"Building a Better Future"
Tatiana Jama: Mother, Serial Entrepreneur, Change Maker
Business Angel, Founding CEO Selectionnist | Paris, France | Age 32
“Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” -Alfred Pennyworth, Batman Begins.
These words propel Tatiana forward, driving her numerous accomplishments. Tatiana isn’t afraid of failure; she leapt from a successful career as an attorney in business litigation to founding her own company as soon as she realized she needed to feed her independent passions. Leaving law to sell massages online, the only time she hesitated in her sweeping changes was in telling her grandmother. “It was very stressful to tell her because she was so happy I was a lawyer.” Her grandmother replied,
“You always have to choose the most difficult path.”
It is true that Tatiana isn’t looking for an easy ride through life, and she revels in nurturing her dynamic nature.
She founded her first major company in 2010, a daily deal site (Dealissime.com) that was later acquired by Livingsocial. The company grew very fast, going from 2 to 150 employees in a matter of months. The key to her quick success in business may lie in her commitment to building long term relationships. “My seven best friends are like sisters. We have known each other since we were four.” Tatiana treats her business relationships much the same way. “My father was an entrepreneur and I loved listening to his business stories when I was a little girl.” There were times when the business ventures would hit some rough patches and she learned how important it was to always treat people with respect, because when the chips are down help may arrive from the least likely source.
“Everyone is great when things are running smoothly, but when times are hard, you never know which one of your colleagues will step up and save the day.”
Tatiana cultivates friendships and maintains strong links throughout all of her endeavors; her motives are genuine, and she truly believes in people and in their ability to always be working for a better tomorrow.
In 2013 she decided to leave her previous company with her co-founder Lara Rouyres to launch Selectionnist, a unique mobile application that enables consumers to purchase products that were highlighted in more than 40 French fashion magazines. This innovative site utilizes advanced image recognition technology that enables a reader to locate a picture among millions in seconds. Taking the customer from seeing it in a magazine to purchase with ease. No surprise that it was number one on the appstore when they launched in November. “Our idea is to transform every image into a point of interaction between brands and their clients anytime and anywhere.” The dynamic duo have been conquering the world together since 2008.
Next challenge? Breaking into the US market.
“It is a great way to challenge yourself, being an entrepreneur in other countries, and working with other cultures gives you an amazing opportunity to learn and grow.”
Tatiana is founding CEO of multiple companies, a Business Angel and mentor for up and coming entrepreneurs. Passionate about empowering women around the world, she feels that one of the best ways to realise change is, “...to help women build their own businesses. Financial independence can lead to great things.” She is always on the lookout for a new idea that can help women liberate themselves.
Being an entrepreneur is thrilling, it takes stamina, smarts and a certain type of person that yearns for bringing something new into the world, be it a product or a service, something that will ease the lives of others. However, being a woman entrepreneur sometimes comes with challenges that are not faced by men. Tatiana is resolute when it comes to standing up for herself or others when misogynistic statements come into play. She responds with “I don’t understand how someone so brilliant can say something so stupid.” Because she believes it is our responsibility to make note of the slights with a direct and firm voice, so that we can communicate with dignity to build a better future for women everywhere.
With all of these projects, one wonders if Tatiana has any time left over for herself? Business mogul and doting mother to a two year old daughter, you might think that Tatiana’s life revolved around the boardroom and play dates, but you would be wrong. She has belonged to a theater troupe since she was young and they still perform every year, and she feeds her adventurous side by rock climbing and kite surfing, but her favorite big adventure isn’t far from home. She delights in spending a day at the zoo with her daughter, a passion they both share. But as is the nature of those that love their work, her perfect day looks much like her everyday; “I take my little one to school, we sometimes stop at our favorite`café on our way for a juice. Then I go to the office. Later I meet friends for an apéritif, a glass of white wine, and then home to the family.”
Update: Shortly after this interview the city of love was attacked by members of ISIS. “The recent attacks on Paris were a terrible shock.” The terrorist assault on innocent lives shook the foundation of the city, igniting tremors of outrage and heartbreak throughout the world. Tatiana’s life is forever altered by this act of senseless violence in her home, a home that welcomes all races and religions, a home that is about celebrating life, not taking it; but she remains strong and is more steadfast than ever to make the world a better place. “We know France is all about culture, wine, openness, l'art de vivre …But, today we also have a damn amazing tech ecosystem and we are more than ever determined to build our future.” She signs off with the wise words of Nelson Mandela, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”