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Lilian Mageski

Lilian Mageski

Empowering Women to Take Up Space

Why did you move to the USA?

I am from Recife, Pernambuco, which is in the Northeast of Brazil. I moved to the USA to explore the world, to study, to learn the language and to meet new people from a different culture to my own. I was only supposed to stay here for 6 months, but I've been here since 2007 - I love it here.

What do you like best about the USA and the city that you live in?

At first, I went to Florida, but within a few months I had moved to Boston. At first it was really difficult to get used to the cold weather, given that I was used to the hot climate in Brazil, but then I saw that Boston was an incredible place. It's very peaceful, very family-orientated, and it has the best business opportunities, the best salaries, and the health and education systems are fantastic here! I have lived here for many years now, and I have been able to build a beautiful story here. It is here that I became a mother to my beautiful daughter, Lara Mageski, and I have reinvented myself several times during my time here.

Why did you launch AME, and what is its mission and its vision?

In Brazil, I got a degree in Speech Therapy, but here I took on any work I could in order to establish myself. I worked as a cleaner, a babysitter, a waitress, a nursing assistant, I had so many jobs! Then I started to study and learn about the areas of marketing, advertising and public relations, and I fell in love with the field. I used my communication and leadership skills along with my people skills to work with the Brazilian community here, and in 2014 I discovered what my true mission in this world was. That's when AME, the Association of Women Entrepreneurs, was born. I realised that my purpose was to impact the lives of Brazilian immigrant women who were just like me, and I founded what is now the largest NGO and women’s movement in the USA.

I felt a great need for women to be able to discover resources, connect with one another, and support themselves. There was a need for support, refuge, and social events. In addition to that, I realised that many women had suffered from domestic violence, depression and had dealt with diseases such as breast cancer, and they were left to deal with it alone, without even their family to support them. That's how Familia AME was born.

Our mission is to empower Brazilian entrepreneurial women, who are considered a minority class, by offering them professional and personal support so that they can open, legalise and/or expand their businesses. I want to motivate them to believe in their abilities, develop their skills, exchange experiences, establish themselves as successful professionals and have their businesses prosper within the United States, contributing to the growth of the local economy.

Our vision is to be a reference point for Brazilian women in the United States and around the world who are seeking assistance to establish themselves professionally on American soil, enabling them to become more productive and promising in their careers, and generating benefits for the community in general. We want to prove that when women are united, they reach their goals faster and go further, encouraging mutual help.

Our motto is "Together we are stronger!", and so many women had not only their business impacted by our work, but they were also pulled out of loneliness, depression, and they started to feel strong and to have the courage to say no to situations of abuse and domestic violence.

What's the biggest challenge facing women entrepreneurs in the USA today, and what do they need to do to overcome that challenge?

For migrant women, there is the difficulty with adapting to a new language, a new culture, as well as being far away from her family and her roots. It’s important for these women to understand that they can conquer their space, and that this country has so many opportunities – all she needs to do is grab them when they appear! It's important to persist, to focus, and to use all the tools available to her, and if she does that, she will succeed.

It isn’t easy, and it never will be, but we have two options: to be strong, or to be strong! Immigrant life can be hard, it can be painful, but if we have faith in our ability, then the sky is the limit, and everything is possible.

I always advise people on the importance of networking, too. Having contacts and a social network is so important, and can be used to your advantage, so don’t neglect networking!

If you had a magic wand that would let you change one problem in the world, what would it be?

The problem I would want to solve would be that of violence against women. I work with hundreds and hundreds of women, and I am deeply saddened to see how many of them are stuck in abusive relationships with abusive partners, not just in terms of physical violence, but also in terms of psychological violence. I always say that women should raise other women up, but men should also lift their women up!

What are AME’s plans for 2021 and 2022?

AME currently acts in 11 US states and continues to grow. We want to continue being able to do events and working with women in order to impact more lives and continue to make history. We want to empower as many women as possible through entrepreneurship!

To learn more about what we do, visit our website and social media channels.

Website: www.empreendedoras.org

Instagram: @empreendedorasbrusa / @lilianmageski

I want to end by telling women that: A woman's place is where she wants it to be! Believe in your dreams and the power of fulfilment that exists within each and every one of us.