Female Business Leader Interview: Sepideh Nasiri

Tell us about your background and what it is you do?

I’m the CEO and Founder of Women of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Technology, a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the Tech Industry, and a life-time advocate for women, diversity, and inclusion. I’m responsible for the strategy and oversight of Women Of MENA In Tech programs and global operations across 19 cities. As the CEO, much of my work is focused on connecting communities, companies, and individuals to bring change in how we should invest in minorities and immigrants. Through my work I help advance women’s careers in STEM and develop scalable mentorship and community driven programs. Currently, I advise global initiatives such as WeMENA, a program by the World Bank, and TechWomen, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). I mentor many female entrepreneurs and founders in technology around the world and serve as an advisor to many early stage start-ups. Prior to Women Of MENA In Tech, I started my career as a Co-founder and Managing Editor of a digital and print Los Angeles Magazine, and later as the Vice President at Women 2.0.

Going back to your early life experiences, what factors influenced your decision to be a female entrepreneur?

Interestingly enough my father is the person who supported me and pushed me to become whatever and whoever I wanted to be. As a MENA Women growing up, a ” Safe Occupation” was the target and we were told to become a Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer… I think many members of the MENA community can relate to that. But watching my father’s entrepreneurial journey and being surrounded by Innovation in Silicon Valley was just my destiny.

What drives/motivates you? What is your mission?

What drives me is the impact I’m able to create in this world and through the initiatives I get involved in, I’m able to make the world a little bit of a better place for the current and next generation. I have always lived by “If not now then when, if not me then who!”

Tell us more about Women of MENA In Technology?

Women Of MENA In Technology is a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization established in Silicon Valley in 2015 with a mission to close the diversity and gender gap in STEM by connecting, mentoring, educating and elevating Middle Eastern and North African women in STEM globally. We have over 35,000 community members, 90% of whom identify as technical and self-reported as engineers, data scientists, researchers, founders, intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs, innovators and investors.

Join us to elevate, support, and catalyze diverse Women in STEM. Vision: To be the destination for Middle Eastern and North African Women in Tech, where they can learn, inspire, connect, and thrive as a global community Mission: To empower Middle Eastern and North African women and girls around the world to strive in the fields of technology, STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship despite the conventional beliefs, societal pressures, or inequality challenges.

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East