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Meet Trailblazer Jida Nabulsi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jida Nabulsi.

Jida, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started in oil and gas in November 2008 during the financial crisis which was a perfect opportunity for me just graduating from the University of St. Thomas with my bachelors. I spent a solid 10 years in analyst positions where I helped shape corporate strategic decisions on the global and domestic level. Alongside with my corporate experience I also volunteered and became a donor of Amaanah Refugee Services which helped address needs of the migrant community. I am passionate about helping people in any capacity it is something close to my heart and mission in life.

Through my experience in oil and gas I also became an active member and President of the Marine Technology Society which has the largest chapter based in Houston focused on Oil and Gas. Through that I made many connections that led me through my career from Technip, Modec and Exterran.

Late in 2018 I learned about an opportunity to lead Amaanah Refugee Services, an organization I was a part of. After several rounds of interviews I got a call offering me the position and since then I have been drinking from a fire hose.

This wasn’t an easy decision to make going from the structure of corporate to the unstructured nature of the non-profit space. But I felt that I needed something that would feed my soul and not my bank account.

Has it been a smooth road?
The transition has definitely been a challenge for me not having access to all of the experienced professionals that typically handle, accounting, marketing, development and such. But I have been blessed with some exceptional people in the community who have really stepped up to help make that transition smoother and connect me with the right people to further our network and mission.

The reality is that being a woman is challenging sometimes. Even in my corporate experience being a woman in a man’s world especially in oil and gas allowed me to grow thick skin. When I began attending the largest oil trade show in Houston the Oil Technology Conference I was one of few young in the industry. Over 10 years I began to see more women from different backgrounds attending the event and event presenting which a great accomplishment.

My advice to other women is don’t say no to any opportunity even if you think you aren’t qualified. Learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them. The most important is to have a voice for yourself and know your worth. So many times women don’t speak up to ask for that raise, time off, or feel guilty taking time off for family but we shouldn’t. I’m a wife, mom, student, and CEO. Life doesn’t come any crazier than a working mom pursing her MBA while balancing the needs of her family and organization.

I made a mistake when taking this position where I was working 14+ hour days and allowed everyone to contact me at any time of day or night. I got burned out quickly. I had to breakaway. Self-care is important. As much of a workaholic I am I have to take the time to take care of myself.

We’d love to hear more about Amaanah Refugee Services.
Amaanah’s mission is to empower vulnerable populations have access to social and economic equity. Currently the focus is on our Youth Empower Services tutoring program for migrant students. We focus on the ESL students to help with the acquisition of the English language. This program puts tutors in the classroom with teachers and students to help with the needs of the student including English. Through this program we also find that many families of the students need help such as food insecurity, clothing and other basic needs. So we then work with the families which leads into our Women’s Empowerment program.

With the WE program our goal is to build a sense of community for these women. The program helps women to acclimate to their new community. Such services in the past ranged from financial literacy classes, community activities, job placement and other services. We found the sense of belonging is a greater need as many of the women we help are single mothers who struggle.

We are unique because we have the ability to go into the classroom to address the needs of newcomer students. We also welcome partnerships to help provide more in depth and well-rounded services for our community.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
The first is my mother. She is a strong educated woman who literally will do anything to make things work. When I feel down or don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel her insight always brings a new perspective and drive to be better. When things get tough she is ready to roll up her sleeves and get down to work. Not many people could weather a tropical storm and still come out stronger than ever and be positive but she did.

Two other women who inspire me daily are Sara Speer Selber and Sarah Haider. These two women in the Houston community are well connected in the space and are always willing to help. These women are at every event, know the entire room and when brainstorming can go just think of the right connection to be made. These women put the energizer bunny to shame!

When I came into this role Sarah Haider came up to me introduced herself and said we need to meet and since then she has been by my side helping me with everything I need. Upon meeting Sarah Speer Selber she instantly pledged her help in anyway needed to help the organization for the success of the organization! Women supporting women! So beautiful.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Amaanah Refugee Services

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