Have you ever met Salem and do you want to meet Salem? Oh my! The enthusiasm that flows from her is just enthusiastically beautiful! I’m not telling you more. Get down there and read some more about the highly illustrious Salem.
Hi girl! Hi Salem. Okay, I’m actually excited and I don’t know why but please, tell us about yourself and your studies.
My name is Salem Habte and I’m earning my BBA with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. My interest in business sparked as I watched my parents run our fair trade coffee shop, Revocup Coffee. I’m aspiring to work towards solving socio-economic issues in the U.S. and internationally. In high school, I was in an art program for four years and I’m inspired by visual development for Disney movies. So social entrepreneurship is a new type of creativity for me.
I love playing instruments, camping, coffee, travel experiences, getting to know people, swimming, musicals, and goofing off with my twin sister back home!
Where are you from and how was growing up for you?
I’m from many places! My parents were born and raised in Ethiopia and then moved to San Francisco in the 90’s. My sister and I were born in San Jose, California and lived there for five years, then we moved to Texas, and finally, our family chose to settle in Overland Park, Kansas. I loved growing up there-the people are kind and lovable and I was raised in a community of good values. I was lucky to get such a good education and green environment with happy people.
Interesting! Isn’t that beautiful? Why are you so passionate about entrepreneurship?
I decided to pursue it after talking to my role models about what I would really be happy doing every day: telling stories, learning more about how other people live, and helping others in newer, smarter ways – and they told me business was what I was looking for. Entrepreneurship is really a form of applied creativity and entrepreneurs that really flourish are those who are passionate and willing to extend the limits of what is possible. Social entrepreneurship also gives people from all over the world a platform to speak out, to make meaningful connections, and serve their own communities in respectful ways, which I really love.
Apart from school, what else do you do in your community?
I am a barista at my parent’s shop, and I often plan events for the Revocup Foundation and learn about the fair trade process and what we do to aid the literary famine in the Ethiopian countryside as well as fight against the inequities coffee farmers face to this day. I’m on the executive board of a student-led organization on my campus called Enactus, which is an international non-profit that searches for socio-economic problems in the community and creates projects to solve them. Through this, I’ve lad The Arts and Entrepreneurship Project, with a mission to give young artists in Kansas City the business skills they need to advance their artistic careers.
Great job Salem! Please tell us. What’s your secret formula for combining both studies and other activities?
Learning to zone-in when working, and to prioritize. I can’t tell you how many to-do lists I have. I just write everything I have to get done down in a weekly list and put the tasks in order by due date, importance, how enjoyable it is, and complete them according to what’s most time-efficient. I also never underestimate the importance of breaks and self-care when I have a heavy workload. On very hard days, I’ll treat myself to some key lime pie, a facemask and a nice movie, recharge and get back to work feeling energized.
(Laughs) When starting a new project, how do you overcome the fear of failure and doubts?
I try my best from the beginning to the very end. A lot of how we react to our own failure is just regret and shame and blaming ourselves for things that were out of our control, which is unhealthy but in our nature as human beings. I give my projects my 100% best effort so that when I look back after an unsuccessful mission, I can’t blame myself for anything. I can’t regret my actions if I did everything in my power to make something right, so instead, I have to see it as a positive learning experience. We can’t ever ensure that we’ll be successful-no one is ever too big or too great to lose, and you can give it your all and want something more than anyone and still fall short. So instead, flip the script and put yourself in the position to reflect on what you’ve done with peace and acceptance.
What is the one biggest things in the entire world, you would like to change?
I think something I would like to see changed on a global scale is access to public education for everyone. Every child deserves a quality, free education, and 57 million children live without one. I would make sure that every child on Earth could attend school if I could. Not only that, but I would emphasize the importance of music and arts programs in educational systems all across the world-people too often undermine their importance and cut them out altogether. The planet would become a better place in many spheres if we could fully invest into future generations.
Wow! You have such a beautiful heart, Salem! Thank you so much for your time in sharing this. You are absolutely and most appreciated. Keep up your amazing work.