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start-business

Beth Comstock on Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change

Beth Comstock is former Chief Marketing Officer and Vice Chair of General Electric and is the author of Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change.

For the opening episode of Season 2 we are fortunate to have an international powerhouse in the world of marketing. Beth Comstock spent 25 years at GE where she led efforts to accelerate new growth and was named GE’s first Chief Marketing Officer in 2003. Beth served as President of Integrated Media at NBC Universal, from 2006-08, overseeing ad revenue and the company’s digital efforts, including the early formation of Hulu. She is a corporate director of Nike and has been named to both the Fortune and Forbes lists of the World’s Most Powerful women.

We discussed Beth’s new book, Imagine It Forward. We covered many aspects of innovation – how entrepreneurs approach it, how entrepreneurial people within a corporation can innovate and disrupt, and how the corporation can encourage and support them. We explored the personal and professional price that disruptors might pay as organisations resist change. Beth gave practical tips for introverts like herself – introverts who wish to lead, as well as tips for managers of introverts. We touched on the problems that have rocked GE and talked about gatekeepers versus goalkeepers and how they can shape your job choices.

My favorite quote was: “You cannot mitigate risk, you have to navigate it.”

Beth recommended three books: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, Management Principles by Peter Drucker and The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker.

If you would like to follow Beth on social media you can find her on LinkedInInstagram, and Twitter. Her book, Imagine It Forward, is available in stores and online.


Marshall Goldsmith on Breaking the 12 Habits Holding Women Back

This episode is packed full of actionable tips and truth bombs. Dr. Marshall Goldsmith has been named the World’s #1 Executive Coach and the World’s #1 Leadership Thinker. Marshall has coached over 150 major CEOs, is the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers and has decades of experience helping men and women win.

Marshall is the first male guest on When Women Win! He has recently co-written with Sally Helgesen an incredibly powerful book called “How Women Rise”, which breaks down the 12 habits holding professional women back in the workplace.

While structural and systemic changes must be made to the workplace to give women equal opportunity to rise, this book rather focuses on things that a woman herself can control to make herself more effective. I was blown away by the insights and I recommend the book highly to all women, dads of daughters, HR managers, and CEOs out there.

It was also a humbling experience to be coached on air, during my own interview. In the end I was hit with a well-deserved fine (charitable contribution) for starting too many sentences with “but” and “no”. I really want to thank Marshall for this eye-opening experience.

Here’s a few of the insights and quotes from our chat:

“When men and women get an offer, men negotiate – women say thank you.”

“Don’t fall into the trap of being indispensable.”

“The average woman leader gets better 360 feedback than the average male leader.”

“Don’t worship the corporate God.”

“Don’t be ashamed to need help.”

To further upgrade your skills head over to www.marshallgoldsmith.com where Marshall makes all his material available for free. You can also find Marshall on LinkedIn where he has over 1 million followers.

A big thank you to Naseba, Moustafa Hamwi and Right Selection for making this episode possible.


Leaving a Successful Corporate Career to Start a Business – Lily Kandalaft

Lily Kandalaft had a fulfilling and successful career at one of the largest food companies in the world. After she had her first baby, she realized a large gap in postnatal care in the region and decided to take on the massive responsibility and challenge of building a business that countless families have grown to rely on over the past 5 years.

Lily Kandalaft is the founder of Malaak Mama & Baby Care, the UAE’s first maternity focused childcare agency providing prenatal classes, maternity nurses, babysitters, sleep trainers, breastfeeding support as well as other pre- and postnatal services to support families in the UAE. A passionate supporter of working moms, Lily tries to be for others what she needed herself.

In our conversation Lily shared valuable lessons she learned in the corporate world that have served her well in entrepreneurship. We also talked about the challenges on her journey as an entrepreneur: the burden of constant decision-making, how she’s had to give up on the myth of perfection to be kinder to herself and how she’s learned to say no. Lily has found that managing people and various stakeholder interests becomes both more difficult and important as a small business owner.

For people who see a gap in the market and want to start their own business, Lily’s advice is “just do it.” She also talks about the value of starting out as a side hustle before committing fully to your passion enterprise. She also reveals how she’s managed to And she credits maintining her sanity through this journey to the support of mentors, role models and sympathetic friends.

If you would like to know more about Malaak you can visit www.malaakme.com or find them on Facebook (@malaakuae) and Instagram (@malaakbabycare)


Building Two Wildly Successful Online Businesses – Mona Ataya

Mona Ataya is one of the Middle East’s most prominent entrepreneurs, having built two hugely successful online businesses in the last 18 years: Bayt and Mumzworld.

Mona Ataya founded Mumzworld in 2011 to fill a void for mothers that she herself faced twice: firstly while preparing to become a mother of twins and couldn’t find local resources, and then later in trying to buy her children quality, affordable toys. Prior to Mumzworld, Mona co-founded Bayt, the first online search engine for jobs in the Middle East. Mona actually started out in the corporate world and spent 10 years working for FMCG giants Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.

We discussed Mona’s career drivers and how her desire for social impact shaped her path. We talked about lessons from the corporate world like resourcefulness and accountability. We addressed the challenges of e-commerce and how to overcome them, and how to build a company culture that is ìcustomer obsessedî. I asked about support and coping mechanisms – because none of this can be easy! Finally, we discussed what to look for in investors, given her experience raising 5 rounds of funding for Mumzworld. (Hint: it ain’t just the money!)

This episode was extra-special as it was recorded in a Careem! For international listeners, Careem is the Middle East’s leading ride-hailing app. So yes: this was my first ever WWW interview in a taxi – and we had loads of fun. A big thank you to Careem for making it happen. You can find them at www.careem.com or @CareemUAE on Twitter.

If you would like to follow Mona Ataya you can find her through Mumzworld.com or @Mumzworld on Twitter and Instagram.