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Moulay, Julie, Noor and Zak

Before moving to Over-The-Rhine just earlier this year, Moulay, Julie, Noor and Zak have lived somewhat of a nomadic life as a family. Living country to country, continent to continent, eventually landing (or returning for Julie) in Cincinnati after launching a start-up. Each place they lived came with valuable lessons on the essence of community, whether it’s about the contributions you make to leave an impact, or simply a change in perspective.

 

ON THE JOURNEY TO CINCINNATI

JULIE: I’m originally from Toledo, OH, but I went to school here at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, so I lived in Over-The-Rhine. I met Moulay, and we started a family in Boston. After that we moved to Morocco, where we spent close to 15 years. We started an education technology company there, and after some time, we decided to return to the U.S. There was an opportunity for us to take this start-up into an accelerated program either in Ann Arbor or Cincinnati, and the renaissance of Cincinnati caught our attention. We were really excited about the transformation that Over-The-Rhine was going through – the city’s willingness to invest in community really made a difference for us. Not only are Moulay and I two tech founders, but we also have a family, so we asked ourselves ‘Where can we have a sense of community, a sense of family with good schools, and work-life balance?’ Cincinnati was definitely the place.

ON PLACES THAT FEEL LIKE HOME

MOULAY: We’ve lived in so many different countries and continents, so for me home is what you elect to be your home. I suppose you could grow up in a place and not necessarily feel like you’re at home—and this may be an assumption—but I believe that one can embrace a space and feel welcomed in a space at any given time and make it a home. It’s all about your perspective.


NOOR: I’ll say Cincinnati feels like home for me. It has so many different aspects to it. I think it helps that I’m a little older now and can fully experience what the city has to offer, but I really feel like Cincinnati has so many different pockets and people that I truly enjoy.

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I suppose you could grow up in a place and not necessarily feel like you’re at home—and this may be an assumption—but I believe that one can embrace a space and feel welcomed in a space at any given time and make it a home. It’s all about your perspective.

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ON BELONGING

ZAK: I think it’s about having a community surrounding you that truly appreciates who you are. They’re there for you and they’re there to support you. As long as you have that community around you, I feel like someone could say that they feel they belong.


NOOR: I don’t know, belonging can be as small as having some close friends with you and being free to enjoy the little moments together.

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Belonging can be as small as having some close friends with you and being free to enjoy the little moments together.

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I really feel like Cincinnati has
so many different pockets and people that I truly enjoy.