“Women’s employment and financial independence have been a constant, unfailing driving force in my efforts towards empowering women. My biggest life achievement is creating 300 jobs for women.”
Meet TTT’s next contemporary woman: Yasaman Hejazi
Over two decades of management experience has given her a unique insight into the challenges that arise from operating successful businesses in a male-dominated workplace.
Why did you name the gyms CN Club and Block #68?
The first two letters stand for Core Nation, a reference to the main area of the human body that serves as the pillar of all physical activities. Stay tuned for more about CN Club. As for Block #68, it is no. 68 in the commercial part of ASP Towers—a group of three iconic and prominent skyscrapers in the heart of Tehran. Block refers to Block Training, a technique that breaks down workouts into several blocks or phases tailored to the specific needs of each athlete.
Do you see yourself as more of an athlete or coach, or a businesswoman? How do you balance professional life between these areas?
I started sports at the early age of three with ballet and gymnastics, started skiing at seven and soon turned to professional skating. More than anything, I define myself as an athlete. I formed the first national figure skating team of Iran and found an insatiable passion in professional coaching. My new capacity and experience sparked the courage to embark on entrepreneurship and sponsorship. My first senior managerial post came at Enghelab Sports Complex and my background as a professional athlete transformed me into a businesswoman with a coaching mindset. The end-result is all I care about, and if it comes down to a choice, I’d pursue my passion in coaching any day.
What makes your work more challenging from all the rest of the gym owners in other countries?
Ads! It’s really difficult not being able to show and tell people who we are and what they can do at our facilities. We can’t do much in the way of advertisements.
What we do at CN Club and Block #68 is not limited to pure, professional sports. We offer a wide and rich array of facilities including a café with healthy food and beverages, spa and massage packages, as well as an especially designed Kids Club at CN Club for concerned parents. We have a simple goal: every single person must have a great time at our complex and leave with a pleasant and lasting experience.
We have launched new initiatives to promote team sports and collective experiences among women who have traditionally faced many setbacks in sports at club level, but we have made it a mission to overcome the barriers and close in on global standards. A crucial step toward that objective is opening up new opportunities and making more sports and sport activities available and accessible to women. From meditation practices and collective sports to aerobic workouts and strength trainings, our offerings are all-inclusive.
Our dedicated team of experts and trainers closely monitors the performance and progress of each individual, screens potential injuries and provides professional training and workout programs that especially caters to athletes on a professional level.
Have you ever been criticized by your peers? Which do you find sound and which do you think are irrational? In what ways?
Criticism comes with the territory. Criticisms are usually conducive and every opinion counts in its own right, particularly in our field of work that deals with all types of people. The diversity of opinions sometimes manifests itself through criticism, but I believe that criticism helps us grow.
What achievement are you most proud of, and why?
Creating new jobs for women from all walks of life. Women’s employment and financial independence have been a constant, unfailing driving force in my efforts for empowering women. My biggest life achievement is creating 300 jobs for women.
What are some personal habits that have helped you in your career?
Sport! It has been an inseparable part of my life as long as I can remember. This lifestyle enabled me to have a bird’s-eye view of sports and management in the sport and bodybuilding industries.
Any career-related surprises in the pipelines?
Yes! We’re working on expanding green spaces and sports facilities. You’ll hear more about them in the future.
What is the most important cause you care about?
Anything I’ve done over the years has been centered on improving gender equality. However, women pose an unwelcome challenge to that end. We always talk about the issue, but we hold ourselves back with prejudice, lack of awareness, and, of course, miseducation. Nevertheless, I’m confident that we can take greater steps in dealing with our most pressing issues.
Neda Monem is a Tehran-based journalist, photographer and social media advisor. She covers arts, culture, society, tech and startups.