How did your professional journey start?
"In 2004 I was interviewing for an HR role, but the interviewee thought I was better suited to become a trainer instead of taking on an office role. Now this was completely out of my comfort zone! In my university days I used to freeze up during presentations and was anxious presenting to a group of more than 2 people. Imagine someone like that as a trainer in front of an audience from diverse backgrounds looking up to you to teach and coach them. But, I have never backed off from a challenge. And the interviewer’s faith and confidence in me inspired me. Her encouragement helped me discover a talent I never knew I had, and motivated me to channel my hidden strengths into a role of a trainer preparing the customer service staff during the launch of the second telecom company in Oman."
What kind of challenges did you face as a woman in the workplace and how did you overcome them?
"This has been a recurring challenge, one that I have faced different versions of. There are times in my career when I have been the only female and the only GCC National in the team, other times when I am the only senior female business leader in the room. The situations vary, but I think the way to deal with them remains the same. Like all things, you can choose to be lonely and feel left out. Or you can choose to set an example, be heard, and pave the way for others. I chose the latter - even though at times I have doubted myself, however I strongly believe that your performance and your ethics will earn you the respect you deserve, irrespective of your gender. If ever in doubt, I look for ways to serve others wherever possible and ask myself has this benefitted anyone else? When the answer is yes then whatever challenges faced, it becomes worth it."
Any words of advice to other aspiring female professionals?
"Be yourself as you are the best at it and be comfortable with who you are no matter what. Speak up and rightfully take your place at the table. One of the best stories I ever heard on this is from a well respected lady who, to my delight, recently became a CEO. She faced many instances when she was due to be in a leadership meeting, but was forgotten in the invite. Unfazed and undeterred, she would just drag a chair and join in to claim her rightful place, then let her work do the talking.. In some cases, if you are in a minority, you may be overlooked or forgotten. But do not let this pull you down. If you believe you can add value, stand up, prove yourself and claim your worth."
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