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As part of International Women’s Day, Endeavor launched a #HerImpact series that is part of our ongoing commitment to increase gender diversity within the Endeavor network. #HerImpact is devoted to elevating the voices, sharing the perspectives, and showcasing the professional expertise of women in Endeavor’s global network.
We reached out to some of our Endeavor women mentors and entrepreneurs and asked them to share personal experiences and advice for other individuals on the same journey.
Below are their thoughts.
President of Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB)
Q: What is one time you faced a challenge, setback, or failure in the workplace? What did you learn from the experience?
A: You need to know that I faced many failures in my life, some are personal and some are professional. So many that I cannot identify the major one. Trust me when I say that. What I learned is to always restart, learn, be open, down to earth, share your knowledge. Be humble. Smile.
Q: What accomplishment are you proudest of?
A: Establishing Aramex in Lebanon
Q: What advice would you give to other women/individuals following a similar journey to yours?
A: Count on yourselves, be patient, persistent, keep learning, seek the needed help, listen and enjoy your lives. Commit to your family, community, and country.
Managing Partner, Badri and Salim El Meouchi Law Firm
Q: What accomplishment are you proudest of?
A: Being more than one thing and reinventing and discovering different parts of myself and what I need to feel fulfilled. Being a mother, a wife, a part of a loving family, a lawyer, a business woman, an entrepreneur and mostly being a person whose purpose is to empower others and bridges people and communities together particularly through difficult times. My accomplishment I am most proud of is that I never stop and feel I have so much to still learn and accomplish and I am hopeful to see where the future will take me.
A: With privilege, access and power, comes a greater need for accountability and for responsibility. How you use that privilege and access and power is fundamental to who you are and determines your character. It is not the identities that you are born into or that you are given throughout your life that necessarily define you but the choices you make in your life that will truly reflect who you are. Try to make the right ones and put in the mechanisms that are necessary around you so that when you make the bad ones, and you will make them, you can self correct and then find the brighter path again.
And to the mothers out there who are trying to work and balance everything and wondering how they are going to keep up with it all and who might sometimes find themselves crying behind a locked bedroom door or on the edge of a bathtub in the bathroom, there will never be a true balance that will put you at peace. So dry your tears, get out of that bedroom or bathroom, and keep going. Remember that you are worthy, beautiful and loved.
Founder & CEO, Dee Entreprise
Quitting my job after 23 years of a well-designed career because it did not fulfill my thirst anymore was probably the hardest decision I ever took, but the best one as well.
Surrounding yourself with the right people, being open and attentive to opportunities that come your way may seem like something obvious. In fact, it is something that one can learn, and develop in order not to miss on them.
Maissa Abou Adal Ghanem
Corporate Projects Manager, Holdal – Abou Adal Group
A: There is no one time I had to face a challenge or setback in the workplace: it is a natural part of the journey and I have learned with time to navigate through the wave by recalibrating my approach to adapt to different types of personalities and needs within our community.
One of the biggest learnings: there is no difference between my work and my personal life. They are intrinsically related. The main ingredients I use in my day-to-day “recipe” are passion, intuition, drive, communication, purpose and impact.
My advice: “Take your work with utmost discipline and commitment, but never take yourself too seriously and most importantly enjoy the ride.”
A: There are many little success stories I have come to embrace. Maybe adapting every year to a new country with my husband and children: this is the best school of life! Wearing multiple hats and being able to navigate through it. Adding another hat as of next week by joining the Advanced Management Program at IESE.
A: Life is made of choices and compromises. Do not forget the “why” (the purpose). Always remember that you are not “stuck”. You are your own boss when it comes to taking the right decisions.
If a great opportunity comes to you, do not be afraid of your capabilities: just accept the challenge and you will find the inner strength to make it happen.
Deputy General Manager – COO
A: After 10 years management experience in Canada, I decided to shift to consulting and join a reputable consulting firm, unfortunately I did not fit the stereotype of what a consultant should be at the time. This did not stop me and I offered to volunteer my free time, to prove my abilities. After 6 months of working for free, after 6 months of financial suffering, after 6 months of outstanding performance, I was officially recruited into the firm.
I learned that excellent performance beats biases, it beats discrimination, it beats stereotyping, as long as we persevere and influence our environment positively.
A: My proudest achievement is that I have managed to surround myself by love. Love at home, love at work, love at the gym, love in meetings, love in managing stress, and love in dealing with a crisis…everything becomes easy, bearable and funny when there is love! I succeeded in building high quality relationships on all levels, family, colleagues, business partners, alliances …even competitors!
A: Do not hear negative voices; do not see obstacles; opportunities stem from challenges; recognize your natural abilities and manage like a woman do not imitate a man’s management style; always look at a problem from the outside, never become part of the problem; let your passion and love drive you to positively influence others; make sure you feel love every minute of your day! Nothing else matters.
Human Health Lead at Algorithm Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
A: Juggling a demanding career and motherhood, it’s a daily struggle.
A: Set your own benchmark for success; not relative to other women, if anything to great individuals. It frees you from your own prejudice.
A: Paying it forward to our community through The Blessing Foundation that was established in 2012 to empower women in business by helping them start (giving them access to a network of women in business), sustain (through the yearly one-on-one mentoring program where a woman leader in business mentors an emerging one), evolve (by referring women in the foundation to international programs offered by Vital Voices organization, Goldman Sachs, Fortune, US department of state and others), and scale (through the lately created e-commerce platform to help women sell their products online), thus creating sustainable projects and positively contributing to the ecosystem.
A: Be patient. Real success takes time to achieve.
CEO, Cetera Technology and Limelines
A: First advice- It is never enough planning. You and your team should create plans at every level; document it and track like they do in big corporations. Never compromise professionalism even though you are a small organization. This will tremendously help in delivering high quality and cost efficient results. Think big.
Second advice- Think through and tie every task back to the overall business vision. This is the only way to deliver a product in which every feature adds value to the customer and tells your story correctly.
A: Be a woman- your high sense and dynamics are your core strengths. After that, your business and technical skills will be revealed at their maximum capacity.
Managing Partner, ProFinance
A: So many challenges faced to choose from… The one that stands out the most, however, was having to continue operating seamlessly during the Israeli war in Lebanon in 2016 so that none of our clients outside Lebanon would be impacted by our local situation. We were closing a foreign deal at the time and I remember working with our team out of my house (which we felt was safer than our offices) while worrying when the bombing would start. The stress of losing local business due to the war, relocating our team and my family outside Lebanon, ensuring everyone’s physical and emotional comfort, and worrying about family left behind–all while ensuring that deliverables were met in a timely manner was substantial. Lessons learned… the importance of being resilient, taking care of your team, never compromising on professionalism, and finding opportunities in the most difficult of circumstances.
A: Being an entrepreneur can be much more rewarding—both financially and emotionally—than the path of employment. However, it involves significantly more risk and uncertainty. Be ready to work hard and long hours and face setbacks (there will be many) with resilience. Surround yourself with smart people who are ready to give you honest advice. Treat your clients with integrity and stay true to your values. And in the midst of this all…don’t forget to make quality time for your family and friends.
Learn more about how you can get involved with Women in High Impact Entrepreneurship at Endeavor here: endeavor.org/whie
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