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Dima Ayad: the Business of Inclusive Fashion


Dima Ayad began her career in hospitality, developing restaurant and entertainment concepts for leading hotel chains like Kerzner, Raffles and Jumeirah. During her 15 year tenure, she launched restaurants like Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, and award-winning music festivals like Sandance.

Whilst still working full-time in hospitality, a difficult personal experience led Dima to address a problem that she had struggled with for years: her clothing size (12/14 US) just wasn’t available. She began making her own evening gowns, and eventually created her eponymous label (Dima Ayad) for women of all shapes and sizes. A few years in, the brand took off and Dima left hospitality to devote herself entirely to her mission: to make luxury fashion accessible to women of all sizes.

We talked about how she was essentially forced to address the market gap, and how she has scaled her business – failures, challenges, and tips for success. We discussed what “plus size” and “luxury fashion” actually mean, why clothes are not available in sizes that would fit more than half the population and how the global idea of beauty has morphed over time from Marilyn Monroe to Kate Moss. We also touched on sustainability in fashion and how wasteful it is as an industry. Maybe the biggest lesson I took away is the massive impact that clothes can have on your mood and your day, how clothes can be empowering or the opposite. Dima gave a fantastically relatable example – I hope you’ll listen to it.

My favorite quote was “There’s something so beautiful about being yourself”. And Dima’s book recommendation was Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie.

You can find Dima at her website or on Instagram.

Please do get in touch with the team at When Women Win and let us know what you think of this episode or the show in general. You can reach us via InstagramTwitter, LinkedIn. Thank you!

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Journey to Parity For Men and Women


Anne-Marie Slaughter is the CEO of New America, a think and action tank dedicated to renewing America in the Digital Age. She has been a law professor at Harvard, as well as a professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and has written or edited 8 books. From 2009–2011, Anne-Marie served as director of policy planning for the United States Department of State. It was this experience that led her to pen a ground-breaking article in 2012: “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All”.

Anne-Marie’s point of view was a shock to the corporate system. Here was one of the most powerful women on planet earth saying that combining family and career in today’s work construct was just not possible. In the first four days after publication, the Atlantic article attracted 725,000 unique readers, making it the most popular piece ever published in that magazine.

I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Anne-Marie recently, at the Nexus Summit in New York. I wanted to know whether her views had changed in any way over the past 7 years. We also talked about how people react to businesswomen taking time out for personal reasons and how organisations need to level the playing field. We discussed the role of men and what they need from the parity movement. We talked about her latest book, The Chessboard and the Web; and Anne-Marie shared a sure-fire tip on how to get more done in a day.

My favorite quote was a sobering one: “Life happens… somebody has to make the choice for care over career, and our society is structured such that people who do that are radically devalued”.

You can find Anne-Marie on Twitter and at https://www.newamerica.org/

Please do get in touch with the team at When Women Win and let us know what you think of this episode or the show in general. You can reach us via InstagramTwitter, LinkedIn – or the contact form on the home page. Thank you!

Supercar Blondie: the World’s #1 Reviewer of Supercars


Alex Hirschi, otherwise known as Supercar Blondie, does video reviews of the world’s fastest and rarest cars. She is an Australian woman living in Dubai, and has 16 million followers across multiple social media channels.

Alex & I talked about her journey from small town Australia to becoming the world’s most popular supercar reviewer: the challenges in starting a side hustle while having a full-time job, working with your spouse, trying to break into a male-dominated world, coping with bullies, how blonde she actually is – and much, much more! Hundreds of fans sent questions in via the When Women Win Instagram page, and many of them were answered.

This show was raw and real. One of my favorite quotes was her advice to women who are struggling in male-dominant worlds: “keep showing up”. Supercar Blondie’s book recommendation is I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.

You can find Supercar Blondie on Instagram and YouTube.

Why not get in touch with the team at When Women Win and let us know what you think of this episode or the show in general? You can reach us via InstagramTwitter, LinkedIn – or the contact form on the home page. Thank you!

Elissar Farah Antonios – CEO of Citi UAE & Levant


Elissar leads Citi’s largest and most diverse franchise in the Middle East and Africa, where she oversees Corporate, Investment Banking and Wealth Management services. Her banking career started 29 years ago in the London office of the Bank of New York. On her way to Citi, Elissar spent a few years with Credit Agricole Indosuez and ABN AMRO.

Elissar was ranked by Forbes Middle East among the top 100 most powerful and influential Arab businesswomen in 2017 and 2018. She is active in various community service organizations: Elissar is the senior sponsor of Citi’s UAE Women Network and is on the Advisory Board of the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut. She has also been an Advisory Member of the Lebanese Banking Association and helped launch the United Nation Global Compact Network in Lebanon.

Having such a seasoned banker on the show, I had to get some advice on wealth management – an issue that plagues many When Women Win listeners. We then got into the gender pay gap, as the Financial Services industry in general performs badly here. I was surprised to learn that Citi had done a deep dive on this issue – and had made their findings public.

We discussed why women are leaving the corporate world and how to retain them. Spoiler alert: this includes paternity leave! We went deep into challenges that Elissar faced at very stages of her career – from her starting out, to mid-career to much more recently. And finally, we discussed the importance of balance in one’s life – and how to get it. Another spoiler? Nope 🙂

My favorite quote of the episode was: “The position itself doesn’t give you the authority. You EARN the authority and respect with time, as you demonstrate the value”.

You can find Elissar on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Please do get in touch with the team at When Women Win and let us know what you think of this episode or the show in general. You can reach us via InstagramTwitter, LinkedIn – or the contact form on the home page. Thank you!