In this edition of our Friday Founder Feature, we caught up with Samantha Rimando, Founder at Assist Her Movement and Assist Her Fund. The goal of the organization is be a resource for women in the workplace to build community, uplift each other, and share their stories.
Here’s what she had to say
1. How did the idea for Assist Her Movement originate?
The idea was inspired after attending two back-to-back events, one actually being a Kaibigan Connection event and the other was a Women in Tech conference in Toronto. I remember thinking, I’ve never even heard of these career paths before. Not necessarily because they were impossible but because I didn’t see someone like myself in those roles (especially when I was younger). In my mind, I considered it not for me.
Being a first-generation Canadian in my family, I understood the struggles and sacrifices my parents endured to secure a future in Canada. It was ingrained from a young age that I needed to find a stable job. When I look back at my career decisions, I reflect on how limited my conversations, resources and examples were.
I wanted to create a space where women could share their experiences of figuring it out while also giving others encouragement and inspiration through mentorship with the tools to navigate their winding journey of finding what paths they want to follow.
Going through school is not cheap and while I did have to apply for student loans, I also heavily relied on grants and bursaries. This is what inspired the launch of our merch brand to help raise money for our Assist Her Fund. It’s our goal to help more students with the expenses they face in post-secondary and assist with removing one extra barrier. We’ve also been able to connect and support small businesses run by women along the way.
2. What obstacles did you encounter when you first started your organization? How did you overcome them?
My number one obstacle was my mindset. When I created AHM, I did not in any way think I was “starting a business”. In fact, I was in full momentum until someone called it a business and all of a sudden I was in my own head. I actually was talking to Rigel about this and she simply said, “don’t call it a business”! Remove that and keep on pushing. I was naturally producing and creating without the pressure of saying it’s for my business. It’s crazy how your personal perspective can affect your creativity.
3. What keeps you motivated?
Even though we’ve had to pivot to virtual connections, I think seeing and hearing the impact we have with members of our community has been a major motivation to continue what we’ve been doing. Hearing their feedback holds me accountable for showing up and continuing to grow and improve. In a time when we’re forced to stay separated from people, it’s a great way to feel connected through the community.
I also love my creative freedom. Of course, there are many other mentorship programs and organizations offering similar events and services but I love that I can curate exactly what I feel is the gap in the needs of my community.
4. For those who are following a similar path, what advice would you give them?
Take the words of Nike and “just do it”. I think a lot of people get caught up in the aesthetics and making sure every detail is covered but sometimes that’s exactly what is stopping you from actually getting started and creating something. If you have an idea, just start. If you get it wrong, you can pivot and that’s the beautiful part of creating your own business. You can continue to adjust, adapt and grow. The momentum from starting will keep you going. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, reach out to others to discuss ideas and be mindful of who you let close to your core. Make sure it’s people who truly align with the values and mission you’re trying to achieve. This will take you a long way!
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