Entrepreneurship has been a part of my world since we launched our first business in France in 2010, and we have worked on multiple brands since, in 3 different countries… But politics is very new to me, even though I believe they have a lot in common…
As entrepreneurs, we become leaders within our teams and community, we have to go through lots of ups and downs. Eventually, we learn resilience and how to move forward no matter what…
Politicians need a vision bigger than themselves and over the past few years, as part of the amazing network of Vital Voices, I have had the privilege to meet amazing women active in politics and I learned so much from them.
In this week’s podcast episode and as part of the Woman on a Mission Series, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite women leaders, Joelle Abou Farhat, the founder of FiftyFifty NGO and Jo Branding.
I met Joelle for the first time at the VV100 event in San Fransisco in 2016 and at other events and workshops since then. This interview was recorded in 2019 when we were in Mexico City for a workshop organized by Vital Voices to learn more about how to measure our impact.
I love Joelle’s work and her mission to empower women leaders to be more active in politics in Lebanon. She has extraordinary achievements, including the ones listed below.
In 2010, Joelle founded her own communication agency, which she is currently running under the name of “JO Branding Advertising” specialized in Personal & Political branding for public figures (with a special program for women).
Joelle is the founder of the SMPPD personal assessment program. It’s a personal evaluation done at 5 levels (Socially, Morally, Professionally, Physically, Digitally) with women who aim at reaching higher levels of leadership in Politics.
Joelle has contributed enormously to the huge increase of female candidate numbers in the 2018 parliamentary elections in Lebanon (From 12 candidates in 2009 to one hundred and thirteen candidates in 2018). Joelle and her team were able to empower, encourage, and push a hundred and thirteen women to run for office through different programs and media campaigns.
Joelle is a big supporter of women in politics. In 2012, She co-founded “Women in Front”, an NGO that encourages women to engage in politics aiming at increasing the number of Lebanese women in politics and public life.
In 2019, she decided to restructure the NGO and include men on the board, to support women in reaching equality. She created Fiftyfifty NGO that aims at instating equality at all levels especially in political and public life.
Joelle has managed and supervised more than 15 projects on women’s political empowerment.
She was able to create a network including the 113 candidates for office, in addition to 500 women, supporting the cause and encouraging more women to engage in politics and public life in Lebanon.
Joelle is currently running 2 programs about political empowerment for women, preparing female candidates for the next parliamentary elections scheduled for 2022 and further the forming of a new government with 50% women.
Joelle is knowledgeable in Electoral Systems, Gender Quota, and Political debates techniques. She and her team initiated the 1st political debate on Lebanese TV (LBCI) in 2016, enabling women to debate about political topics with their male counterparts. She is also fighting to reform the electoral law to include women’s quota.
Joelle has also created and hosted a socio-political talk show on MTV called “Ento Min”. It was to 1st political talk show to host in every episode political Leaders from both genders (Male & Female). It was broadcasted ahead of the parliamentary Elections in May 2018.
She is an inspiring woman leader who is supporting other women in politics. This interview is extra special for me as Joelle is the first person that I am interviewing who is active in politics. This is a different world from my usual network of entrepreneurs and I am personally very interested to learn more from Joelle.
Learn more about her activities, vision, and some insights on her personal and professional life in this podcast episode.
Hope you’ll enjoy this interview and get inspired as much as I did.
Stay in touch with Joelle:
Instagram & Facebook: @fiftyfiftylb