Jasmine Del Monte’s passion for activism and entrepreneurship is fuelled by her relationships with others who share her priorities. The leadership program Women to Women (W2W) offered her the opportunity to first work with mentors, and later, with young mentees. She believes that by creating supportive environments, women can challenge themselves and each other to act on their ambitions and bring about positive social change. For Jasmine, women’s rights are a crucial part of her professional goals.
For Jasmine, a young entrepreneur with plans to launch a cosmetics business, professional success depends on more than learning skills. It depends on building meaningful relationships. She firmly believes that women can teach, support, and inspire each other as business leaders and activists. “My passion in life is to share the knowledge that I have with other women,” she says. The Women to Women (W2W) leadership program through the U.S. Embassy in Belgium has offered Jasmine the opportunity to hone her skills in entrepreneurship and leadership, and then to pass this knowledge on to others.
Jasmine participated in the W2W program in 2017 as part of a group of young women from ages 15-18 and hailing from 70 different countries. They gathered at a Boston university for workshops, discussion, and lectures. Jasmine explains that “at the end of the program, the participants each had to present their own project and leave with the know-how and the support to implement their action plans in their respective countries.” She appreciated how this diverse group quickly found common ground. “This approach was something I had never experienced before… You’re not being judged for who you are or where you’re from. You’re simply valued for who you are as a woman.”
The W2W program allowed Jasmine to pursue her combined interests in business and women’s rights, and even invited her to return as a mentor and coach. “As an alumni I had the opportunity to participate in preparing the program for other girls.” Jasmine goes on to explain that “the program is meant to empower these young girls and teach them leadership skills.” Ultimately, she would like them to experience what she did as a young participant: “The Women to Women community also feels like a second home to me. I feel like I belong. Together we build this home.”
Jasmine found that close bonds formed during W2W experiences allow young women to feel the confidence to challenge themselves and to explore new ideas: “The other women you meet support you and you support them in return. It was great to be immersed in that particular environment. Nobody was judgemental… One of the most important things was the mutual understanding which allowed the other participants to come out of their comfort zone.” The experience was “very empowering,” she says. “I could not have had it anywhere else.”
Jasmine feels motivated and well-equipped to pursue her goals as an entrepreneur and activist. “I like getting engaged in achieving my dreams – especially advocating for women’s rights to improve women’s situation and role in society, breaking the glass ceiling and achieving equal rights and opportunities, not just in Belgium but also in Europe or all around the world.”
No matter where her career takes her, Jasmine hopes to make a difference. “I have many goals and dreams, and I never stop chasing them. I can’t sit still. Just staying at home is not my thing. My schedule is full and I’m usually very busy,” she says. “Even if my impact is very little, it’s still important.”“I would like to leave my mark.”