Networking with Curiosity and Building Strong Communities: A Conversation with Yasmine Genena

Posted By:
Shalini Singh
April 19, 2023

🌟 WaveMakers is thrilled to bring you an exclusive interview with the amazing Yasmine Genena! From growing up and studying in the US to making her way to Southeast Asia, and then on to Berlin, Yasmine’s career journey has been one of passion, exploration, and self-discovery. 🚀 In her own words, “Just like in life, my story has a lot of things out of my control and also includes many moments of aligning and realigning with my values, and discovering .”Yasmine has remained committed to making a difference in the world, particularly in the community and education space. 🎓 In this interview, she shares with us her insights on her career path so far and what she has learned along the way. So without further ado, let’s dive in and hear from Yasmine herself!

Networking with Curiosity

Yasmine Genena has a unique approach to networking, and it all began with her mother taking her to events at a young age. "My mom really built up my confidence and helped me exercise this ability to meet strangers," she says. 🤝This confidence has helped her throughout her life, especially when she moved to new countries and had to build a network and community from scratch. When she was trying to figure out what she wanted to do after university, she turned to LinkedIn. 💻She used the platform to find people who went to her university and learn about their career paths through informational interviews. She would then reach out to them and ask for a 20-minute call to learn more about what they do. ✨This approach has helped her connect with people and learn about the modern-day professional. Yasmine’s approach is not about finding a job, but about being curious and genuinely interested in the person she’s speaking with. As she says, "People can sense really quickly if you’re kind of using them or you’re just genuinely interested and curious to learn about who they are and share a bit about yourself. The latter creates a much more memorable first impression." 💡So, the next time you’re networking, remember to be curious and interested in the person you’re speaking with.

Building Strong Communities

Yasmine Genena is a also community-building guru, both in her personal life and professionally! 🙌

When asked about the most effective strategies for building a strong online community, she had some great insights to share.

  • It’s important to identify key members who are already active in the community and understand what motivates them, these are your champions. Yasmine believes that connecting with these members and learning from them can help facilitate more activity and engagement with the rest of the community. 🤝
  • Another important strategy is to put out surveys and talk to members regularly to discover if your assumptions are legitimate or not. 📝 By doing this, Yasmine suggests that you can learn what really motivates and connects your community and tailor your approach accordingly.
  • Finally, Yasmine emphasizes the importance of identifying a common thread or passion that unites your community. By establishing prompts or events that cater to this interest, you can attract the right people and foster a more active and engaged community.

As Yasmine puts it, "It’s not just about creating a group of people, but about establishing a shared interest and needs that will bring people together." 🌟 We couldn’t agree more!

While building a successful community is something we all want, measuring success can be tricky. Yasmine explains that the type of community and its purpose will affect how success is measured. For Yasmine, success with her LinkedIn profile is all about having fun and connecting with interesting people, not necessarily about numbers and analytics 🤩. However, for other projects like the award ceremony she organized for tutors, success was measured by various metrics including the number of nominations they received from customers 🏆. Yasmine advises that before starting a community-building initiative, it’s important to think about what is valuable that can be measured and how to measure it. Yasmine also believes that creating a healthy community starts with having a common purpose and making sure that members feel a sense of belonging🤗. As Yasmine put it, "It’s about making sure that anyone that feels this is something they want to be part of can join and can feel comfortable." Building a community takes time, effort, and intention, but with the right approach and measuring success, it can be a fun and fulfilling experience.

Keeping in Touch

Yasmine also shared with us her secret strategies for keeping in touch with her network, including former colleagues, clients, and mentors. 🤝

Yasmine admits that it’s easy to lose touch with people, but she’s found ways that work for her to keep the communication going. One of her strategies is to scroll through her message history on LinkedIn to see who she’s been messaging in the past year and say hello again. She also maintains an email thread with her previous managers, mentors, and university staff, where she updates them on her life every six months. 📧

She also emphasized the importance of figuring out what works for each person when it comes to maintaining relationships. "It can take some time and trial and error, but in the end, the effort is worth it because you never know when this connection or this relationship will lead to something more." 🌎 We hope these strategies and insights from Yasmine have inspired you to maintain and strengthen your relationships with your own key contacts.

Food for Thought

Yasmine also shared with us her top three qualities for effective community leadership.

  • A big-picture mindset, looking beyond the little details, and understanding the bigger meaning behind the project. 🌅
  • The importance of curiosity, being open-minded and being non-judgmental towards others. 🤔
  • Experimentation is crucial in community building, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

In her own words, Yasmine said, "Building community takes time and intentionality. If you’re always in the little details, it’s gonna be hard to see kind of where you’re going.”"🙌 It’s clear that Yasmine is passionate about helping people come together and creating a positive impact.

To sum it up, Yasmine is a true WaveMaker who has undergone the program and come out with a strong sense of self-identity as a leader.💡 She shared with us how the program helped her become more confident in asking for what she wants and needs, as well as how it gave her a sense of belonging and purpose in being involved with organizations that have a mission she cares about. 🚀In Yasmine’s words, "WaveMakers taught me a couple of key things that I really took into action. One is if you don’t ask for something, you don’t know." 💭 As a result, she has been able to initiate and work on projects with WaveMakers even as a volunteer, building her skills and establishing herself as an expert in networking and community building. Thank you, Yasmine, for sharing your journey with us and for being an inspiring WaveMaker alumna! 🌊