Souk Stroll Founder

Asmae Skalli : Founder of a slow fashion online brand

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When Asmae Skalli was a young girl, her curiosity drove her to try many activities from building furniture for her dolls to taking up photography, to even learning new languages. Asmae speaks French, Arabic, English, and Spanish. Although she didn’t have a precise idea about what she wanted to do as a career, Asmae was raised to explore new paths that grow her personally and professionally and to believe that she is capable of achieving anything she dreams of.

She is thrilled about currently doing lead marketing with the technology cluster of Montreal, which consists of facilitating synergies between the tech players in the upcoming tech ecosystem of Quebec. Yet, a few years ago, this was not an option that she was considering, probably because of stereotypes presented at school and in society. So, after business school where she graduated in Strategy and Marketing, her first job was in marketing strategy consulting where she learned solid foundations in strategy. After that, she decided to move to Canada where she took a role of marketing manager for a luxury concierge firm, where she spent three years building their Asian market expansion and brand strategy. But after those three years, she started to feel that her work was only benefiting the world’s wealthy, so she started to explore other industries that would positively impact a wider population as well as have a strong innovative drive. That's how she got into the technology and STEM space.

The biggest barrier she faced when she founded SoukStroll.com was self-doubt. At times, she doubted that she could build a brand, manage it, make it profitable and be able to impact the artisan community in Morocco. But once she let go of her fears of failing, everything else was relatively easy to handle, from financing the project to working with male artisans and setting up the business. Her experience taught her that even in more conservative countries when male colleagues see your drive and capabilities, they often trust you and empower you. Simply trusting herself more, stating her fears loud and clear, journaling, meditating, practicing yoga, and being more conscious of her own mental barriers has helped her. Asmae has invested more time in building habits that allowed her to create balance in her life like spending time with family and friends and having a healthy lifestyle.

It has been only three years since she entered the technology space and there is a louder conversation about changing the narrative for women in tech. For example, in Canada, Ubisoft and other major tech players are investing time and funds in the #femmesentech movement, which empowers more women to enter this space. And it's only one of the amazing initiatives that exist.  Asmae encourages women to choose a career in tech because they can explore their passion field while being in tech, just like what Asmae did with SoukStroll.

Asmae is also currently leading the creation of Humanitek, the first technology think tank. The mission is to assess emerging technologies and understand how they will impact Canadian societal life. But as much as she loves what she does, Asmae occasionally finds it overwhelming to see her roles growing and becoming more strategic. Another big challenge is struggling to find more time to advance her dream of becoming a yoga teacher by the end of 2019.