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start-culture

Sara Al Madani on How To Succeed In The Face of Demoralizing Adversity

She started her first business at the age of 15, and her fashion label is still running today. Sara Al Madani is a well-known Emirati fashion designer, partner in a tech company and owner of a creative consultancy. She is the youngest board member at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry and also sits on the board of the UAE SME Council. Sara has won numerous awards and is a passionate advocate for women in business.  We met at Dubai’s bustling Youth Hub for this recording. Sara started her first business at the age of 15 after declaring financial independence from her bewildered parents. She amassed enough money to start a fashion label by doing odd jobs and selling her belongings. She bought and resold goods and, against her parent’s wishes, did promotional work for soft drinks companies in a mall. 17 years later Sara is still running her fashion business to provide stylish and unique abayas (traditional wear of Gulf Arab women) as well as turning her hand to many other businesses. But it hasn’t all been easy. Sara has faced opposition from the start and has suffered setbacks along the way. Her determination and faith have helped fuel her success as she’s struggled with stereotypes, bankruptcy and divorce. “I take ownership of failure,” is her approach. Sara’s optimism and energy are highly contagious. We discussed her thoughts on “women empowerment”, on how to raise boys and on the positive impact of women in boardrooms. My favorite quote was “I am a mango tree. I only want mango-lovers to come to me.” You can find Sara on Instagram @sara_almadani and LinkedIn.

Read the Transcript

Note: While When Women Win is produced as an audio recording, we are delighted to produce transcripts for those who are unable to hear. Kindly note that these are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Media is encouraged to check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Rana Nawas: (00:00)
Hello ladies and gents, my guest on today’s show is a leading Emirati entrepreneur who started her career at the age of 15 by building a fashion label that is still running today. Sara Al Madani is a well known Emirati fashion designer, partner in a tech company and owner of a creative consultancy. She’s the youngest Board Member at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and also sits on the board of the UAE SME Council. Sara has won numerous awards and is a passionate advocate for women in business. We sat down at Dubai’s bustling youth hub and discussed Sara’s early experiences and how her grit and patience helped her overcome bias and resistance. We talked about traditional expectations and how Sara departed from them both at work and at home. I learned about her faith and her commitment to optimism in the face of adversity. We explored the importance of raising boys as feminists and debated perhaps the only thing that Sara and I disagree on; the word empowerment. So let’s get into it.

Rana Nawas: (01:10)
How wonderful to have you on When Women Win.

Sara Al Madani: (01:13)
Thank you for having me. I’m so excited.

Rana Nawas: (01:15)
Yeah, me too. We’ve been planning this for a long time.

Sara Al Madani: (01:17)
I know, I know. Long ago.

Rana Nawas: (01:19)
Tayeb great. So stupid, lazy, irresponsible. These are words that your teachers use to describe you at school. Why?

Sara Al Madani: (01:29)
It wasn’t only teachers. It was classmates, teachers, friends, sometimes some family members just because I’m dyslexic, but I did not know that I was dyslexic. Reading, numbers, studying and understanding things was completely different for me than for everybody in class, which made me like the purple elephant in the room and everyone realized that Sara does not see or act or think like us. And slowly I started actually believing that because everyone was saying it. So you start questioning: am I normal? Is my brain different? Am I really stupid? Am I really? Why can’t I just love everything in class and do everything the same way everyone did? And that’s how it started. But later on, I think when I was 12, I was diagnosed with dyslexia and it was, you know, it’s conditioned. It’s not really fully understood in the region. So I knew I had it. I thought it was a disease at the beginning because I was like, I was a kid, the doctor was like, you were dyslexic. And I was like, okay. They’re like, so you see things differently than everybody else and that’s all they said. And I had to live with that idea. And every time I’d go back to school or back to class… I actually switched schools for that reason as well to another school because I would tell them, you know what, I always say this to my friend as well, I wish I could show you how things are when I look at them in my own eyes, but I can’t describe it and I can’t show it. So I used to tell my teachers that letters keep jumping around and words keep shifting when I look at them. I can’t focus. And they are like, if you want to go home, if you don’t want to be educated, it’s okay. If you’re lazy, it’s okay. You don’t have to make up stuff. So yeah, even numbers were crazy. And I remember the worst experience ever was math class because we would have a math exam and usually you’d have to write the formula of the question and then the answer. I used to write the answer only and they used to think I always cheated.

Rana Nawas: (03:25)
Oh my gosh.

Sara Al Madani: (03:26)
And then I would try to tell the teacher; my brain cannot write the formula for you but it did it in my head. And he would not believe me and he would always call me a cheater and would kick me out of class.

Rana Nawas: (03:35)
And so this must have done wonders for your self-esteem.

Sara Al Madani: (03:38)
It did. And I lost interest in studying. Slowly my interest started dying. Yeah.

Rana Nawas: (03:44)
Do you think this was a gift or a curse as dyslexia?

Sara Al Madani: (03:50)
After understanding what it is and why, I think it’s an amazing gift because I was never left out. Yes, I didn’t fit in, but I was never left out. I was always in my own bubble and my own world, my imagination was, was wide. Everything was visual for me. So I would imagine things right away, like, you know what I mean? I was in my own la-la land. That’s what I call it. My head was in the sky. I was happy. I was not in a bad place, but people made me feel bad about it.

Rana Nawas: (04:21)
I love what you say about being different because this is how I feel. You know, I was also a misfit at school, for different reasons. And I really… I always say that being different is your superpower.

Sara Al Madani: (04:31)
It is.

Rana Nawas: (04:32)
I really feel that.

Sara Al Madani: (04:33)
It is. I mean, when you think about it, we didn’t come out of one cookie cutter. We don’t have to look the same, act the same, although this is what the society is trying to do with the pressure in the media and everything happening. They want to make you feel like if you don’t look like that you’re missing out or you don’t fit in. But when you realize that there’s so much beauty in being different and we’re not supposed to fit in and we’re not supposed to be trends slaves…

Rana Nawas: (04:55)
There is nothing to fit into.

Sara Al Madani: (04:57)
No. I, I always tell women I reject and I will always and never accept to be a trends slave. Yeah. I liked.

Rana Nawas: (05:04)
A translate?

Sara Al Madani: (05:06)
A trends slave.

Rana Nawas: (05:06)
Trend slave. I like that. I’ve never heard that term before.

Sara Al Madani: (05:08)
So I’m not a trend slave. I have my own trends and if there’s something I like out there that’s trending, I’ll take it. But I’m not a trend slave.

Rana Nawas: (05:14)
Well, I mean you are definitely not someone who, you know, and I quote “fits in,” right? I mean Emirati lady, serial entrepreneur with piercings. Yeah, I mean sneakers and piercings. The thing is I love being me and I would never want to be or apply any other thing than me.

Sara Al Madani: (05:35)
Yeah. I love being me. And there’s so much beauty and so much really happens when you give someone the freedom to be themselves. And, to be honest, I am a mango tree. I just want mango lovers. I don’t want people who love oranges to come to me.

Rana Nawas: (05:48)
What does that mean Sara?. Does that mean you look chimpanzees? I mean, I don’t understand.

Sara Al Madani: (05:54)
It means that if you are a mango tree, would you want an apple lover to come and eat from you. No. You want someone to appreciate you. I just want mango lovers and I don’t have to tell any… like, I always say, do you have to tell people that you’re a mango tree if you were one? No, because you have mangoes. It’s obvious who you are. I don’t want to put an effort into proving to people who I am or what I am and I just want people to appreciate me, to be around me. I don’t want anyone else. I don’t want to pretend, I don’t want to be fake. I tried that for a while because being in the fashion industry and stuff like that, people sometimes force you and you have to do it to fit in, but then I was like, damn it, I don’t want to fit in. I don’t even care. Even if this was the end of my career or whatever, I don’t want to fit in.

Rana Nawas: (06:37)
Well, let’s talk about the fashion industry. How and when did you get involved?

Sara Al Madani: (06:41)
I started my whole shebang when I was 15. I started my first business, which was fashion. I never studied fashion. I was clueless about it, but if you want something you can easily learn. It’s all about wanting and believing. Yeah, and I started. I opened a store when I was 15. It was a beautiful journey. Grew so fast.

Rana Nawas: (07:02)
Sorry. How did you open the store? I mean, how did that happen when you were just 15?

Sara Al Madani: (07:06)
So when I was 15 I went up to my dad and I was like, I want to be independent, and he laughed. He was like, you’re a 15 year old. Not out of disrespect, but when a 15 year old tells you I want to be independent while other 15 year olds are playing outside with barbies and in the sand and all that… I was like, dad I want to be a business woman.

Rana Nawas: (07:25)
And what did you mean you wanted to be independent?

Sara Al Madani: (07:27)
Like I don’t want money from you.

Rana Nawas: (07:28)
You told him, dad, I’m 15, I don’t want any more money from you.

Sara Al Madani: (07:31)
Yeah, and he laughed. I remember they were sitting on the couch and he looked at my mom and my mum was like, no, no, no. He’s like, don’t get mad, she’ll come back, she’ll need us. My dad was like go. Do whatever you want. And I was like yay green light. So what I did is I sold all my toys, my computer, I bought electronics and resold them. I did promotional jobs on the side like as a sales girl for, for like so many soft drinks and the malls, you know, when you stand in the mall and you give out drinks for trials. But I did it behind my parent’s back. Right. Because in our culture, you know, it’s not okay to do that at that age. I did it so many times, but once I was caught. I denied it. There was a picture, I still denied it. So I was like, it wasn’t me. My Dad’s like, okay.

Rana Nawas: (08:18)
I know that song.

Sara Al Madani: (08:19)
Exactly. Shaggy. My dad was like but that’s you standing with your friends giving out Pepsi. I was like, dad, that’s not me. And then like I gathered 20, I think it was 20, 25,000 dirhams. Back then that was like a fortune. We’re talking about 2000, 2000-2001. I found an immense tailor store in the middle of the industrial area, which means no women, but I was like, this is the start. I will start anywhere as long as I start. Right? Yeah. So I found one and the guy wanted key money. He’s like, you pay me 19,000 dirhams, here’s a rent for a whole year. Take my staff, take my license. It’s all yours. So you want to keep money to leave basically. And he’s like, good luck. It’s an industrial area. I was like, I’ll take it. Paid the money. Had the store for a whole year. Got it with its employees. It was two guys and I remember for a whole year they wouldn’t work. They were like “I will not do lady clothes. I do my clothes, I do men kandora. I do traditional clothes.” So I was like sitting in the store, being a boss with them and we were drinking coffee and tea everyday, eating together and slowly, slowly they started like, you know, liking me more and accepting me more. And that’s where the walls broke and our guards dropped and they started actually working and bouncing off ideas and all that.

Rana Nawas: (09:35)
And so you started in, I mean you had an idea when you were 15 that you wanted to go into fashion?

Sara Al Madani: (09:40)
I wanted to change the way Arab woman looked in their traditional wear because it had no silhouette. It had no shape, no design. It made them look as if they’re hiding, as if they’re supposed to hide behind it.

Rana Nawas: (09:53)
So we’re talking about that a’abayah and the shaala?

Sara Al Madani: (09:54)
Yeah.

Rana Nawas: (09:54)
Alright.

Sara Al Madani: (09:54)
So I wanted to empower her through her traditional clothes and for her to be part of what’s happening out there not under it; under the a’abayah, but outside and be proud of it.

Rana Nawas: (10:06)
Yeah like why not wear a stylish a’abayah? Why not do fashion? Even if you’re modest and trendy.

Sara Al Madani: (10:11)
You know what I mean?

Rana Nawas: (10:11)
Yeah, I like it.

Sara Al Madani: (10:12)
Yeah. And that was my vision. That’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t know how, where, why, and I just started. Okay. And you got these two guys to help. Yeah. And then slowly, slowly we grew into so many branches from the industrial area. It’s because when you don’t quit, things happen. When you’re, when you have the strength, you have the passion, things happen no matter where you are as long as you start. So we grew to three branches. Four branches. My staff went up to 125 people. So we started growing gradually and it was a very happy journey. I grew up with the brand, which was fun.

Rana Nawas: (10:47)
And then 2013 came along. What happened?

Sara Al Madani: (10:49)
2013 I was bankrupt. I lost everything… It was… I’m not going to say…. It was a bad partnership, but I’m not going to blame anyone. I’m going to blame myself because you take ownership of failure.I cannot change people if they were bad, I cannot change the way they think or their ethics or anything. I cannot go shopping for ethics for them. So what I do is I…I stopped looking at their mistakes and I started looking at mine because it takes two to tango. Fine. I lost everything. But where did I go wrong? What did I do wrong? And that’s when I realized, damn, I’m learning because I’m looking at my mistakes and my mistake was that innocent mistake a lot of women do in business that when you partner up with family or friends or anybody you care about, you don’t do the paperwork.

Rana Nawas: (11:36)
Oh, so your contracts weren’t tight.

Sara Al Madani: (11:39)
My contracts were never tight, so it was, it was a very loose end contract. Very casual. Casual. I love you. You love me. We’re friends kind of counter contract.

Rana Nawas: (11:48)
So it was a friend who was your business partner?

Sara Al Madani: (11:50)
Yeah.

Rana Nawas: (11:50)
Okay. So the money disappeared.

Sara Al Madani: (11:52)
Just everything. Everything.

Rana Nawas: (11:53)
Listeners’ benefit. So how did you just go bankrupt overnight?

Sara Al Madani: (11:56)
Everything gone.

Rana Nawas: (11:57)
Like as in I packed a bag and left the country?

Sara Al Madani: (11:57)
No, no, no. As in like I woke up, there was nothing in the bank.

Rana Nawas: (12:03)
Nothing in the bank. So she drained the bank account?

Sara Al Madani: (12:05)
Yeah. I don’t know how. I don’t know where, why. I did go to courts for awhile. I got nothing out of it. And then I realized that at a certain point in court, I had to let go of the case because it was just draining my energy and money and there was no money to come back. It was gone. It was all gone. Since I don’t have any contracts that were good enough to protect me, I was gone. That was gone as well. So, but you know what? The beauty of what happened is I’ve learned something so important and I got so close to God because of that experience. Usually people lose their faith when they fail. And they keep saying, why me? Why me? I sat down and I thought about it all. And I realized that God sends you messages sometimes through people, through signals in the universe. What I realized is that sometimes you need to be slapped like God gives you that slap and tells you to stop. But the minute that problem happened, it was a door that closed, like I would not say a door, I would say a huge, huge bridge that was burnt because it was my dreams, my hopes, everything I put into life was there. But then I realized that you should not be attached to things. And the minute God closes a door, He opens another window. So the minute that happened, I was assigned as a Board Member at the Chamber of Commerce; an amazing achievement.Two women, nineteen men, chosen by His Highness.

Rana Nawas: (13:25)
So invite the ruler out of a massive pool of potential women.

Sara Al Madani: (13:29)
Exactly. After that, I was chosen and selected to be a Board Member in the SME Council in the Ministry of Economy. Big achievement. Slowly, slowly, businesses started opening, opening up. Pathways started opening up. It’s like as if my energy was blocked and God took that block away and things started happening. I mean if you look at me back then, I was doing good. Business was good. I was very known. One of the best designers in the region, making a lot of money every month. But I was comfortable. After the problem hit me, I produced and I bloomed and I opened up even more. The minute the problem happened to me, I came back and I opened six companies.

Rana Nawas: (14:08)
Six companies! In what? Not fashion then?

Sara Al Madani: (14:11)
No, no, it was an FNB Tech Consultancy and now I’m opening three new companies on the pipeline. So it just showed me how strong I am and I couldn’t have seen that if I was still there, still doing what I did. I would have still been the designer and nothing else. So that showed me my potential. It showed me who I am, who I really am. And God’s delays are not God’s denials. So you see it in the pipeline. You see it later on. Maybe a year, maybe two, maybe 10 minutes, maybe 10 years, but it will come. Now the other lesson I learned is that you should never let pain make you a version of the person that hurts you. Pain should not make you bitter, full of hate, angry, ungrateful, and unkind. Just because someone did that to you, you should not be another version of them. Now I am kinder, stronger, sweeter, nicer. I even have more partners that I work with. I trust people even more after that experience. One lost soul is not going to make me believe in humanity.

Rana Nawas: (15:12)
Yeah, you’re not gonna lose your faith in humanity because of one bad apple?

Sara Al Madani: (15:13)
Hell no! There are good people. And the only lesson I learned is that when I start a business now I should do it more carefully – select people carefully and have better contracts. And my problem was solved.

Rana Nawas: (15:25)
Yeah, invest in a good lawyer basically.

Sara Al Madani: (15:26)
Exactly. It costs a lot, but it saves you forever.

Rana Nawas: (15:31)
And that isn’t the only difficulty you faced at that time. I think there was something else that you went through that was a big challenge.

Sara Al Madani: (15:39)
Right. You are right. So while I was going through that, I got divorced as well. So it was a big challenge.

Rana Nawas: (15:46)
Was it a messy divorce?

Sara Al Madani: (15:47)
I would not say messy, but I would not say… It wasn’t easy.

Rana Nawas: (15:53)
Of course it’s not easy because you have a son, you have a child.

Sara Al Madani: (15:54)
Yeah but it wasn’t easy because like you know when you’re in love with someone it’s not easy to let go.

Rana Nawas: (16:01)
And you’ve been married for how long?

Sara Al Madani: (16:02)
I separated a year after marriage but I’ve studied with my husband in university, at my ex husband’s university. So I’ve known him for seven years, as a friend, as a colleague before that. So this is what made it harder; that he was a friend way before getting married. And it wasn’t easy because, you know, as I said, like separating emotions and all that, but I knew it wasn’t meant for us but I learned a lot from him as well. He learned a lot from me as well. And I believe everything happens for a reason. I wouldn’t have had my son if this didn’t happen.

Rana Nawas: (16:36)
Yeah. Exactly.

Sara Al Madani: (16:36)
Yeah. So it happened all at once. And I think this is the breaking point where you should either quit and give up or just fight for it and go. Imagine that, I don’t know, if I actually, after that problem in 2013 with the divorce, with a messy divorce, with everything that’s happening with the bankruptcy, imagine I just sat at home and told my parents to help me out financially. I would have been at home right now doing nothing, you know?

Rana Nawas: (17:02)
You certainly wouldn’t be on When Women Win.

Sara Al Madani: (17:04)
Exactly. But it just tells you that every shortcut, every journey, every path you choose to take in life will change the end, the outcome completely. So if I just changed my thought that day, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now with you or owning everything I own. So it just tells you that, you know, don’t give up. This is the time where you’re challenged. This is the time where you prove and you come out and you actually break through.

Rana Nawas: (17:30)
Yeah. I think who was, I think it’s Eleanor Roosevelt who said “a woman is like a tea bag. You only know how strong she is once you dip her in hot water.” Yeah. It’s so true.

(17:38)
That’s my favorite. One of my favorites. So true.

Rana Nawas: (17:41)
And I also, I really do believe that everything happens for a reason.There’s bad news. Sure. Like when I was diagnosed with cancer, that’s bad news. But then look for the opportunity in that, because again, it’s like that slap that tells you there’s something going wrong in your life, you know, and you need to fix that fundamental issue.

Sara Al Madani: (18:02)
But I love how you are Rana because out of everything, you’re a positive person.

Rana Nawas: (18:05)
And it’s a choice. Back to another point you were making earlier, the way you look at whatever comes your way is a choice.

Sara Al Madani: (18:14)
It starts and ends in your head.

Rana Nawas: (18:16)
Yeah, exactly. We need more and more people to believe this I think.

Sara Al Madani: (18:20)
True.

Rana Nawas: (18:20)
Right. We’re going to switch gears a little bit to talk about something, I think, is possibly the only area where you and I, you know what I’m going to say…

Sara Al Madani: (18:30)
I know where we are going…

Rana Nawas: (18:30)
So the only area I think, Sara, where you and I fundamentally disagree… All right, so we’re going to go there because this is how boss ladies are, we are allowed to disagree.

Sara Al Madani: (18:41)
Indeed.

Rana Nawas: (18:41)
So let’s talk about empowering women. What does that mean to you?

Sara Al Madani: (18:47)
I am against the word empower. I believe in the word inspire. Women are strong. We give birth, we start homes, we take care of husbands, we take care of families. We do a lot of things: financials of the house, everything. We are strong. The only problem is that we don’t know we are. So if you inspire me and show me that I can, I’ll do wonders. Empowerment, I think, we maybe disagree on the term empowerment because we have a different definition for it. For example, I remember we were sitting down with the councils, the businesswoman councils in the country and they’re all complaining about women, but they are women councils.

Rana Nawas: (19:26)
What do you mean complaining about women?

Sara Al Madani: (19:26)
Complaining about women saying that okay we gave this girl the opportunity to start a business. We wavered off her license. We gave her the capital to start. We did, we did, we did. Now she failed and she’s coming to ask for more. I was like, that’s your making. When you give someone everything and give it in their hands, you slowly kill their self-esteem. You slowly kill everything inside of them without them even noticing that. That’s why they come back for more instead of finding solutions. So my term of empowerment is handing everything to women for free because they need it.

Rana Nawas: (20:00)
That’s what you think, that’s what empowering means to you. So you’re coming at it from a government perspective.

Sara Al Madani: (20:06)
Not a government. It’s a business. Basically, like when you say…like women walking together, holding hands and saying, empower us. Ladies, you don’t need empowerment. Do you see men holding each other’s hands and saying empower us?

Rana Nawas: (20:18)
No, because it’s a men’s world. All the rules are made by men for men.

Sara Al Madani: (20:21)
Who made it a man’s world?

Rana Nawas: (20:23)
They did.

Sara Al Madani: (20:23)
How?

Rana Nawas: (20:23)
Thousands of years.

Sara Al Madani: (20:25)
Thousands of years. What if a woman made it a man’s world?

Rana Nawas: (20:29)
What do you mean?

Sara Al Madani: (20:29)
Who raised these men? I’ll tell you something. I sit down with women and I hear the way they talk to their children, to their boys. When you grow up, we’ll find you a beautiful girl. She’s going to cook for you, she’s going to clean for you. She is going to do that for you. She’s going to be under your feet. She’s gonna be like how I am to your dad. She, she will. She will. What happens to that man when he grows up? He wants a woman like that. He thinks that he is the dominant creature and he thinks he is the person in charge of everything.

Rana Nawas: (21:00)
The good news, Sara, is that there are actually not a lot of mothers like that.

Sara Al Madani: (21:05)
There isn’t.

Rana Nawas: (21:05)
So we’re talking about for sure they exist but we can’t like take them and say oh moms are like that because certainly I don’t know a single woman like that.

Sara Al Madani: (21:15)
No, it’s not. I’m not saying everyone. I’m saying there are moms like that, but the thing is when a man like that grows up and he’s in power, he influences everyone else to be like him. So I always say it takes two to tango. It’s not just men’s fault. It’s women’s fault as well. Well, for even letting it happen, for even accepting it, for a lot of other reasons. That’s why you see the difference happening now. Women now are standing up for their rights. A lot of people are saying the divorce rate is growing. I’m like, good. You know why? Because women back then will stay in relationships that are abusive, that are bad just because the culture doesn’t accept it, just because she’ll be left out in society, just because she won’t fit in. Just because she won’t get a job. Now women are saying, you know what, I’m not going to sit in a bad relationship and end up being sick and emotionally suppressed because I deserve to live and things are changing now and it’s beautiful. And another thing I’ll tell you; every time people call me to give women empowerment speeches, I always say men back then, as a Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad was working for his wife, who was older than him and was an entrepreneur and he married her and he worked for her. So I don’t know if entrepreneurship is a new thing or a thing that existed and died. So all these empowering thing…women were so strong, they were always strong. What went wrong? I don’t know. We can blame both. We can blame men, we can blame life. We can sit down and play the blame game. But it’s time for us to say, you know what? That’s enough. Life is genderless.

Rana Nawas: (22:48)
Life ought to be genderless. Ought to be.

Sara Al Madani: (22:50)
And we’re not competing. We are completing each other.

Rana Nawas: (22:52)
Well, I don’t want to say genderless. I mean, what’s the right term? I mean, you know, gender neutral. It should be gender neutral. And it isn’t, because as we know, only about five percent of fortune 500 CEO’s are female, most global political leaders are male and it’s not because women don’t care or women aren’t smart or women aren’t ambitious…

Sara Al Madani: (23:11)
They’re so smart and scary and ambitious.

Rana Nawas: (23:14)
Right. So something is happening that’s keeping these women out of leadership positions in business and in politics all along the way.

Sara Al Madani: (23:21)
It’s control.

Rana Nawas: (23:22)
And I’m not saying it’s any one gender’s fault. And actually, I’m one of these people who does believe we shouldn’t say, all right, it’s man versus woman because it isn’t. And there’s something else that I do agree with you on, which is boys and girls are socialized the same. Our parents tell us the same things. We go to the same school, we get the same messages, you know, we watched the same shows on tv, so boys and girls grow up with the same biases and these are biases that are sort of engendered in us at a very young age. And we grow up with the same ones. So it isn’t men versus women. It is people, in my view, it is people who understand and agree that women are suppressed and are not achieving their full potential. And we want to fix that. And that’s men and women. There are women who don’t support…there are women who are not feminists. And there are men who are. So we need to divorce this – like being pro-woman doesn’t mean being a woman.

Sara Al Madani: (24:22)
Yeah, it’s true. But if you want to implement change…I mean I love the movement that’s been happening in the world for the past 5-10 years when it comes to women. But if we want to change, we have got to go to the foundation of all of this: education system. Our books sought cooking in the kitchen, Mohammad is outside playing with his dad. John is fixing the car with his father. Tina is preparing lunch with her mom. It already brainwashes you from a young age.

Rana Nawas: (24:56)
100 percent and now that’s a problem. It is. That is a huge part of the problem and that’s why there are all these new books coming out, which I’m buying and reading to my sons because I have two sons and you have a son and we have to be very careful because the men we want to raise are men who are equal partners with women and men who believe that women should have equal opportunity, equal pay. Men who believe that they should share the responsibilities of child care and home care. And so the burden’s on us, really, the mothers of sons.

Sara Al Madani: (25:28)
It’s true and I remember I was sitting with a woman a while ago and she was like, why do you drag your son everywhere with you? She’s like, is it because you’re busy and you feel guilty? I was like, no. She means because my son goes to all my meetings. When I give a speech, I carry him sometimes. He’s with me at all my events. I was like, no, I’m developing a character. I am showing my son how hard I work to provide, how hard I work for the toys I buy him and he needs to see that it’s okay if it’s not a man doing it and he needs to know that it’s fine. It’s equal. So yeah, she was like, well, keep your son at home. I was like, would you rather I get a nanny and throw him at home? And then you will come to me and tell me why is your son always with the nanny? Why isn’t he with you? I was like, society never gets satisfied, so I’m not living to satisfy you guys. I’m living to satisfy myself. I want to send a lot of messages to my child and whatever I’m doing in life, I’m going to keep it for him when I’m gone. I don’t take it to the grave and I need him to appreciate and love what I do at a young age. I try so hard to show him that. Even when my dad goes to work in the morning, my son asks me, he’s like, where is grandfather going? I’m like, work. He’s like but you go to work. I was like, we both work because we both provide and I keep talking to him about how we are all equal and he might not get it, but it settles down and grabs a seat in his subconscious mind and it stays there. That’s 100 percent true.

Rana Nawas: (26:49)
And he’s inspired by you. You know, women like you don’t just inspire women, you inspire men too. You know what? Shockingly. Yes. I got shocked when men were like, you really inspire us, although some of the content that I write about sometimes, especially like my strongest platforms, Linkedin, I target women and my replies are also men and how inspired they are with all of this. That’s when you realize that the whole world wants to be inspired. Everyone needs it.

Sara Al Madani: (27:17)
Everyone is looking for it.

Rana Nawas: (27:17)
Exactly. And actually we have a lot of male listeners When Women Win.

Sara Al Madani: (27:21)
That’s amazing. What’s the percentage? Do you know?

Rana Nawas: (27:23)
About 20.

Sara Al Madani: (27:24)
Wow. Yeah, that’s a big number.

Rana Nawas: (27:26)
It is. I’m so happy and that’s why we start every episode with ladies and gentlemen because we want men in this conversation. You know, we are giving access to female role models who even they don’t have access to just because there are so few women at that level.

Sara Al Madani: (27:41)
It’s true. I said it and I’ll say it again: we don’t compete, we complete each other. It’s not a competition.

Rana Nawas: (27:48)
Are you a reader Sara?

Sara Al Madani: (27:51)
I’m dyslexic, so no, but I wish I was. Because when I look at a book, I’m always tempted to dive into the book, but then my brain just stops me so I don’t read. I watch the movie.

Rana Nawas: (28:03)
There’s audio books too.

Sara Al Madani: (28:04)
I do.

Rana Nawas: (28:04)
You can listen to podcasts.

Sara Al Madani: (28:04)
I love podcasts, but I’ll tell you something about dyslexic, about being dyslexic. Your mind is moody. And I am very good at painting, but only when I have the mood. If I don’t have the mood I draw like as if a chicken ran across the paper with ink in her feet. But when I’m in the mood, I create masterpieces. It’s the same with even podcasts. Like if it’s something I love, my brain would open up and make me hear it. But if it’s a long reading, long book, my brain would shut down and would like switch off. We use the creative side of our minds – so easily distracted, gets bored easily and always searching for other things.

Rana Nawas: (28:42)
Well, this is what I find super interesting about you. You say that you’re easily bored and you’re looking for new things, but you’ve managed to build businesses and you’ve sustained settlement and fashion for like 15, 18 years now?

Sara Al Madani: (28:55)
No, 17 years.

Rana Nawas: (28:57)
17 years!

Sara Al Madani: (28:58)
Because Rana I do not invest at a drop of tear or sweat or money in something I’m not passionate about. Passion is your glue to everything you do. That’s why when you’re doing business, they say, do something you’re passionate about because the minute you hit rock bottom, business is about going up and down, it’s not about making money constantly, so if you’re not passionate, the minute you hit rock bottom, you’d walk away, you’d lose interest. You make wrong decisions. But if you’re passionate, then you hold on because passion is your glue to what you do. You would wait and then you’d rise again. You know, I did enter businesses where a month or two or three in the business I’d apologize to everyone I am working with and say I can’t do this. It’s not my thing.

Rana Nawas: (29:43)
You nip it in the bud quite early.

Sara Al Madani: (29:44)
Yeah, I can’t do this and even if there was money spent, I’ll say keep the money, I owe you this because I was part of this and I need to leave now, so if there was any money spent on expenses, keep it, but if there are any other investments I need to put in, I won’t, because I’m not interested. So you have the right to walk away and not feel bad about anything, if you know and you feel that this is not your thing. A lot of people stick and I’ve seen women stick to businesses, Rana, where they’re not happy just because they felt bad to withdraw and they felt like they owe someone something or they felt like they were obliged or they have to prove a point. You don’t have to prove anything.

Rana Nawas: (30:21)
I think it’s this guilt thing. It is the skill that really affects women disproportionately. I don’t know why. It’s like an inbuilt guilt mechanism. I want to touch a bit on your experience being on that board in Sharjah because 2 women, 19 men, and this is because we have a lot of international listeners for When Women Win. We found out today that we are listened to in 129 countries.

Sara Al Madani: (30:45)
That’s amazing.

Rana Nawas: (30:45)
Yeah. One, two, nine.

Sara Al Madani: (30:46)
A big shout out to everyone listening.

Rana Nawas: (30:48)
Seriously. Exactly. And, and so, you know, their impression of the Arab world, the Middle East, the Gulf States, Sharjah, if they know it, you know, would not be one that has two women on the Sharjah Business Council Board. How did that happen? What’s been your experience and what are you guys trying to achieve on that board?

Sara Al Madani: (31:12)
So basically being a board member in the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, your job is the commerce and industry. You are the ones that make decisions financially and put strategies to serve the commerce of the city. And you are a lobby between foreign business and the city as well. And you are the landing pad for both and vice versa.

Rana Nawas: (31:34)
You mean trying to get foreign businesses to invest?

Sara Al Madani: (31:36)
So if you’re a foreign company who wants to invest in Sharjah, you would go through the Chamber because we are the ones that facilitate and do all that. So we are your lobby basically. When you join the board, you have to be…you have to understand that conflict of interest is a big thing. So you have to be unbiased.,You have to go in understanding that you are doing this completely voluntarily for the sake of the wellbeing of the city. That’s it. Which is hard because we all have, all the board members run businesses, and some of them are similar to the things we do. So when to draw the line and when to stop – you need to learn all these things, right?

Rana Nawas: (32:10)
Alright because then you’re all business people who might be welcoming in competition for example.

Sara Al Madani: (32:14)
Exactly. Competition, we might, for example, offer things you know, and it’s a very shaky ground. You got to be very careful and it teaches you a lot of discipline. And it’s beautiful because I’m the youngest. I was never ever treated or mistreated in any way. I am treated as if I’m the eldest in there. I am listened to and my voice is heard and respected. My opinion is always asked for. It’s very amazing and even Sheikh Sultan emphasizes on the fact that you only have two women, so you got to, you know, take care of everything they say, you are responsible and they are just like every other man sitting here. And it just touches your heart because I know we should be more, like more women involved, but it was only one. Now it’s two. Hopefully it’s going to grow more. Yeah we’ve been re-elected. It is a blessing. I learned a lot from the government and realized that when there is power and it is used for good, I love it. It’s a passion of mine. Having that power and using it for the wellbeing of others for doing something good just shows you how beautiful power can be if used the right way.

Rana Nawas: (33:27)
And I really would encourage the listeners to go on my instagram Rana Nawas, or whenwomenwinpodcast.com to see Sara, you know. I mean, she’s someone, she’s a lady, for most of you, you won’t guess this from the way she’s speaking, but she is an Emirati lady in a a’abayah and a shaala and she sits with these men in their kandoras and, you know, you got to see this lady.

Sara Al Madani: (33:49)
I love it. You know, I’ve never felt left out. I sit with them. They’re like my brothers, they’re like my colleagues.

Rana Nawas: (33:56)
Even if they are 20 years older than you?

Sara Al Madani: (33:58)
They are family. They are all my family. Yeah. It’s just fun. We even look forward to our meetings. You know what I mean? And it’s, it’s interesting, but I’ll tell you what women add to boards because a lot of people say, so why should we have women on boards if we have enough men that are smart enough to do all these things? Well, women add color to the board. And what color means is ease. Comfortability. Usually men, when they are in boards, and I’ve heard that from previous board members even our chairman’s, they would say men would always fight, always be angry, always argue. When women are there, men don’t do that. And they’re more in touch with their emotional side. So they’ll watch what they say. They will watch the choices they make because there are women sitting with them. So women bring that balance.

Rana Nawas: (34:39)
Well hopefully they bring much more than that.

Sara Al Madani: (34:40)
Oh no, much more of course. You wouldn’t be selected to be on the board unless you’ve got the brains for it, you know, but internally between the members.

Rana Nawas: (34:47)
You mean at an interpersonal level?

Sara Al Madani: (34:49)
Exactly.

Rana Nawas: (34:49)
Okay. So they bring a different perspective. Obviously they bring the brains and the experience, all of that. But at an interpersonal level, they create a safer space, don’t they? Emotionally safe.

Sara Al Madani: (34:59)
Emotion and balanced space. It’s not just rational and it’s not cut-throat anymore. There’s like more of a human element to it. And men like that. I like the board members, like we like that.

Rana Nawas: (35:11)
Well, I mean they say the magic number is 30 percent of board should be women and that’s because more women means more perspective. It’s not about gender, it’s about diversity. It’s diversity of thought and diversity of perspective. And so just by being a different gender, by being a different race, by being a different age, you bring those different perspectives.

Sara Al Madani: (35:33)
And you know, I believe in the fact that we as women, there are things we can do that men can do better than us and there are things that a woman can do better than men.

Rana Nawas: (35:43)
Yeah. Like have babies.

Sara Al Madani: (35:44)
Exactly. Oh my gosh. That experience.

Rana Nawas: (35:48)
I wish I could outsource that to my husband, but yeah anyways.

Sara Al Madani: (35:51)
I wish we could order them on eBay. But it’s a beautiful procedure. We give life.

Rana Nawas: (35:59)
I’ve always wondered Sara, is there a woman in particular who has influenced you?

Sara Al Madani: (36:05)
To be honest, like I know you’re expecting a name right now, but I am my biggest inspiration.

Rana Nawas: (36:12)
Wow I love that!

Sara Al Madani: (36:12)
Because I started young and it was a man’s world at that time. I was young. Every time I’d ask someone for help, they would ask for something in return. I scratch your back. You scratch mine. Back then there was no such thing as role models. The world was different. There was no social media and all that. So the accessibility to these names and these influential people wasn’t there. So I am my own role model. I am my own inspiration and I’ve been through so much and I’ve made it. I survived it and I’m strong. So women should not be shy to say “I believe in me and I am my inspiration.” So I am my role model. But I’ll tell you what moves me. Every successful woman I meet, you know, I don’t look at her from an envy perspective or jealousy. I honestly get moved, like I get so happy when I see a successful women that it makes me so happy. There’s a term that I have for it, but it’s inappropriate. I’m not going to use it on your podcast.

Rana Nawas: (37:05)
I just, I love what you just said and and you know we did create When Women Win to give women everywhere access to role models. And I think it’s amazing that you’re your own role model and I wish, I wish more women would feel that way and maybe we’ll help them get there.

Sara Al Madani: (37:25)
Enshallah. Yeah. Of course.

Rana Nawas: (37:25)
This is a great place to end, Sarah. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Sara Al Madani: (37:29)
Thank you Rana.

Rana Nawas: (37:31)
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. I’d love to hear from you. So please head over to whenwomenwin podcast.com to give feedback. While you’re there, you can find all episodes and show notes and sign up for our monthly newsletter. Wherever you’re listening right now, do remember to hit the subscribe button to be notified of future episodes and please write a review when you can to let others know what to expect. Thanks, and have a great day.

End Of Transcript

Season Finale with CNN’s Hala Gorani – Her Story, Parity in Media, and Patterns in Politics

Hala Gorani is an award-winning anchor and correspondent for CNN International, based in London.

Karen Wazen on the Life of an Influencer

Karen Wazen Bekhazi is a Dubai-based fashion, beauty, and lifestyle influencer with 450,000 followers on Instagram. We got into Karen’s life story and her fascinating journey to this point. She also shared some great advice for anyone interested in growing their social media presence. As a result, this episode is a little longer than usual.

Karen is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle influencer whose followers are mostly women aged 18-34 located in the USA, UAE and KSA. She has worked with numerous, diverse brands including Dior Beauty, Louis Vuitton, Apple, Jo Malone and Cadillac. Karen is busy! She has a husband, three children under the age of four and a hectic work travel schedule. Karen is a big believer that women can “do it all” and is a passionate cheerleader of women everywhere.

We had an animated chat about all things “influencer”: I asked Karen what she does on a daily basis and how she maintains a balance between glitz and reality. We talked about the recent reveal of her skin condition and how her followers reacted to it. We discussed how Karen became one of the region’s biggest influencers and how she curates her digital content. The burden of scrutiny also came up – including the need for thick skin! Finally, Karen gave us some tips on how to take strong photographs and how to build one’s following on Instagram.

“You can grow horizontally or vertically.”
This is applicable in many different contexts.

To find out more about Karen, follow her on Instagram @karenwazenb and YouTube.


Read the Transcript

Note: While When Women Win is produced as an audio recording, we are delighted to produce transcripts for those who are unable to hear. Kindly note that these are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Media is encouraged to check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Ladies and gents, my guest on today’s show is a homegrown international influencer. Karen Wazen has about 450,000 followers on instagram, mostly women aged 18 to 34, located in the USA, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. She’s a social media sensation on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle, and has worked with numerous diverse brands, including Dior beauty, Louis Vuitton, Apple, Jo Malone, and Cadillac. Karen is also a power mom and a passionate cheerleader of women everywhere. I asked her what an influencer does on a daily basis and how Karen tries to keep balance between glitz and reality. We talked about the burden of scrutiny, the recent reveal of her skin condition, vitiligo, and how her followers reacted to it. We discussed how Karen became one of the region’s biggest influencers and how she curates her digital content. She also gave us some tips on how a brand can build a following on instagram. So let’s get into it.

Karen it is such a pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks for coming on When Women Win.

Thank you for having me. I’m super excited to be here and it’s actually my first time participating in a podcast, so I’m very happy to be here with you and let’s see how this goes.

Excellent. Well, let’s start with a crazy story. You know, you’re an influencer with over 400,000 followers. There’s got to be some craziness that comes in.

There is. Actually every day for me is crazy because I would say there’s not one day that is like the other. Two things that happened I guess throughout this journey that I would consider crazy because these are things that I did not expect at all and the first one is when I shared that I had vitiligo, which was something that I was very reluctant to share, because I was afraid that people would judge me and think that it’s not a big deal to them or, you know, they would be like, okay, other people are suffering from much bigger things. So what is this like who cares?

And just for the listeners, what is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin depigmentation condition where you lose color in your skin. So I started to have it on my neck and then bit on my face and on my back. I’ve discovered that I had around a year ago and I just never shared it. Even when people would ask me what is this. I would never cover it, but I never shared anything about it just because for those reasons, it’s not that I didn’t want to stress something personal. I’m very open about everything. I was just afraid that people would think it was either a cry for attention or that like seriously she complaining about this?

Too trivial.

Too trivial, exactly. So I once was like, you know what? I’m just going to share it because maybe other people are going through this or maybe people have other insecurities that are maybe physical that this might make them feel better and so I did. This is one of the only times where I’ve actually cried from people’s reactions were it was like, oh my God, actually this is I am influencing people in a way and this was a very important time in my journey, I would say, where I realized that what I’m doing has a purpose because sometimes I realize like, okay, what exactly am I. Like who’s listening, who’s out there, is it just for entertainment or are people taking something home with them and at this moment I felt that, okay, I have an audience who likes me, who support me, and who even take things that are negative, not just the positive things. So something that is negative, they like it and some people opened up about their conditions or the things they were going through and it just like it opened up this I feel more real and open relationship between me and my audience and it was a really very nice moment for me, honestly.

So it was a hugely positive reaction from your followers.

And this isn’t a long time ago. So I’ve been doing this three and a half years and it took me three and a half years to have a moment like this where I realized even though I do get support all the time from the people who follow me and I think it’s incredible, but I think I always felt that people only followed me to see something positive, but when I felt that even something negative, people wanted to relate to it or people wanted to tell me like, oh my God, we have this too, and thank you for sharing this. Now that you have it, we’re happy to — things like this that I was hearing. I was like, oh my God. Okay. So they liked me for who I am and this moment was really nice.

That’s your crazy story but I think you had another one. Has a fan ever done something mad?

So obviously

Karen I saw your birthday. The room in your birthday and you were like panning, I’ve never seen so many flowers in my life.

I had moments like these, obviously. There’s a bit of everything. So obviously I have some amazing supportive followers that really would get out of their way to do things and I’m like, that’s so crazy. There’s this girl, I was just going to Lebanon to Paris and we had a stopover in Lebanon and I didn’t mention that I was going to Paris after Lebanon. So I said something like heading to Beirut and she went to the airport waiting for me to come out and then I never came out because I was going to Paris. I saw her later and she told me the story and I was like, what? In my head, like why would someone actually? I don’t realize. I have stories like this where I don’t realize that people

really feel that way

would get out of their way just to meet me and this is crazy for me and yeah my birthday I had people, girls, some of them who have become very loyal. I know who they are and I’ve met them and they come to every single meet-and-greet that I’ve done and stuff. So they have done videos for me. Like, really emotional, nice, compilation videos where they put things of my life together and I’m just like, oh my God, my husband doesn’t do this for me.

Wow

Things like this to me are crazy to me because I don’t realize what it is like being on the other side, you know. So I just feel like, okay I’m just living my life, doing my things. I’m not realizing that along the way there are people who are getting like attached to me or that follow me.

Tell me about your followers because people who have been in the corporate world for 15, 20 years and you know, we’re mostly, we I mean myself, and most of the listeners are on LinkedIn. We’re big on LinkedIn. Not so much on instagram. A lot of my friends aren’t even on instagram. So what does it influencer do?

I get that a lot. Even people who are very close to me who see me daily but are not necessarily active on social media are like what is it exactly that you do and it’s actually weird because I wouldn’t even know how to address this question because I don’t know exactly how to define what I do, but what I do is I’m active on social media, Instagram and Youtube. I was on snapchat as well and I just literally share things about my life with an audience that is growing. So obviously I didn’t start off with 400,000 followers. I’m here, 400,000 followers now. I basically share everything about motherhood, family stuff, my home, the way I dress, how I’m feeling. So I really I’m open about who I am and I’m just sharing all about my life with an audience because I get this feedback when I ask them like, what is it that you guys like about what I do? And a lot of people think or feel that I’m relatable because I’m just a very regular woman with a very regular life. There’s nothing. I’m not like an artist or I’m not like a — I don’t have this special skill. I’m just an ordinary woman that people can find a lot of themselves in. So I think this is what people like to see and also like at this point, I’m juggling, like I think a lot of women do, like work and travel and kids and a husband and a house and myself and so I think people like to see, okay, how is this person doing all of this? And they want to see how this person lives everyday. Not just the highlights of, okay, she’s just, she’s traveling. They want to see how it is daily and this is something that I’m very catious about and I share myself, no makeup in my pajamas. Just really the way a real personal lives and so yeah. This is I guess what I do. I share my life with people and the message that I want to convey very much so is that women can do it all because I genuinely believe that women can do it all and I want to believe that women can do it all and I want to be a woman that can do it all. So this is the kind of message that I want my audience to listen to and to be inspired by. My audience I would say from the insights, because now on instagram you can tell. You have like an insights where you know how old they are, what gender, and stuff. So my biggest audience is at 83% of my followers are actually women and they range from the ages of so the bigger bulk is between 25 and 34 or something. The second biggest is 18, actually, I think it’s maybe more or less the same. 18-35 is the age group. Which is amazing because to me I would not only want young girls to follow me and I would not only want moms to follow me. I would want like everyone to follow me just because I want, because I feel you can find a bit of me in everyone. In tdhe single girl and a married girl, in a mom and a career woman.

Yeah, but let’s go back to what an influencer does. I mean, you do more than share your life, right? Because that’s not a business. But let’s start at the beginning. Obviously becoming an influencer didn’t exist when you started on instagram. I don’t think, did it?

No.

And it certainly wasn’t your intention. So how did it come about?

I always used to like sharing whether it was through photos or through stories or through — I was always open about this. So even when I would travel with my husband, just me and him, I would carry around a tripod with like a proper camera and there was absolutely no intention behind it. It was just purely I love taking those photos. I love, I like keeping these memories and then I think there was like initially like a blackberry. You can put like a profile picture, remember that was like, yeah.

Sure.

So I used to do that and then everyone was always commenting like, because you could change your photos and then it would pop up like Karen changed her

X has changed her profile pic

Yeah, exactly. So people would always comment like, oh my God, I love your photos. We always wait to see what your next photo is going to be. So I felt that people liked the kind of content on my just profile photo that I was sharing and then when there was instagram like perfect. Now I can actually upload several of those photos and this is how it started. So I started uploading those photos very like randomly and no intention again, just like things that I liked.

Sharing with friends and family, presumably.

Yeah and then my following just started to grow and I would feel that compared to others, my following was growing a bit faster because I cared about the kind of, the quality of the photo. I cared about the message behind the photo so I always had, not at all with an intention. It’s just the way, you know, some people would post whatever. I would like my photos to be nice. So that kind of thing and then people, my following just started to grow and grow and grow and grow and I was like, okay, this is nice. Like I was, I remember I had my first job call, so again, I didn’t know this would ever turn into a job, and I was I had just given birth I think to Georgie. Yeah, I had just given birth to my son and I was in Dubai. A brand calls me and they asked me like, are you willing to collaborate and I had no idea what that meant. I was like, sure and then they’re like, so what we want is five posts and a competition or something like that and like a store attendance. I’m like, okay, I had no idea and I didn’t want to show the brand that I had no idea what this was about. So I’m like, yeah, of course, whatever and then I call my friends and I’m like guys, what does that mean, whatever and then I started a bit understanding how it works and I went to my first store event and I was so scared that people weren’t going to show up because I didn’t know at this point anything about what I was doing or why I was even doing it. I go to the store and I had so many girls like there they were like oh my God, I love you so much. I’m like, what? There are people that are actually like there listening and this is how it started and then one brand led to the other, to the other and then until I started developing great, amazing relationships with brands and now. Yeah, so actually you’re right. I only spoke about the social part of my work. I didn’t actually talk about it as a business and today I could definitely say that it’s turned into a business where I collaborate with brands, brands that I love, brands that I believe in, brands that I’m just supporting. Not necessarily with the financial.

Oh, you support brands just, you know, for free.

Of course, yeah.

And do you have a limit on how many brands you work with at any one time?

Yes, because the way I would be on myself is the way that I would want to be on my profile. So if, for example, I have five clients coming to me and telling me we want you to promote five perfumes. Say no. Like a normal human being does not wear five different perfumes in one month so it really depends on what the product is, but makeup, let’s say I could use five brands in just my daily makeup, so it really depends on the reality of things in my life and I would like to be as real as possible when it comes to what I’m sharing. So yeah, this is the way I would limit it. Just based on the realness of it in my life.

Okay and so tell us about the business side a little more. So the brand comes to you and says, will you do this, this, this, but what else does it encompass other than putting posts on instagram?

A lot because the nature of this business is, it’s not like a nine to five kind of job at all. It’s all the time. So I’m constantly sharing what’s going on and this could be a little bit overwhelming because there’s no time for it, so I can’t be like, you know what, I’m done. Like I’m on vacation. No, when I’m on vacation it’s when I have to create even more content and sometimes, for example, when I’m lucky that we can travel and stay in a hotel, in a resort free of charge in exchange for me reviewing the hotel or posting of it. So this is amazing and I will never take this for granted, but this also means that I’m there for a purpose and to show the place and take photos and create content and stuff. So these are kind of the parts that people don’t see. They don’t see that it is work and it is constant and so far I feel I’m managing better than I was before at knowing how to limit my time and organize my time. So I take, for example, there’s one of my kids, especially the main part is my kids. I want to be there for them and with them and not be thinking of what I’m going to post next or you know, just checking on my phone or whatever. So I’ve literally gotten to the point where I just put my foot in another room just so that when I’m with my kids, I’m 100% with them because other than that it’s so tempting to just look and see, okay, what’s going on now if I posted a photo to checkup on the likes or see what the comments I’m getting or anything. So it’s very tempting to just keep, it’s even turned into a reflex, I would say, to just go into instagram but these are things that I’m conscious about and I try to create boundaries just so that it doesn’t, you know, so it doesn’t affect a lot of my daily life.

Yeah. I mean, because what you do, your camera is a lot on your kids and in your home and on you and your husband. So I was really curious as to how you separate work from life because it seems your work is your life.

Yeah, exactly. That’s the thing. My work is my life and my life is my work. Like it’s very intertwined. I don’t know how exactly. I just got to the point where I’m used to this lifestyle a lot more now where if you actually calculate all my stories, all the time of my stories, I think it would add up to around maybe five minutes.

In any one day, you mean.

In a day and that’s really not a lot of the day.

But do you take multiple takes?

No, no. That’s the thing. So some people work really hard on the aesthetics of their story and I don’t, I’m just literally take upload, take upload because I don’t want to, this is a personal thing, I don’t know if it’s right or if it’s not but I care more about the showing the realness then showing aesthetically kind of what it is and even like now let’s say I’m here, I want to take a photo of me being here and post it because this is the kind of content that I like to share. I like to share in the moment like what I’m wearing in that day. Not, obviously sometimes I do throwbacks but I’m not very strategic in the way that I’m, okay, I’m gonna take photos and then store them and then every once in a while post them. It doesn’t work for me that way. I do things daily. I don’t know if it’s right or if it’s wrong, but I just because this is the kind of person that I would like to follow and I want to be that person to other people where they’re really getting an insight on me, daily.

So how do you manage the overwhelm? Because it is overwhelming, is it not?

Yeah. Definitely overwhelming. First of all, my husband is super supportive and I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I didn’t have a supportive husband who believed in what I was doing as a business, who doesn’t mind taking as many photos of me?

That’s amazing because my husband hates social media. He’s not even on facebook and I just started on instagram not too long ago, a few months ago, and he will not take pictures of me. He’s like no, this is our life. This is me and you time.

You know, I told you I was doing this free so he knows this about me and it’s not like he’s like, okay, now all of a sudden you want to show something that I’ve always been like that before instagram, before anything. So he kinda got, actually, I think we used to take more photos before than we do now because before we were just taking for no purpose. So we’re just like, click. Now at least I know that I want to take, I want to post let’s say two photos on our trip or whatever. So it’s like a couple of minutes, that’s all it takes.

And then put the phone in the other room.

Exactly. So yeah and I’ll also like, I get asked if I have a photographer, if I have someone. I don’t, like now my cousins here and she’ll be taking the photos, but if she wasn’t here I would probably ask you to take a photo, you know what I mean? Like I’m just very, yeah and then I am, I’ll just, you know, edit it.

Sorry I interrupted you. You were talking about the overwhelm and you said your husband’s super supportive.

Yeah, my husband exactly is extremely supportive and he helps me a lot with just managing my overwhelmness. When I was in Lebanon now there was this conference happening and it was crazy because so many people showed up to see me and I couldn’t believe, I couldn’t wrap my finger around it. I really, really couldn’t. I wasn’t expecting this at all. I got into the car when I left and I just come home and I started crying and he was like, what happened? Like did someone bother you and I’m like, no. And I couldn’t explain why I was crying. He’s like, what? I’m like, I don’t know. I really and I genuinely did not know why I was crying. I was crying because I didn’t expect this. Maybe I was shocked and like tired because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I didn’t want anyone to be like we came all the way to see her and she didn’t, she wasn’t responsive or she wasn’t nice or she wasn’t. So I didn’t want anyone to feel that.

So you met them all?

I literally spoke to every single. I can guarantee that not one person can come back and say she was rude or she was whatever, even though it wouldn’t be naturally like rude but sometimes you’re tired by the end of the day, just like, you know. But I did. Everyone was asking me not only for photos for them but photos for their friends and boomerangs for their friends and videos for can you say hi to this, can you say hi to that, can you do that? And I literally did everything for everyone happily willingly, but obviously by the time I just got to the car I was like, oh my God, what just happened? And it was very, very overwhelming. Amazing for me because again, I didn’t expect it. So it was so nice to see so much love really around me and yeah.

Congrats on your first moderation job. I saw you moderating that panel, bravo.

It was also nice. That was also a great thing for me because I didn’t expect also to for me to be able to moderate a panel and be a panelist. So it was nice. Overall the experience was really nice, overwhelming and in a positive way.

But I see you exercise a lot. Maybe that’s a way you manage the overwhelm.

No, I don’t.

No? All these bike rides and these tracy workouts. Sorry if I know all this about you obviously because it’s your own fault.

I cycle with my husband. So again, my family obviously is my biggest priority and my husband is also like my big priority in my life where I do not want in any way to feel that what I do takes time away from him because I love him and I wouldn’t be doing any of this if it wasn’t for him, for his presence, for his support. So we have a lot of amazing time together where we do a lot of things together. Cycling is one of the things that we do together where it’s not like we have our earphones on and we’re listening to music, we’re just literally talking the whole time. So we’re together for an hour and we keep our phones like obviously we’re cycling so we have no interruptions and we just chat and talk and share things and like it’s an amazing way for us to bond also obviously to benefit our bodies and it’s nice. We do it at night so we have dinner and then we go. It’s just a fun exercise and it’s just a good bonding time for me and him. So these are things that these are little things that we do to just everything.

What were the big milestones? You said obviously you started with a few followers, like anyone who joins instagram, and now you’re at 400 something thousand. What were the milestones to getting, were there certain spikes in the journey?

Yeah, of course. First of all, I remember well what I was talking to my mum’s partner who is older and for him like this whole social media thing is so new and it was at the point really new to up to everyone and I told him like, you know, if I hit 50k I’m going to be so happy because it’s crazy like 50,000 people and I remember when I hit 50K I was like, oh okay, I’m there so maybe I can do 100. And then I was like, oh my God, I’m at 100 and then it just like obviously. So the numbers were definitely a milestone and now I’m like okay, I’m close to half a million and then hopefully a million and it’s not that it’s about the numbers, but for me to see that there’s an audience, it’s not like I have an audience that I feel are just there for entertainment. I feel like we’ve grown to have a relationship. So I know a few of them not from their names, from the messages they send me and so it’s like really, when they say online family, I don’t want it to sound cliche, but it’s true. I really do genuinely believe that I have an online family. If I get hate messages, I get like people defending me like, and I’m like this is amazing.

Wow. So I want to go into both those things but let’s start with the loyal fans as the followers. Is it not weird for you when people you don’t know send you I love you, my queen, so beautiful, heart heart heart, kiss kiss kiss.

It’s not that it’s weird. I don’t take it like weird negative. I’m not like, oh my God, who is she and why does she love me. No, because I know why. I know that I’m putting myself out there. I am making these people like me because I let them into my life. The way you would meet someone, be like you what, I actually really like this person because you got to know her. I’m making people get to know me. So I’m definitely not weirded out by that and I also love people that I don’t know from social media. Like I feel like, oh my God, I could still be friends with this girl. I like the way she is. I like her, she’s just cool and funny and I like them and I like, I feel like I really do love not love them, but like I love, like I love watching them and stuff and I think that this is what people mean when they say I love you. They love what I do and you know, they’ve grown to like who I am. So I don’t find it weird. I actually really like it and I do see that it’s different some people. Some people don’t like it, some people are like, okay, who is this person and why is she like in my life. I am obviously not like that because I wouldn’t be doing what I was doing. I love people. I love sharing things. Honestly, I would have no filter if I wasn’t. First of all, sometimes I’m a bit afraid, like Internet sensitivities. I don’t want to offend anyone with some things that I say, but if I just really wanted to just talk, I would be so open about everything in my life and this is just the way I am. I’ll be sitting with you now and I’ll tell you really everything from the difficulties, the things I’ve gone through because I’m just. This is my character, this is my nature. I’ve never been afraid to share things and I don’t care about people’s judgments because I know that at the end of the day everyone deals with things differently and I might not necessarily agree with the way someone else is doing things so.

Well, I did want to go into the other thing you mentioned, the hate. All right. Obviously you are very much in the public eye so you’re going to get the positive and the negative.

That I’m also aware of, as well.

So what are some of the things that have actually?

I actually created an album on my phone and I really don’t know why I did that but I have an album in my photos where I just take screenshots of hate stuff and I put them in there. Not because of anything but because I’m like maybe one day I can use this to either build a case on like bullying or maybe show my kids if ever, hopefully not, they’re bullied to be like, listen, look, you know, just, I don’t know why I’m doing that, but I have this folder.

And you gave it a name, didn’t you?

I called it mean.

Mean album on my phone.

I don’t know how I have the force not to get affected by these. I genuinely do believe that the people who are sending hate are not well themselves because I know that even if I don’t necessarily like the way someone’s doing things, I will never go to their face and say you’re ugly or you’re stupid or whatever. I would never.

Do people say that to you?

Yeah.

Really?

Yeah. I get sometimes people telling me like you’re and this is where I kind of feel bad because, so if let’s say I’m watching a movie and there’s this girl that I don’t like whatever and I’m telling you, I’m like, I don’t really, I don’t like the way she is or whatever. It’s something but sometimes with instagram things go wrong where they are sending something to their friends and I get it.

Oh, okay.

Yeah, so this happens sometimes and I feel bad because I’m not meant to hear this. It’s not directed to me but they would be telling their friends something like her eyes are so ugly or things like that or like her, they say sometimes things like her husband is better looking than her. Some things like that. I’m like showing my husband like look. But like honestly, of course, okay like it’s mean but I’m strong enough to let it just literally bounce off and not care. But where I feel bad is I know that it’s not everybody who can handle it. Some people do get affected, some people really like get sad and I think this is really unfair for people to be put in a situation where they’re just literally being bullied because it’s across the screen and they’re not in your face saying this.

Because if they were in your face they would never say such a thing.

Probobly not and I had this thing once where I actually shared and it was quite personal and I shared a story that happened in my past where I was like verbally abused by an ex and it was very personal. For me to share it was a big deal because first of all because I wouldn’t want in any way this information to even get to my ex boyfriend because I wouldn’t want. I think it’s just for people who might know who he is, I think it’s a bit unfair for him that I’m actually voicing these things and also it’s a part of my life where I wasn’t proud of myself or anything like that but I did it because I’m like also with the point that maybe someone will benefit from the story and know that they can get out of it. That it’s not the end of the world. That you don’t have to victimize yourself. Yeah, it is a horrible situation to be in. You can get out of it and this is kind of the message that I wanted to, because I got out of it and even though I thought that I would never be able to. I do understand obviously there’s some situations are different where some people because, so basically let me tell you what happened. I shared this. I got a lot of people saying thank you and I got a lot telling me, who do you think you are telling us that we can just walk out like that. If you were able to walk out because you have money and because you have this weak hand and I understood it. I’m like, that’s what I meant about internet sensitivities where I’m like, okay, I don’t want people to have taken this in the wrong way where I’m telling them it’s easy. I never said it was easy and I never said that it’s for everyone. I felt that the people that I was talking to was the woman I would want to be if this happened, I would want to feel that I walk out. Husband, no husband, kids, whatever. I don’t think that anyone should be in the situation where they’re being abused for whatever reason and not anything should be an obstacle for them to stay. Not Financial, not anything like I would rather be penniless, finding a job. It’s something that I probably will eventually find than be in a situation where I’m unhappy every single day and my kids. Giving my kids this example, like this is really not something that I believe in at all and this is what I wanted to share and it backfired on me in a way and some people were also saying, you’re being paid a ridiculous amount. I did this obviously zero paid and it was something that I did out of a good cause and because I wanted to share this information. Some people are writing things like, sorry bs, but they were saying like she got paid $25,000 to do this.

By whom, who would pay you to do that?

It’s like, seriously. Like that would be such an easy thing if I’m getting $25,000 just to sit and share something. Like that’s not how it works, really and it hurt me and someone told me, oh, what were your problems? Your Birkin didn’t match your Gucci, something like your Hermes bag didn’t match your Gucci shoes? And I’m like this person doesn’t know me, doesn’t know how I grew up, has no right to accuse me of, to belittle something that I went through that was very painful for me into saying that my problems were my handbag that matched and so these are things that like and I was literally, I remember I was on the plane and there was Wifi and I was getting all these and I was like, oh my God, what is happening? And I was sharing it with my family. So I was taking screenshots, sending it to my family, my group chat asking guys, what do I do? I really want to respond. Like I really wanted to respond because I felt like this person’s attacking me and saying stuff that aren’t real and I didn’t want anyone else to think that it was true or should I delete it. I really didn’t know want to do. I’m like, you know what? I’m just, my parents told me like my family was like ignore, don’t give this person the time of day because she’s trying to provoke you and try

Buy why wouldn’t you delete?

I also didn’t want to delete because I didn’t want to give this person the satisfaction to think that your stupid comments, sorry, affected me in any way. I’m going to keep them. I’m not ashamed of what you think because I know the truth and I kept them and they’re still there now if you check them and it wasn’t like a fake account. It was like an actual person, who is also Lebanese, also a women, also Arab. Like how can you, you know, like not only belittle but not want to support in the country. There’s so much like, so much anger where I feel like people do not would like to see other people maybe succeeding or they want to just shadow, do you know?

Yeah, I heard. No but it sounds like, I mean not it sounds like for sure you need some very thick skin to do what you do. I mean, because with the love comes hate and it’s definitely not for everyone. But having said that, it is a very competitive field. Right? I imagine there’s for every one influencer that makes it, there’s like 10,000 trying. So why do you think you’ve succeeded where others have failed? And I think you touched on the themes earlier, which is

The way I once went to a conference in Dallas and something that one of the speakers was saying stayed with me and it was she described it. She was like so you can grow horizontally or vertically and what that meant was either by were you growing horizontally? It’s basically growing who you are sharing basically more things about your life, so let’s say fashion is something, beauty is something or whatever physical stuff, and then family and then as you’re growing let’s say moving into a new house, sharing, literally growing horizontally things in your life or growing like vertically where you’re growing to different markets, different audience, different. So it’s like this is how she described it and I’m like, it makes sense because this is how I am growing. I’m growing more things of my life than I’m sharing more and more and more things in my life. Like something as silly as I’m posting dance videos, which is something that is just very, it’s something new but it’s something that I’m doing on the side for me as a workout and I’m like, okay, I’m going to share that. So I’m literally sharing things of my life that are going through in my life and also I feel like I’m going forward in my audience because I’m getting to more markets, to more geographically. I feel like I’m going to more a wider audience now.

And where is your audience today, Karen?

I would say mainly the bulk Middle East. So Saudi, UAE, Lebanon, and I have a lot in Egypt and a lot in the US. I actually have a lot in Paris, which was surprising because when I was in Paris and Morocco, like these are places that I remember because when I’ve traveled to these places I’ve been asked a lot can you do a meet and greet? And I’m like, oh, I thought people only knew me in Lebanon and I’m like do you know where I’m from but no. Social media has no

geographical boundaries. So in terms of why you think you’ve succeeded where others have failed.

So yeah, definitely there is a lot of competition. Now one thing I have to say that I got lucky with is that I started at a time where, at least in our region there weren’t a lot of people doing this.

Four years ago, you said.

Yeah, three and a half, four years ago. So I got lucky with that, that I didn’t have a lot of competition at the time. I definitely do see that there’s a lot more, not competition but there are much wider ways of working today. So for example, before they used to work with people based on their followers. Today, no, a lot of brands are working with people who literally just started to have a couple of thousands of followers but they like their content.

So these people today became, not competition, but they became, they’re either going to work with me or they’re going to work with them, so there’s a lot more going on in this world of

And there’s micro influencers a lot of brands are working with.

But to me I just, I really try not to look around at what other people are doing and focus on what it is that I’m doing and what I’ve been doing and why I was have always been and I’m still doing what I’m doing and it’s not really, it’s not about my numbers, it’s not about, it’s just about I love really, I genuinely love to share things. I feel like if I can make a difference in whatever way it could be silly, it could be like I feel fat and I don’t know how to dress today. Let me look at karen and see how she dresses like it could be from the most trivial things to deeper things and this is what I will continue on doing and this is why I think people like me because they, it feels weird to say like me, but this is why people I feel follow me or have some sort of like attachment to what I do because they see that I am a relatable and a real person. I’m not like this model that’s two meters tall. I’m short. I’m average weight. I’m like, I’m normal. I’m the girl next door. I’m not someone who is unattainable. My goals are not unattainable. They are there, you know.

And that’s why you’re on When Women Win because we bring ordinary women doing extraordinary things, you know. And the goal here is to offer our listeners inspiration and also practical tips. So let’s take it to the practical tips for a moment. You are the queen, obviously doing what you do. Queen of selfies and photos. So what tips do you have for our listeners on taking a good selfie, for example?

Good lighting. First of all, lighting is really everything. So if you don’t have good lighting, no matter what, you’re not going to have a good photo. So good lighting, good editing apps because also I can guarantee you that not one photo that you like that you see on instagram is just taken off the phone and that’s it. There is editing that comes in for sure. That’s playing with the lights, playing with the contrast, playing with the saturation, playing with the vintage effect. Like also there are trends in photos. So at some point that trend was going from let’s say light colors. Then it came up more vibrant colors. Now it’s more going for the vintagey kind of. So there are trends also of photos. I think having life in your photos. So I would see, for example, that the least likes that I get are in a photo that doesn’t have life. If I’m just let’s say posing versus if I’m in action doing something, eating, with my kids, doing something like people want to see life in a photo. This is how I think and this is the things that I like to. So even, let’s say yesterday I took a selfie and it did well but that was because there was added value to. It wasn’t just my face. I was showing people the different way that I did an eyeliner, let’s say. So people actually looked at the photo for a longer period to see like, okay, how did she do her liner? So I try in every photo, like I said, from the most trivial things or to the deeper things, add some sort of value to

In every post?

I try.

But when you’re just like promoting a clothing brand, I mean, what’s the value?

Yeah but even that it’s style inspiration or something, that’s also something for me to add to someone’s whatever. Because some people just I’m sure that some people follow me just because they like to see what I’m wearing and not that this makes me happy because I would like them to follow me for a lot of more things than just what I’m wearing because what I’m wearing is just really one percent of who I am. But some people I know that this is what they’re after because they’re just like fashion and they see that okay, she’s like and also I have a good mix between high end and very affordable things and my style, like what I’m wearing now for example, is super anyone can wear it. It’s not like it’s something that’s crazy.

Unattainable.

So I also think I have relatable style.

And I think as you said earlier, like you follow different people for different reasons and so they probably follow people, you know, so it’s okay if somebody follows you for fashion and somebody follows you for kids and somebody. So we’re going to take it back to the tips. So good selfies, good lighting, good editing apps, have some life in the photo.

Exactly.

Cool, these are the big ones. Okay and in terms of regular people who want to grow their social media presence. So I’m not talking influencers, I’m talking to people of businesses, for example.

I think it’s very important for people not to lose the reason of why they are so like I said, on social media, it’s not just influencers. There’s everything. There’s brands, there’s politicians, there’s so many you use it for so many different reasons. The most important thing I think is to keep reminding yourself what message is it that you want to show and be consistent with that message. So if for example, people know me for doing food stuff and then all of a sudden I’m posting selfies, it’s like, okay, you’re kind of losing. I don’t know why I’m following you anymore. You need to keep reminding yourself what is it exactly that I want to share? And there’s a lot of room. People think it’s too late. I don’t think it’s late at all. I think brands want to work with people who are new. I think people no, I don’t think there are two people that are identical in this world and I don’t think why would I like this person and not the other one if I don’t know what the other person is doing or what the other person has to share. So I think it’s very important for people to understand what it is that they could offer and and really believe in what they can offer and stick to that. So for example, even you now when I asked you like how come the account doesn’t have a lot of followers, I think it’s so interesting for a platform like yours to be an inspirational account for women to go and look at and be like, okay, I don’t feel well today or how is this person doing it and I’m not and then actually check this account for motivation, for inspiration. There’s so much room but it’s just really knowing what kinds of content you want to share that has not been oversaturated, overseen, overdone.

But how do you get the word out? Because even there’s a lot of people with good content but don’t know how to get the word out.

Yeah. I think

In fact, people I follow.

I’ll tell you, like there are ways. First of all, having so obviously like the hashtags and all these things like could help a little bit but having your content reposted by other accounts that do similar things to what you do. So let’s say again, I’m talking, for example, a food blogger. If their food, if they’re, what recipes or their dishes or whatever are getting reposted by bigger accounts that are gonna show this account. This definitely helps in exposure.

Like Jamie Oliver supporting Joe Wicks.

Let’s say or even just there are a lot of big, let’s say food accounts. They have 2 million followers and they just repost random, you know, this is how I grew initially. There were these accounts that would repost my photos and they had much bigger following than I did and I would grow from these accounts. Also collaborating. So for example, now me and you are doing this thing together, you can benefit from my audience to grow, you know what I mean? So collaborating with other people who are. Who could help, who could drive traffic to a platform. Yeah. This is also another way to grow and it’s really also offering something new, offering something new. This is in a saturated market. It’s got to be valued. and then if I had to zoom into the one big question I wanted to ask you, it’s been argued that people who watch social media, I do get depressed by looking at other people’s awesome lives. If you look, and I do want to look at other people, I’m like, how the hell are they doing this? And yeah, exactly. I look at victoria beckham for example. I think my god, she’s always been a heroin reminds to successful careers.

Yeah. Gorgeous husband, four kids, you know, lovely life, always looks absolutely fabulous and I’m like, oh, you know, and then I think, hang on, I’m only seeing a curated part of her life but I think other people may not realize that and so it really drags them down.

Of course. I’ve been through days where I’m like depressed. I would not, not like depressed depressed but like down and overwhelmed and tired and my kids are all crying and like moments I’m like, what I’m like and I feel like it might sound superficial, but I feel ugly. I feel whatever. I don’t like the way I am, like so many there’s so many days like that but I don’t. When I’m feeling that way or when my kids are crying or when I’m worried or these things, I don’t have time to think about my social media. So this is why I don’t share it. It’s not that I do not want to share it. It’s that when I’m with my kids and they are going through something, they just fell down, they just cried, they just whatever, my phone is the last thing that’s on my mind. Wait, one second. Keep crying while film you, you know, I’m just going to attain to them and this is why I don’t have these moments on my platform. It’s not that I don’t want to share them. Maybe I should be more vocal about it and say that, you know, but I do say I’m really tired. I had a bad day today because it’s human and I don’t believe that any one person does not go through these moments or through these days where they just don’t feel well. Even last night I was, I was actually with my cousin and she was telling me like, you know, I’m so proud of you. I’m like it’s so funny that you’re saying this because I had a day to day where I felt so useless. I felt useless. Like I’m like, what did I do today? Nothing and she was like, stop telling me you didn’t do anything. You dropped your kids to school, you picked them up from school, you went to an event, you had a meeting at one in the morning and literally I had people over for her meeting till one in the morning. She’s like and this is not nothing and to me it felt like it wasn’t much because I felt that I could have done more with my time

But we are this disease called productivity. You know and we feel like we have to be so productive all the time and it’s such a problem.

But actually because I like it. When I feel like I had a productive day, I like it.

It’s a self-satisfaction of accomplishment, you know, tick the checklist. I know, I’m the same.

I think that having non-productive days make those productive days satisfying because maybe if they were constant then you wouldn’t feel the value of having a good day.

Sure. Why we value the ups because we’ve had the downs. Yeah. Alright, we are out of time. Karen, this has been such an eyeopener for me. Thank you so much coming on the show.

Thank you for having me.

And how can listeners find you?

Instagram, youtube. I really want to grow my youtube because of what I’ve, because I feel about the fact that I want to share more things. So I feel youtube is a great way to give more than just images on instagram. But for now instagram on my account which is @karenwazenb

And on youtube what’s your?

Karen Wazen.

Okay. So we’ll put these in the show notes so listeners know where to find you.

Thank you so much.

Great, thank you.

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. You can check out show notes and more episodes at rananawas.com/win or search When Women Win on Itunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. I’d also love to hear your feedback and ideas for who I should bring on the show. You can find me on instagram @rananawas. Thanks and have a great day.

 

 

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