Sara Mohammed, Managing Partner at Executive-Women
Old vs New
I come from the school of thought, where we had to go to libraries and read a lot of books for each presentation, since we didn’t have the luxury of computers. That makes a huge difference, because I can see that the way my sons think is incredibly intelligent, whereas in my time, I wouldn’t have been able to think in such a way at such a young age.
Today’s youth has a rather short-term and technology driven mind-set, which can sometimes make work more challenging than it needs to be. My generation is more laid back because we’ve worked enough to be financially stable, but the youth of today is competitive and impatient enough to want that financial independence at a much younger age. This is the way the world is, and the youth of today are under tremendous pressure, which is why we now see more entrepreneurs than working class, because they are on a fast-track to becoming rich.
Technology has tapped in to the creative minds of the young, leading to a lot of large organizations hiring young. They give them their product which is 15 years old, and tell them to break it down and make it shine again.
Initially, my career goal was to become a chemical engineer, but at the time, my parents weren’t keen on me travelling to the U.S. to study. Shortly after finishing school, I was married, but still enthusiastic about doing something. I worked with Barclays, starting from basic customer service and then later on moving to the back office. I worked in almost every division of the bank, including operation, administration, customer service, foreign exchange, treasury and corporate department.
I started off with a salary of Dhs 2,000 and was hungry for knowledge, not money. The youth of today is hungry for results, or what that knowledge would result to. They want to live a good lifestyle at a very young age, without going through the traditional way of moving through the hierarchy. I, on the contrary, worked my way through the decades the traditional way, and sure enough, it paid off in 2006, when I was approached by Her Excellency Fatima Al-Jaber, who suggested setting up an investment banking company to do wealth management for women in Abu-Dhabi.
If you employ young people in organizations and observe them, you’ll see that they are very quick learners because they are able to come up with quicker ways of producing results, which helps organizations generate revenue at a much faster pace than before. The young minds are aware of how much they are contributing to the organization, and their demands are starting to increase.
I’ve faced many challenges in my career, because clients initially did not see me as someone who could add value to their business. One of my clients in Barclays actually suggested that I sit at home with family or open a tailoring shop or salon instead of going out and seeing clients. That came as a real shock, because I’m a firm believer that a job doesn’t need a specific gender as long as you’re capable of performing the objective of the organization. Luckily this country makes sure that women get equal opportunities and gender doesn’t matter as long as you have the right skill set, experience, and passion for the job. If we, as women, think we’re at a disadvantage to begin with, that in itself is a limitation.
Organizations don’t care about your gender or your personal life; they have a job to be done and you need to do that job. As long as you’re doing that, they will pay you what’s rightfully yours. You need to be passionate about continually improving yourself, and always have a mentor that you can look up to for motivation. Even if you don’t directly communicate with that person, observe how they behave with people. Pick up things from there and use it to improve yourself. Whenever people were critical about my work, it helped me perform beyond my expectations. I looked up to these managers and respected them, because they had to be critical in order to meet the targets of their departments.
Purpose with Executive Women
Having a financial management background makes me want to assist women by providing them with skills that would enhance their financial knowledge and emphasize the importance of managing their finances. My role is of a consultant and mentor for female entrepreneurs and women who are looking to build their careers and businesses. In my experience, a woman-to-woman approach has proven to be incredibly effective!
Future Plans of Executive Women
Executive-Women magazine is a memoir portraying inspiring and innovative female entrepreneurs, who are changing the face of business by daring to pursue their dreams. These women have emotional strength and intelligence, enabling them to balance a family life with their social lives, while also aiming for higher career goals. We celebrate the achievements of these women, and respect all the dedication it takes to keep going without giving up.
We offer our readers with the latest managerial articles, inspirational stories, leadership skills as well as monthly dose of culture, luxury, fashion, food and technology. Moreover, we are now offering personal branding, financial consultancy, health awareness programs, seminars and events as services to our growing community. Our mission is to empower, educate and engage women, and offer them a common platform for them to grow personally and professionally, through our various services and media platforms, and most importantly through the network and strategic partnerships we have built for the past three years with women councils, clubs and groups.
We do care a lot about the health and wellness of the woman, as you need to be in tune with yourself in order to be successful. Hence, we have initiated yoga and stress relief programs, which will in turn reflect positively on the physical and mental states of the woman. Also, we endorse all CSR activities and initiatives by collaborating with various NGOs for women and children in the UAE and across the MENA region.
Words of Advice
As a working woman, you face different people and situations, so you can’t behave as you would at home. You can’t behave like a daughter, wife or sister, because you are a part of a system at work. If you choose to go out and work, you have to face the consequences and learn to deal with the critique.
Speaking opportunities of Managing Director, Sara Mohamad, at Executive-Women events
“I am pleased to join Executive-Women and contribute to their long-term vision and plans to embrace female entrepreneurs by guiding their footsteps towards success by developing the various projects in publishing, events and trainings, image and brand consultancy, health enhancing activities and CSR.”
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