Together with her husband Abraham, Salem is the manager and co-owner of Salem’s Designs PLC, a company that employs artisans and produces handcrafts. She left Ethiopia in 1981 to go to college in the US. After acquiring her BSc in Economics and Business Administration, she married and moved to Canada. In 1994, the family returned to Ethiopia and has lived here since. During those years, Salem spent time volunteering with different artisan groups and associations until 2008, when she started her own business. Before this, she was a full-time mother to two sons and a daughter who have now grown up and live abroad.