CAREER PROFILER: Soha Radwan

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After graduating from the American University in Cairo with a BA in Political Science, Radwan married and moved with her Lebanese husband to Beirut, where she enrolled in a Masters Program at AUB. Towards the end of her stay there Radwan and her husband founded Global Consultants. "My husband and I met in a meeting where we both were members of a committee overseeing a youth camp in Egypt. I was then heading a youth NGO called the Arab Youth Forum that I and a group of friends founded in 1995. We met in this context in a working relationship that soon turned into friendship. We discussed the idea of creating a fair that would give young people the chance to identify education opportunities", Radwan explains. After they married they revisited this idea and founded Global Consultants with one major project called ACADEMIA.

 

So after being in business for several years now, how do you handle or balance your professional life and your private life?

"Well of course it s quite hectic (she smiles), even though that the many management seminars I attended tell you otherwise about time management, it is not as easy in practice. I don’t just have a job, I own the business, it is much more demanding as you have a lot to worry about and big responsibilities. With my daughter Emma (2 yrs) it is different. Yet sometimes she attends meetings with me and basically is around with us in the office, even brings along her toy laptop. Emma now wants a desk of her own in my office. That’s one of the benefits of having an own business as a mother and professional. And the fact that Nasser and I work together helps keeping things together. Furthermore we commute between Beirut and Cairo, so I am glad I found a school that allows me to educate Emma between here and there."

 

Isn’t it difficult to work with a spouse in the same business?

"We don’t see each other that much during work as it’s very hectic and busy. But he understands how strained my time is and accepts and respects that. I am glad that my husband is an open-minded person in general which helped me a lot. I have a 24h schedule in which I get 5-6h of sleep, and at night after Emma sleeps I have to do the conceptual work which I don’t find time for during the day."

 

Who inspires you?

"My husband is a very creative person. We don’t have a conventional marriage; each one of us comes from a different part of the world and met by coincidence. We share the same intellectual spirit and interests. I would say we inspire each other. But he is the creative guy. Our professional and private lives are not separate as we both practice what we like doing, a hobby became business."

 

What kind of situations did you face during your career that had an impact on your personality or your career?

"I am a perfectionist and care about how people perceive me; I question and review myself all the time. Sometimes you reach a point where you just are over-worked and sleepless, worry about Emma, my efforts and time, if it’s all worth it, but then you see that the hard work pays off by the feedback that we get from clients and visitors at our events, and suddenly all is worth its while. It gives you a motivational push that is the best ever."

 

What advice can you give young women at the beginning of their careers?

"Identify what you really want, that’s the biggest advice. Beginners need to be clear about their goals and objectives in life, yet you need to be flexible and realistic. Endurance and learning of mistakes is another advice that I can give. Regarding marriage I recommend to marry a friend not just for the sake of marriage. Marriage needs trust and understanding in order to sustain."

 

What are the characteristics needed for success?

"I don’t think there is such thing as a set of characteristics. It really depends on the motivation, why a person is doing the work. Now there are several sets of motivation, if they are doing it to build a name or believe in a mission or just for the pay. But as long as one is honest and loyal to that motivation this is the key to success. I believe for any business woman it makes you wake up at night after you put your kids to bed to continue a research or a plan or a strategic thing, it gives you that kind of motivation and makes you feel capable of enacting what you want to do, in spite of all the demands or requirements from you by society, business and others."

 

 

 

 

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