This woman has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with from the get-go. Establishing MO4 with her siblings, and building it from the ground-up, Amy Mowafi’s hard work and understanding of the media industry are admirable. We speak to this incredibly powerful woman about working with siblings, women empowerment, and the insanity that is Social Media!
Being the oldest sister to three boy partners, what are the secret shenanigans that nobody knows of?
Far too many to list! I don’t think the issue has ever really been that they’re ‘boy partners’ per se, but rather the very fact of working with siblings. In the beginning, especially it was incredibly tough creating a demarcation between family and business. Things would get very heated and we would behave as we were still kids fighting in our living room! But over the years we’ve figured our s*** out. As the company has grown, we each have our area of expertise and accountability and trust each other to get on with the job. And honestly, the best thing is when you’re working with your siblings, no matter how tough things get when all is said and done you can trust each other implicitly.
What can women in the industry do to support not only each other but the everyday Egyptian woman?
If you have a seat at the table, I feel you’re obliged to pull up another seat for the next woman. We’ve got to pay attention to the women in our organizations, and we’ve got to give opportunities to more women. Not to fulfill some quota, but because a diverse and balanced eco-system, whatever the industry, is a more powerful and effective one full stop.
Having all your work linked to Social Media, is it sometimes difficult to disconnect?
Yes! And it has taken me to the very edge at times. There have been days when I have completely fallen apart by the sheer stress and pressure of having so much information, that I must meditate, being thrown at me 24 hours a day. In the last couple of years, however, I have become much better about purposefully detangling myself from it and mindfully disassociating on a regular basis. Working out at least three times a week, switching my phone off for a few hours on the weekend, having at least two hours before I go to bed that are entirely screen-free, all those things have helped. And last Christmas I somehow worked up the nerve to turn my phone off for three whole weeks and it was magnificent.
From your experience which is easier to handle, male or female clients?
The issue with clients is never the gender; it’s intelligence, work ethic, and creativity. If the person you’re directly dealing with at an organization wants to just tick boxes for their reports, doesn’t grasp the intricacies of Social Media storytelling, or isn’t empowered to make real decisions, the greatest agency in the world will fail.
Do you believe mothers of boys have a responsibility to teach them to be kind and respectful towards women? If so, what is your approach in order to accomplish that?
One hundred percent! I don’t think it’s something you ‘teach’, it’s something you show. Children do what they see. My son and daughter are treated in exactly the same way, I am careful to avoid even subtle gender bias in our home, I am careful about the terminology we use, and I ensure that he is told as many stories about female warriors and superheroes as he is about male ones.
Do you find that it is essential to create content that reflects girl power these days?
Yes! It goes back to the first question you asked. How can I pull up a seat at the table for the next woman? Well, I am a storyteller, and my entire business is built around the power of those stories. I have seven storytelling platforms that reach millions of people across the Region every day and I will be damned if I don’t leverage that to spotlight incredible Arab women.
Do you think starting out as an Arab female with a very loud voice changed the narrative of so many topics that weren’t openly discussed online?
I don’t know. Of course, I hope so. I didn’t have some master plan when I started out. I just wanted to tell the stories and share the stories that I wasn’t told (in films, magazines, and TV shows) when I was growing up. Stories tell us who we are and can be. They are the bedrock of our identity. And one story inspires the next story. They are a force of change.
Most Egyptian women have had to answer the question “Hanefra7 Biki Emta” before in reference to marriage, despite any accomplishments they may have already made, what would you say in response to that question?
The point is not when will “they” be happy for you, but when will you be happy for yourself. If that’s marriage and kids, great! If that’s a high-powered career, great! If that’s leaning in and ‘doing it all’, great! If that’s spending a year at a yoga retreat in Bali, well good for you. The point is it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks, says or does. What makes you happy?