Education may not guarantee wealth and success, but it undoubtedly plays a pivotal role in transforming mindsets and fostering a more prosperous society. The knowledge acquired through education helps individuals to think critically, discern right from wrong, and dismiss superstitions. This transformative power of education is exemplified in the life of Aytakin Aliyeva, the founder of Femigrants, as she defied deeply ingrained cultural practices prevalent in her upbringing.
While there is nothing wrong with adhering to traditions and cultural practices, they should only be embraced if they contribute positively to society. Aytakin is from Lankaran, a small town in the southern part of Azerbaijan, where the influence of neighboring Iran is palpable. Regrettably, societal norms in this region hinder women’s progress, such as the expectation for women to marry at the tender, impressionable age of 16.
In such a community, breaking away from these norms is akin to committing a sin, particularly for the older generation, who have become accustomed to the deeply ingrained norms. However, Aytakin was fortunate to have parents who opposed these societal expectations. Her highly educated parents possessed the courage to challenge these norms, motivated by a desire to secure a better future for their children.
From adversity to achievements – Aytakin Aliyeva’s inspiring triumph over societal pressures
Throughout Aytakin’s educational journey, her parents remained unwavering in their support, encouraging her to pursue an international degree. That’s what motivated her to move to the US with the ambition of getting a better education. She got a degree in Mass Communication and Media from Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. However, her quest for knowledge continues as she has obtained several additional certificates and completed numerous courses.
Despite possessing a professional degree and enjoying a fulfilling job in her hometown, Aytakin made the bold decision to relocate to the United States and embark on a career in new media. Starting from scratch again presented a multitude of challenges and hardships for her – but as the saying goes, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”
With only 300 dollars, Aytakin had to apply for several entry-level jobs such as receptionist, babysitter, a server at a restaurant, and caretaker of elders but was still jobless for a long period. After seven years of struggling, Aytakin finally achieved her long-cherished dream job, beginning an extraordinary journey toward success. Her accomplishments range from collaborating with Fortune 500 companies to earning double gold awards for immigrant women in 2023, making Aytakin the only female representative from her city to have successfully secured multiple exchange programs for studying in the US.
With a passion for driving change and making a lasting impact that extends beyond financial success, Aytakin took the initiative to establish Femigrants, a non-profit organization. Through this community, she provides immigrant women with invaluable networking opportunities and career resources.
Aytakin Aliyeva’s Femigrants Journey – Tail blazing leadership and empowering impact
Femigrants stands for female immigrants that is transforming the lives of countless female immigrants since its launch in 2017. What began as a small group of 5-6 friends quickly blossomed into an extraordinary community of over 5000 members in just two years.
Aytakin’s unwavering dedication and passion for helping others pushed her to embark on a mission to understand the challenges faced by immigrant women. She interviewed hundreds of immigrant women to gain invaluable insights into their struggles, triumphs, and the tools they used to overcome adversity and emerge as successful leaders. “There were moments I cried together with Femigrants when I interviewed them as their stories touched my heart,” Aytakin fondly recalls. Her deep empathy and genuine connection with the members of Femigrants served as a driving force, inspiring her to go above and beyond to make a difference in their lives.
With genuine will to help, Aytakin poured her personal income into launching and sustaining Femigrants, yet finding a sustainable business model remained a daunting task. She experimented with various projects, searching for a solution that would allow Femigrants to thrive. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a significant blow to their activities, which primarily revolved around organizing professional networking events aimed at expanding immigrants’ networks and enhancing their visibility.
With unwavering determination and guidance from her mentors, Aytakin made a bold decision to relaunch Femigrants after the pandemic. She understood that the immigrant community needed support now more than ever. Rebuilding the board and teams, securing speakers and sponsors, she rallied her newfound resources to organize two unforgettable events that captured the hearts and minds of all involved.
The demand for these events were so high that registrations had to be closed two days prior due to space limitations. “The world is so noisy now, and it is very hard to get noticed as a non-profit these days,” Aytakin shares. Undeterred, she knocked on hundreds of doors, tirelessly seeking recognition and support for Femigrants. Finally, her efforts paid off when LinkedIn, a globally recognized platform, enthusiastically joined forces with Femigrants, hosting their second-largest event at their prestigious headquarters in Mountain View, California in May 2023.
Aytakin’s exceptional work did not go unnoticed. She achieved global recognition, earning the prestigious double gold award at the Women Changing the World Awards held in London in April 2023. This acknowledgement further solidified her commitment to empowering immigrant women and propelling Femigrants to even greater heights.
Femigrants has touched the lives of thousands of immigrants, offering them opportunities to find employment, establish businesses, secure investors and sponsors, and achieve remarkable career advancements. “We have well-established and closely connected community members,” Aytakin proudly states. Witnessing sponsors supporting each other at one of the events affirmed Aytakin’s belief in the strength and unity of their community. It served as a powerful reminder that together, they can achieve so much more, igniting the desire to expand and grow even larger.