Riham Fouad started her journey in her last semester at university in 2006. As she majored in Radio & Tv, she was starting an internship at Insight magazine, one of the first magazines in Egypt. When the editor in chief had to suddenly travel to London, Riham found herself responsible for articles, ads, photoshoots, and many deadlines. She then knew she had to take the risk and get to work to publish the issue on time for the readers, and she did. That is when Riham Fouad knew her true passion for the job.
Now, Riham Fouad is the founder of Dinari communications, one of the leading companies in outdoor advertising in Egypt. Riham Fouad is also the founder of Technostyle magazine and the mother of a beautiful boy of 5 years old.
We sat down with Riham to know the rest of the story!
Where did your career as a media consultant start?
After taking the risk and working on the Insight Magazine issue, I did it. The issue was very successful, and I was proud of myself. I realized that I love the challenges that come with working in the media and PR field. Consequently, I worked with a lot of other magazines; all big names in Egypt. After that, I decided to launch TechnoStyle magazine. The first achievement with Technostyle was sponsoring Gitex Dubai, which is one of the world’s most influential meeting places for the Tech industry. 5 years after the magazine launch, I wanted to try something new in the same field but from a different angle. I joined the CBC team as an Acquisition Manager, and I was responsible for the content and the budget. It was a great experience.
You work in outdoor advertising, which can be a male-dominated field, have you had any challenges in regards to that?
Dinari Communications was and still is a very big challenge for me. As you said, the outdoors field is dominated by men. In the beginning, it was definitely harder because I was young and new in the field. However, I won difficult pitches.
They started to look at me in a different way, not because they wanted to but because my work forced them to.
At first, when I called any of the big names of the field to book locations, I would hear in their tones that they thought so little of me, but that only made me stronger. It led Dinari Communications to become one of the biggest Outdoor companies in Egypt.
In what ways did your work shape you?
I learned to fight and solve problems in a very diplomatic way. I learned to choose my words wisely to be able to negotiate and get what I want. We are successful because we put honesty and transparency above everything with our clients and suppliers.
Tell us about the message you want to send through Technostyle Magazine
Technostyle is a lifestyle magazine related to Technology and our concept is to prove that technology exists in everything that surrounds us. Also, that women can work in any field.
Work should not be divided between men and women.
What were the greatest challenges you faced when you first started out in your field? And how did you overcome them?
I started in 2008 from zero. All the agencies told me that I will never find enough material to talk about, so the start wasn’t the best in terms of sponsorships and advertising. I proved I was right through my creative content. One day, the agency that was handling Nokia called me because they wanted the magazine’s cover and that day until now, is one of the best days of my life.
How, in your opinion, can powerful female entrepreneurs support each other?
I personally support any woman who needs anything. I love to put my junior team on the right track at the beginning of their careers. Women need support, we need support in our careers. We also need support in our personal lives because we always balance both.
We care to always give the best of ourselves in everything we do. Women can support each other through everything because we are strong.
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/did you say in response to that question?
I always laugh when I hear this phrase. Our success should not be measured by the existence of men in our lives. I worked very hard and I got my career, then I got married and had a wonderful son. I lost my husband when my son was 1 year old and people looked at me as if I were desperate. They only thought of me as a woman who lost her husband and had a baby.
They didn’t think of me as a strong woman who got up again and is doing great work in her career and with her son.
Now, when I hear “When will you get married again? You need a brother or a sister for your son” In my mind, I say “it’s not your business what I want to do in my life.”
My advice is to always focus on your life and career.
Focus on yourself because you have to fight the world by yourself and be happy by yourself. Do whatever makes you happy no matter what people think about it.