To mark International Women’s Day, we’ve rounded up eight of the region’s high performing female bosses to get them to spill their top tips for total career domination.

If you’ve always dreamed about being your own boss, but have no idea where to start, it could be worth finding out what the region’s most successful female executives did to get to the top of their profession.

To honour International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to eight incredible women who are ruling the roost in the business world – and who could be the career mentor you’ve been looking for. We asked each of them to share their number one piece of advice for getting to the top. (All together now: ‘Who runs the world? Girls!’) Prepare to be inspired…

 

Layal Akouri, General Manager of Givori

 

Successful girl bosses, Layal Akouri

“Look for an environment that nurtures your potential, not hinders it. And if you feel you are being discriminated against in the workplace or short-changed with regards to opportunities merely because of your gender, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. You can reach out to your professional and personal network for support and advice. It is equally important that the people around you recognise their valuable role in empowering you to help you achieve your aspirations.”

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Muna Easa Al Gurg, Director, Retail, Al Gurg Group

Successful girl bosses, muna al gurg

“Create relationships. I believe that networking, collaborating with, and rooting for other women helps you make lasting relationships that organically further your career and set you up for success. That is partly why I set up my own scholarship at the London Business School entirely dedicated to women. Every job that you have might not be the perfect job, but you really take away different things, and you create relationships. Finding that mentor is key to your growth because a mentor sees things from an outside perspective. Along the way remember to always be authentic and true to yourself, and never ever lose focus of your end goal.”   

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Ruth Bradley, Founder and Managing Director of Ruth Bradley Consulting

Successful girl bosses, Ruth Bradley

“It took me a very long time to understand that I am in complete control of my own destiny. No one but myself is ever stopping me from getting what I want, whether it’s personal or professional. Realising that you have the power to choose what you do in life is the first step to achieving happiness. Women so very often feel that we need to ask for some sort of permission before we do anything. But we all have the power to make changes, big or small in our lives. Every single one of us.”

 

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Audrey Tcherkoff, CEO of Robert Wan

Successful women in Dubai, Audrey T

“Since starting my own company in the region nine years ago, one of the things I’ve learned is if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. You must love what you do or you won’t be any good at it. Building something you’re passionate about is extremely important. I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If money is your only motivation, then I believe you shouldn’t launch a business at all.”

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Nisreen Shocair, President of Virgin Megastore MENA

Successful girl bosses, nisreen shocair

“It’s the inquisitive members of my team that catch my attention. Being curious is not just as a sign of intelligence but it shows an emotional maturity as well. It is always that person who wants to learn more than the rest and is not afraid to ask the question everyone else was thinking about asking. They bring excitement into a room and see every new responsibility as a chance to learn something new. So always be inquisitive about others and about the world around you. Be open to learn, unlearn and relearn. Make meaningful connections with people by showing a genuine interest in what they have to say. Use your power of observation to spot opportunities for yourself and others.”

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Beatrice Delahaie, General Manager of Nuxe Middle East

Successful girl bosses Beatrice Delahaie

“If you want something, the easiest way to obtain it is to simply ask. Women sometimes assume that people around us can read our minds. But you have to say it! Express it clearly and open the discussion frankly in order to have the best chance of being able to defend your point of view and convey your feelings without any embarrassment or insecurity. We should not be afraid to stand up for what we believe is fair. And if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

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Bodour Al Hilali, Founder of Belle Femme

Successful Girl bosses, Bodour Al Hilali

“Think big and think long term. Never be afraid to take risks. Staying patient will help you overcome any problems you may face along the way. Remember that quality matters above all else, in everything you do. Focus on delivering seamless quality, and once you succeed, move on to the next project. Finally, perfect your team. Work on providing your team with the best tools and the best training. The more they are exposed to new techniques, products and know-how, the more successful your business will be.”

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Priya Bhatia, Founder of Hautletic

Successful girl bosses, Priya

“Always be curious. I cannot emphasise this enough.  Knowing just that little bit more than I needed to has always helped me throughout my career.  Seeking out that extra information allows you to see the larger picture outside of what your particular focus is, which leads to more creative ideas and solutions.  Never be afraid to ask questions if you want to understand a situation better. Over time, it is this kind of methodology that leads to great instinct, which I rely on a lot in my work.”

 

Words: Aoife Stuart-Madge

Images: Emporio Armani and supplied