Nadia Soufi is the founder of Paris for Her / A City for Her – An international networking community of women business owners, travelers, employees, entrepreneurs, freelancers, post-graduate female students, expats, and locals.
She was born in Dijon, the capital city of the historical Burgundy region in eastern France.
“At an early age, I had the chance to travel abroad and experience other countries and cultures. When I was 20, I moved to Germany for my further studies and then to England. After completing my studies, I started a language services agency (translations, interpretation and events services) in Heidelberg, Germany which I ran for 10 years before moving back to Paris to be closer to my family and also because I was in need of new challenges and some changes,” says Nadia.
Founding Paris for Her
“The Paris for Her / A City for Her project is based on my very own experiences and story. After living 12 years abroad, I decided to move to Paris in 2010. Like many other women, I was dreaming of Paris and all the fantastic business and social opportunities that would await me. Unfortunately, the first months in the City of Lights were far from easy. I moved to Paris as an entrepreneur (which represents a big issue in France if you need to find an apartment, for example). I had no social or professional network (not even a bank account or health insurance card!). Full of enthusiasm, I participated in several business networking events. At that time, everything was much codified and very male-dominated. So I became quite fed up, and quite disappointed.”
“As an interpreter, I also accompanied businessmen and businesswomen during their business trips and meetings. The experience was always the same: whether they stayed one night or one week in Paris, all these businesswomen – who were dreaming of Paris too – always stayed in their hotel room, and even had dinner in front of their computer. Each time I proposed to have a drink out somewhere in Paris, the answer was an unequivocal “yes”, a huge smile and sparkling eyes. That’s how Paris for Her / A City for Her was born for women from around the globe who will no longer simply cross paths but will meet up to talk and share things together. This will be a faster and better way to grow personally and professionally.”
“Today, Paris for Her is an international networking community of women working to build something enriching, inspiring, powerful and impactful that has never been built before: A City for Her,” says Nadia.
More than 3500 women in Paris have already joined this community. It has been growing organically and naturally for the past 3 years.
Nadia says, “New chapters have been founded with the support of our fabulous Community members from all over the world. Brussels for Her, San Francisco for Her, London, Stuttgart, Lausanne and soon in other Cities in the world. We are almost 6000 Ladies! Ladies can reach out now if they would like to open a new chapter in their own City. The platform will be ready and open to all cities next fall.”
“The financial challenge is a big one, the “human challenge” is, I think, even a bigger one,” says Nadia.
“You have to be surrounded by the right people. You can lose a lot of time, money, energy and finally, the faith in your project and in yourself – if you don’t have THE people around you that you can rely on. You don’t need so many persons, just a few, but the right ones.”
“Another challenge is definitely keeping the focus. Keep your vision on the one and only thing, on your goal. You have to look ahead and focus on your goal, which has to be clear and reachable. The more you work on your project, the more people you meet, the more ideas, inspirations, inputs, feedbacks, new thoughts….you will get. That is wonderful but all these feedbacks should serve this one and only goal, your initial goal, the one that you have defined for yourself.”
Nadia says, “One of my biggest failures that I have tried to become multitasking in the wrong way.”
“You have to admit early enough that you are not good in all areas. That is simply not possible. Moreover, if you want to succeed you don’t just have to be good, you have to be better, different, to have a talent, something that others don’t have. That will make the difference. So if you are a talented designer, don’t spend your time trying to become an accountant, a lawyer, or a data scientist.”
“Multitasking doesn’t mean “multi-jobbing”. It means accomplishing several tasks in your own area of expertise. If you want to succeed you need extra human resources who are good at what they do. You need to find the right persons who will complement you and support you. This is I guess, the major lesson I have learned.”