The Jasmine model, based on financial strengthening of independent Jewish and Arab women, was able to break financial boundaries, position women in key positions and build a core of female financial leaders in Israel. After jasmine was able to create financial and social change and shared living, Kiram Baloum, Jasmine’s founder, turns to implementing Jasmine’s successful model in other countries.
When Kiram Baloum, the founder and CEO of Jasmine organization, dreamt of creating a model for social and financial change in Israel, she understood that the change needs to be based on combining the financial-business world interests and the social and public aspects. Furthermore, she understood that women, as of their nature, can bring about this change and raised the banner of promoting women to the top of Israel’s financial enterprise while creating social and public connections to strengthen their activity.
Kiram founded ‘Jasmine’ and embarked on her mission to promote and strengthen Jewish and Arab women business owners and to create a female financial leadership core that will integrate itself into the centers of influence in the Israeli market. Parallel to this, she strived to connect between the female business sector, the public, and governmental sectors and bring the three of them to work together. This is how she crossed paths with Ofra Strauss, chairperson of the “Strauss Group”, and one of the leading women in the market and society in Israel. This connection was the beginning of the “Jasmine model” that has become, over time, a phenomenon in Israel and around the world.
Promoting Women through Collaborations and Financial Connections
The model used by ‘Jasmine’ is based on building a female financial leadership core, from the understanding that inequality and the lack of financial stability, as well as poverty and discrimination, cannot be the grounds for collaboration.
‘Jasmine’ started building a training and mentoring program that helped thousands of women to build independence and financial security.
The program’s graduates started entering the centers of influence in the Israeli market and furthermore- they started strengthening more women and even creating collaborative Jewish and Arab businesses together.
The dream of financial change lead by women was materializing and thus creating a collaborative life for various sectors of the Israeli society, based on a financial common ground. Throughout this time ‘jasmine’ continued to initiate more and more connections and to recruit the existing financial sector. The best of Israel’s leading corporations and business companies joined ‘Jasmine’s’ activities and expressed their confidence in Jasmine’s model. More and more women from the various social sector’s – new immigrant’s, ultra-orthodox, women from the peripheries, friends from the neighboring Jordan, from the USA and from all over the world- joined ‘Jasmine’ over the years, Kiram Baloum and her partner Ofra Stauss’s life work- they all jumped on the racing cart that managed to promote women in business.
During the years, Kiram was asked many a time how she was able to realize her vision, to which she invariably answered: “When you are raised to be independent then you can run very, very far”. To women who are motivated to succeed, she says: “Dare! And move forward. There are no boundaries. There are no blocks. Whatever we want to achieve, we can achieve.”
Kiram is a woman of unusual strength and energy. She carries away, pushes up and forward, she never compromises on reaching goals. Not in her own case and not in others’.
The partnership with Ofra Strauss, a leading persona in Israel’s social and financial market, who herself carries the name Jasmine (Yasmin), brought an added value to Jasmine’s activities and brought hope to thousands of women and people for a brighter and better financial future in Israel. “Jewish and Arab women sit together in one room, finding common topics for communication and cooperation through business” Said Ofra Strauss in one of Jasmine’s meetings. “Each one of the women has an opportunity to narrow the gap between the sectors”. Concerning Jasmine’s success, Ofra said: “Jasmine’s model works and is able to bring about change. We are talking here about a better future for our country”.
Israel’s President: A Symbol for Change and Hope
Jasmine has become not only a successful model for financial growth and basing women’s financial security, but also as a model for shared living in Israel, a model that incorporates all the various elements in society and gives equal opportunity to Jews and Arabs. “We are seeing a place where there is an equal standing for different languages and different sectors” says Kiram, after business ties that led to combined businesses between Jewish and Arab women came out of Jasmine’s activities, as well as thousands of businesses developed by women, and a core of strong female financial leaders in Israel. Jasmine’s graduates integrated into senior directorate and managerial positions, they entered as suppliers into the leading corporation’s supplier’s data bases. They all sit together in Jasmine’s programs, pull each other forward and combine one thread to another, creating one big, colorful, human tapestry.
“Financially independent women ensure themselves with financial security from where ties are created, sectors come together from all over the country, social stigmas are broken, and women enter into senior positions. TOGETHER, we have the power to change reality”, Kiram explains how Ofra and she fulfilled their dream together. “This organization’s guiding principle is never to talk democracy, and always to create democracy”, states Ofra.
Rubi Rivlin, Israel’s President, is also impressed with Jasmine’s immense enterprise, and though Jasmine has received many awards and much appreciation over the years, one of the most moving moments in the acknowledgement of Jasmine’s success was when the president arrived at Jasmine’s 10th anniversary celebration, where he told of Jasmine’s women that: “These are courageous and pioneering women that are, for me, a symbol of change and hope”.
One other person who was impressed by Jasmine’s work was Melany Verveer, the former United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, who called Jasmine’s model: “One of the best ways to promote financial stability and peace”.
Jasmine’s Next Goal: “Strengthening our Model with Governments”
If you ask Ofra Strauss what ‘Jasmine’ represents for her today, she most probably would say ‘hope’- that above all, Jasmine has allowed her to love her country all the more.
“We were able to build a unique model based on women’s financial stability and business infrastructure, through which, giving all women equal opportunity, we were able to create change. To this we added public and financial connections , true collaborations between people and organizations, that gave an extra push to women’s integration in business”, Kiram sums up the reasons for the model’s success: “and perhaps more than anything, we think together, dream together, and mostly, do everything together. Setting goals, social and financial cooperation, and hard work- are a winning combination.”
During these days, Jasmine has started advancing towards its next dream:
“Our next goal is to strengthen our ties with governments. It is an important sector that can create the change together with us”, says Kiram, “I am talking about strengthening the ties with the Israeli government and about creating relations with other governments, that are interested in jointly adopting and implementing Jasmine’s model. Jasmine aspires always to broaden our partnerships and we will continue building ourselves through partnerships, based on financial independence for women and a financial interest that brings everyone together. In the end of the day, the collaborative enterprises create shared living, and this is another achievement that we are proud of.”
Jasmine wishes to thank all her partners along the way: Jasmine’s management and team, Jasmine’s women and the Jasmine community, mentors and teachers for businesswomen, the trusts and major partners: The Jewish Federation of Greater Miami, The Jewish Federation of New York, The Hadassah Foundation, The JWF of New York, the Pratt Foundation, the US Embassy, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, The First International Bank, The Genesis Foundation, The Kahn Foundation, The Matan Foundation for Community Investment, The England Foundation, Bezeq Communications, the Isracard Group, Zionism 2000, The Jewish Agency, the Jewish Federation of North America, Secret Spa, Super Pharm, the Strauss Group, Intel Israel, Estee Lauder, the Conrad Adenauer Trust in Israel, The Rupin Academic Center, Haifa Municipality, Upper Nazareth Municipality, and more and more…