Welcome to Emirates Woman‘s weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.

This week with chat with Dayana Tertyshanya, CEO of the UAE-based luxury photography and videography business, Dialight Studio. Known for its speciality in wedding productions, Dialight’s HQ doubles as an event rental space while using skilled techniques to capture those precious moments.

With a wealth of experience and knowledge in the industry, Emirates Woman sat down with Dayana to find out more about the brand and how her previous skillsets have contributed to the growth of the business.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Languages and I.T. Although clearly, a career in I.T was not where I was headed it definitely helped when it came down to structuring the website for my business.

What was your first job?

My unofficial first job came about when I was presented with a camera for my birthday. At the time this coincided with the appearance of the Russian version of Facebook, and so I got busy shooting the profile pictures of many of my friends, monetizing my passion, though at the time I didn’t know it.

However, my first real job was at seventeen years old, when my mother decided I needed hands-on business experience and put me in charge of the business she had just started. As a project manager, I had to deal with everything and learn quickly on the job. Everything from staff employment to sanitary inspections were amongst those skillsets. My mother would also talk to me as an investor and not as a parent, which really helped me focus on the job as opposed to treating it as something frivolous.

You set up your own company when you were just 23. What inspired this?

After graduating from IE Business School, Madrid and excelling in my aforementioned management job, I decided to travel to Dubai, as per the advice of my friends and other business school contacts. After settling in, I quickly got a job with a luxury photography and videography business which greatly added to both my professional skillset and life experience.

During my tenure of three months, I realized that the internal politics and human relations within the company did not sit well with me. As someone who started at a young age, I learned the ups and downs and international standards for business practices. I understood that a successful business is only as good as its team. Hence, I decided to take the leap and launch my own business. Inspired not just by my longstanding love for photography and videography but the fact that I could create something wholly my own.

Can you talk us through what Dialight Studio does?

We started as a photography and videography business with a strong focus on Emirati weddings in Dubai. In Dialight’s early stages, I used to travel personally to royal weddings in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman which over time strengthened our GCC experience and portfolio. Fast forward five years later and today Dialight Studio and its all-female team cater to all the GCC-based couples in the luxury sector looking to get high-quality content for their special day, including drone services, videography and photography. The major difference is today, we also have Dialight Production, our two-story brick and mortar headquarter which doubles as a studio for regional designers, creatives and entrepreneurs to realise their vision or even rent the space for special events. We’ve earned the trust of the local clientele thanks to positive reviews and features on prominent wedding pages like Khaleeji Weddings, Saudi Weddings and Lebanese Weddings on Instagram.

Dialight xEsposa Boutique Dialight-118

Dialight X Esposa Boutique Dialight

What are the key elements of your role?

I am the CEO and Owner of Dialight Studio, therefore my role involves a little bit of everything. But, a part of this also means trusting in my team and their individual skillset to manage everyday tasks successfully. These days my focus is primarily on the strategic vision and development of the brand, fast-paced conflict resolution and relevant communications paired with networking. I’m also heavily focused on a new business venture which is my own flower business. It has always been my strong suit to interact with people, a quality I suppose I picked up through my first job. I find the cyclic nature of things calming in this regard.

Talk us through your daily routine.

While this probably contradicts what other entrepreneurs have to say, I have a very flexible approach to my daily schedule. Even though I’m very involved in my businesses as I believe the day and age of workaholism has come to an end. It is imperative that one has a balance across all aspects of one’s life, it is the key to success. That being said, a typical day is comprised of a good cup of coffee, reading VIP client messages, horse riding, fostering personal relationships and a massage if things really get hectic. While I’d like to say I hit the gym – I’ve prepaid a personal trainer that I am no longer utilising, so, if anyone needs some free sessions, they’re always welcome.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

Get a mentor or a business coach to understand your key strengths and personality before making any major life choices or changes with regard to your professional life. You may find that being a business owner isn’t for you but being a top-notch team member is or it may also turn out that the life of an entrepreneur is not for you. However, if you are most decidedly a future entrepreneur, be ready for wherever life takes you, don’t disregard the risks and have a strong financial plan, because starting out is the most difficult part.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Be honest. My mother always taught me that honesty across all aspects of one’s life is vital to a fulfilling life, both personally and professionally.

And what is the worst?

I don’t believe in ‘worst’ advice or bad advice. You can always find a nugget of value that pertains to your own circumstances in the advice you receive from others. Just ensure that when decision making you trust your own instincts.

Dialight x Esposa Boutique Set Design by Events by Mod-178

Dialight x Esposa Boutique Set Design by Events by Mod

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

The pandemic – Having to pay the bills, employee salaries, maintain morale and fostering relationships with clients at the height of this global health crisis definitely showed me what I’m made of, both as a person and a business owner.

What are your goals for 2021?

For 2021 to 2022 my focus is on the development of my own flower boutique. I want to create something that reflects my taste and vision, introducing people in the region to something beyond simple/over-the-top arrangements. The competition is definitely high, and it’ll be intense but the challenges are a part of the journey and I’m ready for all of it.

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Images: Supplied & Feature image: Sana Al Maktoum Fine Jewellery photographed on Dayana