A passionate fan of the sport squash, a mother of two, and an attorney by profession, Jasmin Samy will be known as the first woman in Egypt to own a squash academy. She found no better than legendary Coach Emad Kouritam to share her journey, and both founders came together to create Shadow Squash Academy. An inspiration to all women out there, she answers some of our most burning questions in this brief interview.
How did you get the idea of the Academy?
It’s been my dream to invest in a project in Egypt that would benefit the community, and I could not think of anything I’d like to see flourish more than squash. Speaking to many of my former squash colleagues, with whom I had shared the squash courts for years, it was very clear to me that I want to start a squash academy. My goal was to inject some of the approaches I’ve learned throughout my experience as a player and a mother and what I’ve seen be implemented abroad into a full service squash Academy. In 2018, I partnered with Emad Kouritam: one of the best squash coaches on the national and international scenes, who was also a professional squash player and a one time national team coach. Together, we decided to pursue our childhood dream.
What is it like being a businesswoman in the sports field?
Even though we have some of the top world and junior women squash players (Egypt has been holding the number 1 rank in women’s squash on the pro level for over 4 years), the squash academies and their management and coaching staff are male dominated. This made me think twice before jumping into my new adventure. At the same time, the support of my husband and my partnering with the exceptional Coach Emad, both appreciating what I could bring to the table, made it somewhat easier. I can’t deny that there were(and still are) many challenges, such as several businessmen- specifically the sports field- not taking me seriously;however, our perseverance always leads us to the accomplishments. In our first year, we were recognized as one of the top squash academies. I am proud of where we are and am ready for much more challenges and growth to come.
What keeps you inspired?
As a mother, being able to balance my work with my family, while simultaneously having my children witness the life of an entrepreneur, keeps me going. My children even help me occasionally. Also, as a squash enthusiast, watching players and coaches work hard – especially girls – and supporting them and watching them grow motivates me a lot. Finally, as a business woman, the support I receive from other women entrepreneurs, such as Shaymaa Youssef (Emad’s wife), and mothers is unbelievably empowering.
In what ways did the academy impact your life?
Running your own business is very different from being an employee and knowing that you’re going to get paid at the end of every month. It has definitely made me more disciplined in terms of financial matters. The need to be present and aware of all aspects of the business, from marketing to financials to organizing tournaments and much more, is something that I had to learn as well. This has all been a personal development journey for me and it has opened my eyes to the complexities of running an operation that involves so many contributors end to end.
What message would you like to send to all women out there?
Always, always, always give yourself a break; you do not have to constantly be strong. You can ask for help, simplify matters, catch a breath, and simply enjoy who you are. It is also important that we as women stand up for each other, not just by words, but through actions as well.