Female empowerment in Monaco

03 July 2023

Please note: Barclays Private Bank does not endorse any of the companies or individuals referenced in this article.

Yana Aintabi is on a mission. Based in Monaco, she’s the founder of Fem Galore, a networking and coaching initiative that was borne out of a deep, personal desire to help more women find their voice. We caught up with her to discuss life in the Principality, and her passion for empowering women all over the world.

Interview conducted by Montserrat Marchetti.

Montserrat Marchetti (MM): Thank you for sharing your insights with us Yana. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Fem Galore?

Yana Aintabi (YA): Absolutely, I’m delighted to talk about it because empowering women, and coaching them to have the confidence to pursue their dreams, is my true passion in life. 

In essence, Fem Galore is a networking and coaching platform, based in Monaco where I’ve been living for four years now. We run a series of workshops throughout the year, both online and in person, and the core goal is a big one: to empower women, to help them to shift and understand their value in themself, their family, their community and ultimately, within the world. The methodology works, as at its core, is energy that through the correct training, we can use in our favour.

MM: Thank you, that sounds fascinating. What made you want to venture down this route?

YA: It’s a very personal story because the company is partly a reflection of my own experiences of living all over the world. I’ve lived in many places and in all of them, I noticed a common theme – many people, especially women, are lonely. We often expend our energy attempting to be the best mothers and wives, and don’t feel listened to, either professionally or in family settings. 

Sometimes, they’ve put their careers on hold to raise children and anxiety has crept in. Their lifestyle can be peripatetic, as they follow partners who re-locate frequently for work. This can impact their identity and how they perceive themselves. It was in response to that common dynamic that Fem Galore emerged.

MM: That’s really interesting because I suspect many people would look at life in Monaco, and similar locations around the world, and think it was perhaps easy?

YA: It really depends on the individual, of course. And there’s no denying that life in Monaco is great in so many ways. But at the same time, I think the old saying about ‘never judging a book by its cover’ really is true. Even the most confident and successful people can have self-doubt, and if they don’t have anyone to share their thoughts with, it can really exacerbate their internal struggles.

MM: And why did you want to help women in particular?

YA: Funnily enough, when I set the business up in London, my first client was actually a man. As time went on, I realised that a lot of the personal experiences I was hearing about from female contacts, were similar to my own. For me, it made sense to pivot my attentions to a client base that I could really relate to.

Fem Galore was focused on women from the beginning, and lately, after having moved to Monaco, I experienced logistical struggles with bringing in speakers and psychologists from abroad. As a result, I completed 18 months of study in Energy Life Coaching in order to advance and to feel confident enough to speak myself. That is what brought me to the realisation – I need to evolve.

MM: How did the business move from idea to reality?

YA: I started in collaboration with a psychologist in London who guided me on the fundamentals of mental coping techniques, among other things. I’m very much a person who likes clarity and I have a mathematical approach. As such, I try to steer my clients away from over-analysing situations.

Once I had an understanding on how I wanted the business to take shape, it helped me determine the strategy. During lockdown, I took the chance to complete some professional coaching qualifications, and from there I’ve built up a network in Monaco.

MM: Did you always envisage pursuing this career?

YA: Not at all, but it’s amazing where life can take you. I was born in Ukraine, and moved to Israel at any early age, where I later studied History of Art at Haifa University. I even spent time working in security there, which might surprise some people but it links back to the reference earlier about not ‘judging a book by its cover’.

I’d say it’s my more-recent experiences in life, and as mother to two children who’ve moved around a lot, that pushed me down the path to founding Fem Galore.

MM: You mentioned lockdown, and I’m interested to know more about your experience during that time. Did you see a rise in the number of people wanting coaching?

YA: Personally, I found the lockdown period to be quite good for my own mental health. It was a forced chance to focus on the things that matter in my life, and to focus on ambitions and future plans. I know a lot of people struggled, but for me, it was an opportunity to re-set my goals. Being in Monaco also helped as we have the coast, and a great outdoor lifestyle.

As for work, I could readily engage with clients online, so it wasn’t a big adjustment. Interestingly, my first ever client connected with me through Instagram, so I’ve long seen the benefits of providing digital meetings, as well as face-to-face options.

MM: So you don’t find it harder to communicate virtually? 

YA: Not at all, I love it. And actually, as with so many things in life, it all comes down to the energy that you bring to a meeting. If you’re flat, your meeting will be flat. Conversely, if you’re energised, your meeting will be too. It’s an important life lesson that I like to share.

That said, I do find the face-to-face workshops extremely rewarding. They run for three hours with 30-to-40 people at a time, and often it doesn’t feel like we’ve had enough time. The energy is those sessions is very motivational for me to want to carry on helping people improve their inner confidence and sense of direction. Coaches build on success and are mainly there to help the client create a customised plan using their knowledge, their resources and their experiences according to their needs.

MM: I’d love to hear more about your past experiences and how to leverage them today…

YA: Today I’m based in the Principality and there’s a hugely diverse variety of nationalities here. Having lived all over the world, I definitely have an insight into the lives of the clients I’m partnering with. 

Each person is unique but when there’s a shared experience between the talker and the listener, it can break down barriers to communication. And actually, many people just want to be listened to. You can have all the experience in the world but if someone thinks you’re not listening to them, it can be a major problem.

MM: We could talk for hours but perhaps we should end for now with a question about the future. How will your focus change over time?

YA: We can never predict the future but my hope is that more women will realise they are not alone when they’re struggling. Many people are out there in the same position, and when someone realises that, it can quickly take away their feelings of loneliness. 

While there’s a lot of talk about the future role of artificial intelligence in our lives, it’s humans who hold the key. Emotional intelligence is such a powerful tool, and when it’s used to help women see their life options more clearly, it’s a game changer.


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