Name: Naima Yasin
Age: 35 years old
Current occupation: Head of Secretariat at SAGA and podcast host at A Seat At The Table.
What did you dream about as a child?
I don't really remember. When you are a refugee, there is not much room for dreaming. I remember daily life in a new country with a new language. It was about surviving and settling in, not being sure when to start packing and leaving again.
What key experience impacted you to move in the direction you are moving today?
I always knew I wanted to give back. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the help I've received - no way I could have achieved that on my own. A lot of the credit goes to my mother and the rest of my family, but also to the community that welcomed us. The teachers who came from afar to help with homework, and the friends and family who lent a helping hand when needed. For that reason, I cannot see myself in a position today where I am not using my privilege, voice, and status to empower others.
"80% of my life was used in a corporate setting where I couldn't change much. And the other 20% I spent using my voice and my time on things that actually made me happy. I knew that somehow, I had to align these universes."
What choice you’ve made in your life are you most proud of, and why?
To quit my job in September 2021 without having another lined up. I just knew I needed to do something different with my life. My personal life and my work life were very divided. 80% of my life was used in a corporate setting where I couldn't change much. And the other 20% I spent using my voice and my time on things that actually made me happy. I knew that somehow, I had to align these universes.
What choice has been the easiest, and why?
To quit my job in September 2021. The pandemic and the discovery of a tumour in my body made me question how I was spending my life and time. And whether the choices I had made so far were giving my life meaning - and who was responsible for giving my life meaning. The conclusion was that my work was not fulfilling me. I had to change my usual environment and quit my job without having anything else in place.
What has been the hardest choice you’ve taken, and why?
To say goodbye to my uterus. This choice was associated with a lot of choices in my future, such as carrying my own children. But this was about choosing myself and choosing a life where I wasn't sick.
How do you find inspiration and confidence to step out of your comfort zone?
I find inspiration and confidence from being surrounded by many brave people.
What personal characteristics do people most often use to describe you?
People describe me as tenacious; I accomplish what I set out to do, happy, warm, and a good friend.
How do you feel these unique characteristics have impacted your way in life?
I always try to think that with every step I take, there are a lot of other steps I'm choosing not to take. Every decision we make is a choice against something as much as it is for something else. So, when I look back, I see the steps I've taken clearly because every one of them has been a conscious choice.
” Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and make mistakes. Your guideline should be that every choice is the right one at any given moment.”
What is your best advice to others who would like to feel more comfortable about making personal choices?
Don't be afraid to be vulnerable and make mistakes. Your guideline should be that every choice is the right one at any given moment.
Follow Naima on Instagram @naimayasin.