WHO: DEENA ALMANSOORI
WHAT: CONSULTANT | COACH
“I worked for a decade in an amazing organization, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Starting as a programmer to become a project manager. I was a fresh graduate when I joined and I grew up there among people from all around the world. I enriched my skills with all the resources ADIA thankfully made available to us.
“Being a woman in male dominant environment I worked twice as hard to prove myself. I started getting involved in interviews, nationalization programs, mentoring programs and so on. I saw how the young generation is struggling to find direction, how they are lost between the past and present and how difficult it is to motivate part of the generation that has everything at home to show up and contribute. During that time, I was going through an internal transition personally and professionally. My inner compass started pushing me away from the corporate world into a new unexplored field which was coaching that I hoped would be my first step in providing the support people and UAE need during these times.
“On my 10th anniversary at ADIA I handed my resignation to follow that compass. I started the journey of learning and certification, and started my company Fortitudo for coaching and followed it with Aljoory for Cinema and Advertisement and in the process of establishing a center that will include two more companies.
BUILDING THE NATION’S LEADERS
As a coach, I work with people from different career levels and backgrounds. When we talk about leadership it always goes back to how you manage people in the workforce. While leadership is part of each one of us, it’s a life style, it’s emotional intelligence, and it’s a mindset.
In coaching, I love to bring out true leadership in people. After all that’s why I chose to leave a secure job to do what I do now. I believe this will support my country’s progress by building generations of leaders. I want to share with them my skills and experiences to make it easier for them in their journey. If I knew what I know now about leadership 12 years ago, I would be a totally different person. So if I can help 100 people in the next five years to be true leaders who can contribute and impact the UAE positively, I will be the happiest person on earth.
When you start a business and even if you have a team, you will feel isolated. You have to do all the thinking and decision-making. It took me few months to get over that. Meeting other business men and women, scheduling working dates with like-minded people is important to feed on each other’s energy.
The second main challenge was to go without the secure income that I was used to. As an employee, you know regardless what happens during the month, you have that paycheck by end of the day in your account. As an entrepreneur, you panic about that next pay check all the time.
The third big challenge is the psychological challenge we create for ourselves through our doubts and fears. You ask yourself, ‘Am I doing the right thing? Do I have what it takes? Why can’t I just get a job?’ The voices of doubts are endless, so I set little reminders of how great I am. I have notes, friends and thought patterns to help keep me on track so I don’t surrender to my saboteurs.
DEENA’S TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
- Learn about yourself. If you consider entrepreneurship, you are signing yourself up to a long journey of self-discovery. Know what makes you tick, your strengths, your weaknesses.
- Get curious. About life, economy, politics, music, art, everything and anything that makes you say ‘oh wow I didn’t know that’. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the easier your vision will become as you can see how every piece of the puzzle fits.
- Know people. This the fun part. As entrepreneur, you will have an ocean of knowledge to dive in to. Attend seminars, go to networking sessions, meet like-minded people. As your network grows, so will your knowledge expand with it.
- Accept failure. Yes, you will get a lot of chances to fail and to get up. It’s half the fun of being an entrepreneur. You will stumble, fall, and ‘Say goodness what did I do?’ And then you will go and try another thing and another and another and along the way you will grow, learn, feel, laugh and cry. You will live.