195: Gazelle Hashemian (BluJuniper)

https://open.spotify.com/episode/2fqzreI2Jlm9KROUJwcFdw?si=UOvDJE7IQlaqPvfKZcZTFw

Gazelle Hashemian on Innovation City

“Being idle is never ever an option or a choice for me.”-Gazelle Hashemian

Welcome to Season 6 of Innovation City (The Miami Edition), a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency and Aīre Ventures, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Welcome to Season 6 of Innovation City (The Miami Edition), a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency and Aīre Ventures, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s guest is Gazelle Hashemian, CEO of BluJuniper and co-founder of Blue Turquoise, a nonprofit. Gazelle is a seasoned entrepreneur who believes in taking calculated risks. In this episode, Gazelle sits down with the team to discuss her dedication to investing in female and minority-led businesses, her successes and failures working with startups, and her fulfillment as a human in her nonprofit work.

They discuss:

  • Gazelle’s Superpower
    • Gazelle never takes no for an answer and she knows that there’s always a way.
  • Gazelle’s Origin Story of Resilience
    • Born in Iran, at the age of nine Gazelle witnessed a revolution firsthand. She had to grow up fast.
    • In her early teenage years she lived under tyranny and immigrated to the states at age 15.
  • Career Background & Major Milestones
    • Gazelle wears different hats and has many different roles in life- mother, wife, sister, leader, and investor.
    • Early on, she decided that whatever she wanted to do she wanted to be the best at. She studied electrical engineering at George Mason University and went on to a multifaceted career.
    • Gazelle’s been a software developer, a manager in corporate roles, achieved C-Suite role, and started her own businesses.
    • She joined WE Capital as an investor so she could specifically invest in female-led startup companies.
    • Gazelle’s current role is the CEO of BluJuniper, a small woman-owned business which she founded.
  • Investing
    • When Gazelle looks at companies with potential, she looks at the business plan, validity of the invention, and the products, but most importantly, she looks at the passion and attitude of the founders.
    • She’s working to change the trend that is less favorable to minority-owned, especially women-owned businesses.
  • Being a woman in a C-Suite role
    • When they say you have to work twice as hard as a woman, they mean it. Despite it being difficult, that has never deterred Gazelle from trying, and she hopes it won’t stop other women from trying either.
    • Gazelle believes that we need to keep working so we can reach the point where gender no longer matters.
  • How do you know when it’s time to call it quits with a new startup?
    • Gazelle opened her own startup and had to shut it down. She knew when it was time because she gave herself a timeline. When she didn’t achieve certain milestones, she told herself that would be it.
    • She decided to focus on how to shut it down smoothly instead of trying to save it.
    • 8 out of 10 startups shut down and that’s the reality. Gazelle didn’t let that deter her and she wouldn’t want that to stop anyone else. She believes in taking calculated risks.
  • The Founding of A Nonprofit, Project Turquoise
    • After seeing the iconic photo of the young refugee boy being washed up on the shores of Turkey, Gazelle started working towards founding a nonprofit because she couldn’t stand idle.
    • Gazelle founded Project Turquoise, and it’s been one of the top experiences of her life after motherhood.
    • If there is an opportunity for everyone to visit a refugee camp and be inspired, instilling responsibility and obligation to do better, Gazelle thinks each and every one of us should take it.
    • Project Turquoise is now working on sponsoring Syrian refugees’ college education.
  • How do you humanize, or make the work that you’re doing, contextual to the people you’re supporting?
    • Empathy, which is one of the top qualities of being a good leader.
    • Having empathy doesn’t mean you don’t have high expectations, but you need to be able to relate to someone else and work with that.

Lightning Round:

  • What have you witnessed that has strengthened your strength in humanity?
    • My children
  • If you could run your own country what would it be like?
    It would focus on education, individual responsibility, and freedom.
  • What does success look like to you?
    • The ability to have choices and being able to have options.
  • What do you want to let go of?
    • Some heartaches and hard experiences

Get in Touch with Gazelle

Visit BluJuniper’s website

[email protected]