Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Rana Kawalit
How could you describe your career path in a few words?
I would describe it as interesting but with its own set of challenges. There have been so many changes over the years. I wanted to start my professional career in HR, but I landed a job in PR. It was a completely new world for me, I had a background in writing, especially Arabic, but I had no experience in PR. I was lucky to start my career with a reputable regional PR agency, it gave me exposure to different industries, and the opportunity to work on regional accounts.
I am also lucky to have worked for exceptional bosses who believed in me and played a huge role in unleashing my potential.
What was your most challenging experience, and has it changed your mindset?
Throughout my career, I have faced numerous challenges that shaped the way I am today. I made a major career move transitioning from the agency to the client’s side, it was a completely different world and I had to adapt to this new work culture. At the same time, I had to deliver quality work with limited resources. One of the biggest challenges I had was having to prove myself to management, I was entrusted with reporting back to the CEO of Fine Hygienic Holding, James Michael Lafferty, when he took this role in 2017 and did major changes in the leadership team. James is not just any CEO, one that has a solid PR background and is constantly creating new challenges. One of the first things he did was expand my role from local to regional.
Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader/manager?
In my opinion, one of the greatest strengths of female leaders are being empathetic and nurturing, two qualities that are often underestimated. My experience has taught me that a happy workplace is a productive workplace. I take a genuine interest in my team and their wellbeing. Leadership does not have to be a hierarchy, approaching someone on a higher level can be intimidating and I want to create an environment where employees can walk into the office comfortably and be able to come to me for guidance and help. The organization I currently work for, FHH, is constantly empowering women, and I wanted to play a role in this whether within the company or outside. I am currently mentoring a female university student, and all the internship opportunities we have offered so far in the Corporate Communication Department have been given to outstanding females.
What’s the key success factor for a female entrepreneur in cross-cultural context based on your experience?
There are several critical factors that play a role in the success of a female entrepreneur in cross-cultural context that include belief in oneself, self-confidence, having the right set of skills and capabilities, ability to adapt to different cultures and be open to learning, being a risk-taker, having a strong intuition, and resilience, as we as family and friends’ support and having access to funding.