I'd have needed a full room of people before I came up with a potential solution. So I'm not sure was there any kind of inflection point where maybe you tried your hand at it in any sort of regard? And then, you know, knew that you needed to corral others around you?

Yasmine Mustafa  10:52  
Yeah, I've always been a tinkerer. Like I would always take things apart when I was little, and try to put them back together. And I would say, 90% of the time, I didn't put them back together. But I was always fascinated with how things work. How did this alarm clock know the time? How does it keep ticking and my vacuum cleaner - I would take it apart and be like, how does it suck up all the stuff? Like what-- how does this actually work? And so I would say that interest definitely helped. But I think more than anything, it's just reading and learning about how technology has helped so many people. How technology is helping people walk again, and see again, and hear again, and feeling like that's a way to provide access to people that might not have it. I'm not going to go into the birth lottery and all that stuff, but that's partially why I really believe in technology and education as equalizers. So when I came up with idea for ROAR, I knew I wouldn't be able to implement it. But if I talked to enough people and learned about what I would need, I could go find those people to help me execute upon it. And that's what I did.

Cory Ames  11:49  
And so what was that process like for you to source that proper team? You know, have you felt very apt and maybe naturally inclined towards hiring and in assembling these, like, person kind of pieces in some way? Or were there any kind of growing pains in that process? 

Yasmine Mustafa  12:06  
Yeah, a lot of growing pains in that process. So I came back from North America, in-- excuse me, South America, in November of 2013. I didn't incorporate the company until September 2014. So I had the idea-- that assault outside my apartment happened a week after I came back. I had an idea for almost a year. And what I did is just talk to a lot of people about it. And that's when I learned I would need some kind of industrial designer, I'd need an electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer, to bring it all together. I met someone who really believed in the idea and helped me develop the very first prototype. It was a circuit board that did launch an alarm and send SMS messages.

And then I took that prototype to an industrial designer, told her what to do, and hired her on a retainer basis to help me get that idea off the ground. She worked with a teacher at an industrial design program. And she had already made several products and brought them to manufacturing and she did this as a side hustle, which worked really well because I wanted to really put some money into it to see if it was feasible in the first place. And I was able to take advantage of the little time she had with the little resources that I had to see if I could bring it to fruition. And then from there, I got accepted into this incubator that allowed me office space and connections to more people that helped me eventually get the funding that I needed to bring on and an electrical and mechanical engineer to take it from very early stage prototype, to get the funding needed to hire the people that would eventually take it to manufacturing and beyond. And two of the main people are still part of this team.

Cory Ames  13:49  
And so you say that was roughly a year between incorporating the company-- is that the similar timeline for when you had the idea to when you had the, maybe a first kind of prototype device in hand?

Yasmine Mustafa  14:02  
No, haha. Well, I mean, I will say the first early prototypes, one was a circuit board. We used 3d printers a lot in terms of the shape of what it would look like. We would actually take those 3d prototypes and go to self defense classes and have woman wear them and have the instructor perform common attacks to see if the women could reach them or not as a way to help us come up with a final design. We did prototypes from Shapeways, which were a little bit more realistic. And then eventually when we brought our manufacturer on and we were going through the EBT DBT PBT process, that was when we had the very first real device that was going to go to customers. So from the idea to when I held the device in my hand, the one that was gonna go out to customers, it was I want to say close to three years.

Cory Ames  14:55  
Did that feel like a significant moment?

Yasmine Mustafa  14:58  
You know, I've never had a kid, I've never done drugs. But I feel like it's got to be as close as you can get. Because I still remember being in China, and they had just finished putting together the assembly line. And they actually let me snap the face of the device on to the housing. And so I technically created the-- I put together the very first Athena. And I held it in my hand right before putting it in the package, and the endorphins, the adrenaline, I never felt anything like that. And it is an amazing, amazing, amazing feeling.

Cory Ames  15:36  
I think that it just the whole trajectory, even to getting to that point, it seems like there's a lot of resilience from yourself. But not only that, just like a lot of resistance in the process? I think there's definitely the tendency, as even an entrepreneur, to maybe want to, like stay close to where your existing skill set is, you know, and so kind of continuing to go through this deep learning process, it seems you did, to like even figure out what you needed to create, you know, even or maybe even to sketch out what might be a potential solution to this problem that you're looking for. I think that's really interesting. And so was there anything that you felt particularly benefited you, that allowed you to maybe push through on that-- that's such a long timeframe, especially with the appetite to start a new business, when you're like, kind of want to hustle, hustle, hustle? Is there anything particularly that helped you to kind of push through to get yourself to that point?

Yasmine Mustafa  16:28  
I will say it was definitely very, very challenging. I don't want to make it seem like it was easy, especially because I feel like one of the biggest mistakes we made is we just hired cheap help because we didn't have a lot of money. So we thought, oh, well you know, they'll learn on the job, we'll have something cheap. But really what happened is prolong the time to execution. So what could have taken maybe three months took nine months, as an example. Even though we saved lots of money, we lost a lot of time. And really coming to appreciate the idea of of hiring experts that are at a premium, but rightfully so, was a hard lesson learned - a necessary lesson - and I'm grateful to have that lesson. But I would say what pushed me through is-- what was really amazing is everywhere we went and talked to you about our mission and our product, we would always get some people that would wait after we finished speaking and pull us aside and talk about an assault that they'd experienced or harassment or dating abuse or violence. And it was at every event no matter what. And I would say the purpose of what we were doing-- and I think this for any social impact company is what ultimately drives you. But there are emails that whenever things got tough, and I'm like why am I doing this? What the heck am I doing? This has taken over my life, is this what I meant to be doing? I would actually go and reread those emails as motivation anytime I got down and anytime things got difficult.

Cory Ames  17:52  
And so you have this device in hand and, you know, different - definitely different from then to today, the company itself and the exact folks that you're targeting to serve, it's been tweaked a little bit, as you mentioned briefly when we started the conversation. And this is ultimately what prompted me to reach out to you, I think I'd been following you on Twitter, I don't remember exact place that I connected with you first and foremost, but saw the update that you pivoted a little bit to serve a slightly different demographic, that being the hospitality industry. Can you talk about this transition a little bit? And you know what the strategic call was in that arena?

Yasmine Mustafa  18:27  
Yeah, sure. Yeah. So the initial mission was to empower women reduce assaults and transform society. And even though we have strategic direction in terms of the product, what I'm really excited about is that we do still get to maintain the same type of vision. And what prompted it is once we started shipping the product in 2017, we saw that our customer acquisition costs tripled. So it just became much more expensive to advertise on social media. And we knew it was going to take a lot of education to get people to understand what the industry was that we were participating in, to learn more about it. But it ended up being just way more costly than we anticipated. And it was just not a sustainable business model. And as much as we wanted to stay in it, we would have run out of business if we would have. So it was right around that same time we started having companies like Comcast and real estate companies come to us to say, "hey, we have employees that travel. Is there any way at all that they can use Athena somehow?" 

So we started exploring b2b in 2018. And then later in the year, about November, we decided to fully focus on workplace safety, starting with hospitality because of two things. One is we saw this study that was released that shared that 58% of housekeepers experienced sexual harassment on the job, that tend to be women of color, immigrants, English is usually their second language. They're groped by guests, guests expose themselves, it's really really horrible what they go through and every day they go to work to put themselves at risk. Imagine being a housekeeper and you're required to clean between 14 to 18 rooms a day, and you open the door never knowing what's on the other side. The mental anguish, the anxiety, and not just how that's realized and work, but how that carries over to their home environment as well, and just the mental capacity. So that was one thing. And then two was that we learned that legislation had become such a problem that legislation had started to pass, forcing hotels to protect them. And part of it was supplying them with panic buttons, or safety wearables. 

So seeing those two, that there was such a great need, and that there was an outside forcing function, forcing this particular industry to have something, a solution in place, we decided to go into that direction. So we started talking to a lot of hotel owners and managers and housekeepers. And what we learned is that, on the business side, the managers and owners were really worried about loss of revenue, whether it was the penalties I might incur as a result of the legislation, other solutions were very, very expensive so what does that going to do to their bottom line? Or if something didn't work, what could that mean in terms of a lawsuit for them? Or that they would have to give? And from the housekeeper side, we learned that the biggest concern is, will it actually work? Will I know that it's working? So if I go into a room and I push the button, how do I know that something's happened? Or how do I know that in the top floor, where there's a roof deck where Wi Fi is not reliable, that alert is gonna go through? So knowing that we decided from the beginning to focus on reliability, making sure it worked no matter what, and then making sure that it was also cost effective as well, which very rarely do you hear that something's better and cheaper. And that was a huge challenge. And I'm really excited to say that our team was able to get there.

Cory Ames  21:53  
Maybe hear it a lot, but not actually making it true. And so, I mean, that all makes tremendous sense from like a business strategy component. But what was the transition from addressing the consumer issue, or serving a consumer market, to serving the b2b market? What was that like for you? You know, perhaps, as far as, you know, personal engagement with the company emotional engagement with the company?

Yasmine Mustafa  22:17  
Really good question. Yeah. I mean, we're still supporting our Athena customers. So you know, it's interesting working on a brand new product, a new direction, while having the remnants of the original one there. So for us, we have to do a complete realignment of the company. So that meant looking at the roles that we have, seeing which ones fit, which ones didn't fit. We have to completely recall the product, the vision mission - mission law related we still had to go from b2c to b2b. So we went through an exercise to start, where the entire team went around and talked about what are the things we are going to stop doing that is not at all related to the new direction? Which was incredibly valuable exercise, and then it was just researching and building. And I just finished raising a round of capital, this new direction, which was challenging, having started something different and raising for something new.

But what's really exciting is we're seeing the fruits of our labor. We're at a point now we're in a handful of hotels, we're hearing feedback that we are indeed better and more cost effective than others. For the first time, we have a sustainable business model, we are helping those in need. And not only are we helping those in need, but they don't have to pay for it - the business pays for it. We have a patent pending on our technology, so we have barriers to entry from that regard. And the sales cycle is a lot shorter. Even though it's b2b it's a lot shorter because of this of this legislation. So we ended up solving for a lot of the challenges that we faced in the b2c model.

Cory Ames  23:49  
It's interesting, because you would think, or maybe just first look, you'd think it'd be like, "Oh, serving the consumers seems to be much more direct to solving the issue that you want to solve." But I think I picked up in one article feature that you had, I can't remember exactly where, but you mentioned the the number of staff that you can impact by obtaining one client, you know, and that's just one account. Right? So I mean, there's hundreds, if not 1000s of staff members, depending on the size of, you know, what kind of hotel or space you're working with, so.

Yasmine Mustafa  24:20  
Yeah, the opportunity to scale is much greater now, instead of selling them one at a time. It's hundreds or even 1000s at a time. And that's what's really cool is just seeing the opportunity to touch so many people. And I don't like the word "touch so many people," actually, the literal meaning of that. I don't like how that sounded. I mean the impact. And what's really cool too is you might have heard about this, interviewing so many social entrepreneurs, is the curb cut effect. So when I learned about this, I was really amazed by it. 

So when sidewalks had to become wheelchair accessible, and they started cutting the curb so that they were able to roll into the sidewalk, what they found out is it actually benefited everybody. It benefited the elderly and benefited other people that were disabled, it benefited anyone pushing a stroller, a bicyclist, and we're finding that the same thing is happening in hotels. This isn't just affecting and impacting the staff in a good way, but guests as well. If you're a guest, and you, for example, this is a case I heard at a recent event, there was a guest that had OD'd - overdosed - and a housekeeper knocked on the door, no one answered, she walked into the room, she saw this guest who had overdosed, she was able to push the button and get help, probably much faster than what otherwise could have happened. So it's really cool to see what the impact of that looks like. And that's just on the second level, not even the direct impact Athena can have. So really exciting to see that.

Cory Ames  25:47  
And so I mean, you have a lot of these really exceptional things developing and y'all have completely committed to this pivot. Where's your focus now? You were mentioning that you've went out and were able to obtain some more capital for this new endeavor, so congrats on that. Where's your focus at this point? Like, which kind of opportunity are you trying to seize?

Yasmine Mustafa  26:08  
Yeah, right now, biggest focus is scale. So we're in a handful of locations, technology's almost there, it's setting everything up. So that we go from deploying at one hotel, to deploying at multiple hotels in any given month, week, day, even. So it's exciting, because it means that we're preparing for growth, we're making sure that we have as much automated as possible, we have the staffing partners, the customer support centers, all that stuff getting in place so that anytime we have a big hotel management company that lands, that we close, we can deploy as quickly as-- I don't want to say pushing the button, it's as easy as that, but getting it to the point where it could be as close as that.

Cory Ames  26:56  
Sure. And I guess, what feels to be kind of the the challenge or pain point in that pursuit of scale that y'all feel like you're trying to dig into at the moment?

Yasmine Mustafa  27:05  
Right now it's getting more resources. So now that we have the funding, it's hiring, so that we can get to that point.

Cory Ames  27:11  
Is there anything in that for you personally, perhaps as a leader of the organization, or as a social entrepreneur yourself that you feel like you need to personally evolve into or develop or work on?

Yasmine Mustafa  27:22  
Yeah, it's business development, that's not something that I've done a lot of, and I started doing a little bit of sales before fundraising. And I'm going to be doing a lot more of that now that that's winding down. So I'm excited for it. It's not something that I have a particular skill set for I don't believe, it's not something I've been trained for, as an example. But I've been listening in as our SVP of sales does his sales calls and go to some meetings. And it's interesting, and I'm excited to learn more about it.

Cory Ames  27:51  
It seems like it may be easier to come from a real kind of deep passion and integration with, you know, the concerns for the company in the concerns for the solution, to then go to learning that the tactics and perhaps techniques of business development and sales. So I imagine you'll do just fine. So can you shed a little insight, you know, it seems as if you've been able to, you know, with your intimate team here, move really rather fast. I know we kinda talked about slow and fast, whatever, But the fact of having, you know, this idea or this problem that you want to solve and manifesting it into what it is now, changing direction slightly, you know, having to actually pivot your demographics, all the prototyping, modeling and everything like that. How do you you manage yourself on a day to day to perhaps focus on you know, what's highest priority? What's going to move you forward next? And I guess what, what does that look like?

Yasmine Mustafa  28:46  
Good question. And it's interesting that you say moving fast, because, you know, I feel like every week feels like two weeks. You know, it's hard to believe that it's September already. But for me, I think about what's keeping me up late at night, whatever that is, I write it down on a piece of paper. And the next day, I will make a list of the top things that I want to get done before I even open my email. Because too often I will, and I'll just get lost in just responding to emails all day and walk out feeling like I've actually accomplished nothing. So whenever I make that list, I make sure there's only three things on that list. Because there's no way I'll probably get anything more done than that. And then if there's anyone that's blocked on my team, I do those first. And then I work on the list to make sure that I'm not a blocker for anything that they're working on.

Cory Ames  29:33  
That's interesting. So two priorities is your personal tasks and projects to move things forward, and how you can help get obstacles and challenges out of your teammates way.

Yasmine Mustafa  29:44  
Yeah. And one thing that's been able to help is all our team meetings, we try to do them on Mondays - it's just one day. I have a meeting day on Monday so that the rest of the week is clear for us to work on whatever the priorities are at the company within that department for that person. And that's been just incredibly valuable versus having-- imagine having your calendar have 30 minutes spaces in between meetings and just going back to back meetings. And they used to be like that. Now it's, okay, internal meetings are all on Mondays. I set my meetings-- I try to also line them up on another day. And that leaves me with free time to to actually work on the business. So it's been very, very helpful as well. I don't always follow it, I try to, sometimes I'm just not able to, but when I do, I feel like I've had a much more productive week.

Cory Ames  30:31  
And so maybe this is something specifically, I mean, that practice of you know, sorting out the highest priorities and looking to accomplish those before other stimulants kind of come in your sphere as the day can get going. Are there any other kind of points of advice or practices that you might recommend to an aspiring social entrepreneur themselves, who's perhaps looking at an idea or problem, that they're interested in putting together a solution for solving? What might you recommend to them?

Yasmine Mustafa  30:58  
The best advice I got, management wise, is the platinum rule. Apparently that's what it's called. So we all abide by the golden rule, treat others the way that you want to be treated, we all grew up hearing that over and over. The platinum rule is treat others the way they want to be treated. It's just a very nuanced word, but that had had such a instrumental effect on my management style. It's not how I think things should be done, because that's the right way and bestowing that on other people. It's how do you like to receive feedback? Oh, you don't like to be praised in public? Oh, do you prefer this type of way of giving feedback, great to know, because then I can do what I need to do to make that person feel like they're cared for and have what they need to do with whatever that they're going to do. So that's been something that in terms of management training, management skills that I picked up that I would say, has been the most valuable. 

And then, I think depending on the social impact work that someone's doing, we're in a space where, especially when we we're consumer related, I heard a lot of horrible stories, true stories, that these very brave women would be vulnerable and share with us. And self care, and making sure that secondhand trauma is not-- there's a way to release it, was really important for us to make sure that we focused on. So unfortunately, I will feel like a hypocrite by saying self care, because I don't do a good job with it all the time. But I feel like the best thing that I have done is take stock of the things that drain me and the things that energize me and do more of the latter versus the former, and every few months assess, okay, what are the things that are draining me and and try to eliminate them, if possible.

Cory Ames  32:47  
Any recent findings that seemed notable to share? 

Yasmine Mustafa  32:50  
Yeah, I recently got into the Oculus Quest. So, if no one's picked it up or played with, definitely try it. Because I've never been a gamer, and what an immersive, amazing experience, especially just the different types of things that you can do. I have traveled around the world using the Oculus Quest now. Of course, that's in quotes. I have not necessarily gone to Morocco, or Croatia, which I would love to visit, or Spain, but I can through certain games or apps that they have do that. I've traveled through space, I've gone skydiving, visited the Galapagos Islands. These are things that I can do right from my living room. And it's been such a great way to release sometimes. It's been it's been a lot of fun. I'm obsessed right now.

Cory Ames  33:38  
Is that virtual reality? 

Yasmine Mustafa  33:41  
Yeah. And the headset is so much more affordable. I think there is a chance that they could take it mainstream, because I think it's a little bit cheaper than a PlayStation even.

Cory Ames  33:50  
Really? Wow, I'll have to dig that up myself and see exactly what it is that you're talking. 

Yasmine Mustafa  33:57  
Yeah, it's gotta be the quest without the wires, because it's such a completely different experience when you just put a headset on. And you don't have to worry about hitting anything.

Cory Ames  34:05  
Yeah, man, wonderful. Awesome, Yasmine. I really appreciate you taking the time here with me on the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast. Before we wrap up, do you feel like there's anything we left out? I know, there's a lot of ways folks can dig into your story elsewhere. 

Yasmine Mustafa  34:21  
Yeah, well, I would love if anyone has any hotel connections or it is in the hospitality industry - we are just getting the word out about what we're doing - for them to reach out to us, especially if they're an HR manager or a sales manager or working in housekeeping or a hotel management company especially. We'd love to tell them about what we're doing and what we can do to help.

Cory Ames  34:40  
Wonderful. All right, and we'll, direct folks for ways to find ROAR For Good at growensemble.com. Thanks again for taking the time. 

All right, y'all. That's a wrap on another episode of the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast. As always so grateful to have you listening in. If you love the show, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts or hit subscribe wherever it is that you get yours. And as well. I want to invite you to sign up for our Better World Weekly newsletter. This is our weekly discussion with our community of social entrepreneurs and changemakers on all things building a better world does the newsletter I write and publish send out myself every single Monday go to growensemble.com backslash newsletter, to join in on that discussion, all things building a better world. Go to growensemble.com backslash newsletter to get the next one in your inbox. And finally, if you know of a company work within a company or run a company that might be interested in sponsoring the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast, we always love starting conversations with potential partners who share our vision of building a better world together. Go to socialentrepreneurship.fm backslash contact. There, you can fill out a quick form, start that conversation with us. And these sorts of partnerships fuel our mission to build a better world together. All right, y'all. Until next time.

Yasmine Mustafa Profile Photo

Yasmine Mustafa

CEO, Co-Founder, Social Entrepreneur

Yasmine Mustafa is a social entrepreneur and the CEO of ROAR For Good. Fueled by a passion to leverage technology for good, she leads the ROAR team in their mission to cultivate safer workplaces and empowered communities.

Dedicated to fostering inclusive opportunities in business and education, Yasmine draws upon her own experiences as an immigrant and woman in tech to create a platform for conversation and igniting change. In addition to ROAR For Good, Yasmine launched the Philadelphia chapter of Girl Develop It (a non-profit providing affordable opportunities for women to learn software development) and serves on the board of Coded by Kids (a non-profit providing free tech education to inner-city youth).

Her role as a leader and advocate has been recognized by the BBC, CNBC’s Upstart 100, Philadelphia Magazine, Philadelphia Business Journal, Technical.ly Philly, and the City of Philadelphia, among others. She is a 2x TedX speaker with a roster of speaking credits that also include SXSW and CES.

Prior to launching ROAR for Good, Yasmine founded and sold her first company to a prominent content marketing firm in Silicon Valley. She graduated summa cum laude from Temple University with a Business Management Degree.