Future of tech is female
There is technology, and there is ethical technology. The latter looks to innovative solutions where machines don’t replace humans. One person who is championing this movement is Emirati businesswoman, entrepreneur, mother, wife, and techinnovator, Dr. Sara Al Madani. Her Excellency is setting new standards for women in the tech industry, while also serving as the youngest board member of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Born to a Bahraini father and Emirati mother, Dr Sara attributes her tough work ethic to her upbringing and is at the moment, balancing several businesses – with the latest social venture launching this month – and is about to unveil a book that focuses on finding the best version of your- self. Prior to the release, she collaborated with luxury bakery brand, Ladurée, to design packaging inspired by the messages in her book. Fierce, determined, and passionate, there’s nothing stopping Dr Sara from achieving her dreams, and she believes nothing should stop you either.
What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur today?
A personality. Money and great ideas do not last forever, especially if they are led by people who have no vision or leadership skills. To me entrepreneurship is about attitude, ethics and personality.
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Who taught you to be resilient?
Me, myself and I. Life, people and failure, it all taught me how to be resilient.
You’re at the forefront of technology and digital. How have both of those fields evolved in the UAE?
In 2014, I became a tech entrepreneur – I attended many seminars and watched several videos about tech. People would tell me that it’s a man’s world, which motivated me to prove a point and showcase that women can also be part of this industry. I wanted to set an example within the tech world and become an ethical techpreneur, which means I wouldn’t replace humans with robots, as I strongly believe humans are the most valuable beings on earth. With technology and humans, it isn’t a competition – instead we complement and complete each other. The tech industry is evolving in the UAE, you see immense support from the government and its leaders towards tech as they want the country to be the leading hub.
Do you think there is enough women in tech?
Absolutely not, but that is rapidly changing. There’s a huge difference in the numbers of women within the industry and you see it change every year. It keeps getting bigger and better.
What one piece of advice would you pass on to the next generation?
I started when I was 15, what’s your excuse? Nothing is impossible – don’t let failure intimidate you. What wakes me every morning is not the fear of failing but the idea of ‘what if I’m the next big thing?’ Replace your ‘what if I can’t’ to ‘what if I can’ and your life will change.
Talk us through your collaboration with Ladurée.
The introduction between Ladurée and I happened through the Arab Fashion Council. They wanted me to design a box for them that had meaning and would resonate with their target audience. In the past, they had worked with international personalities such as Vera Wang, however, I was the first Arab to collaborate with them. Ladurée and I had a similar vision. We didn’t want to ‘just’ design a box, but in- stead something with significance, thus, I suggested the image that I had designed for my upcoming book.
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What can you tell us about the themes you wanted to explore in the book?
The design of the book and box basically showcases how you can become the best version of yourself. How to become a rebel – rebel against yourself, against your weaknesses and fears. Each element on the box represents a certain messaging. The butterfly shows you that through the process of life, you go through various stages – changes, growth, going through failures and find- ing who you are – you start something that might not be attractive to others but you end up beautiful after experiencing what life has to offer. The birds signify freedom – your legs are your wings to freedom, while the lip biting the leaf represents a rebel, however, – this is a rebel with a good cause.
What do you hope women take away from reading the book?
I hope women realise that we are strong, we are powerful and all the tools and strength we need lies within us. As women, we always search for our purpose elsewhere such as relationships, and other places and things but to be honest, this all lies within. They are lost somewhere in- side of us and we need to look within. This book isn’t only for women but also men, and people who face challenges. It will hopefully help people overcome obstacles and be the best version of themselves
How do you overcome your personal challenges?
When you think of the worst possible things that can happen to you – for me it was being bankrupt and broke, a partner- ship gone bad and I lost everything. How- ever, I stood up and thought to myself ‘I’m here, I’m still alive’, I still have my brain, and I can still make changes – yes, it was scary but it made me realise that challenges can be overcome and failure either beats you or teaches you. This is how I started over- coming challenges that came my way.
What is next for you?
So much is going on! The next thing will be the platform I am launching, called Halahi in April. It’ll be the first of its kind in the region, backed up by a Forbes-listed cyber security company. It’s also in partnership with an extremely influential businessman in the UAE, Saif Belhasa. We are launching Halahi to be a platform where fans can get personalised videos from their favourite celebrities, for memories to last forever.
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