2009 Middle East Dynamic Woman Award
2011 Middle East "Women Helping Women" Award
The Hot Mommas Project Project and the Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence
Out of the George Washington University School Of Business DC
I believe that woman in business has the power within her and around her .
This power might be enough to drive her to reach success and achieve her dreams.
In Middle Eastern communities the participation of women in the economy is weakest among all women in the world.
For years , women were marginalized and not given decision-making positions ,
as tradition dictated that men were better able and suited to make rational business decisions.
Often times, neither father, nor brother , or husband allowed them to work in public career , or to launch businesses that involve communicating with public .
Today , with more and better opportunities of Education & Communication , as well as more frequent contacts between East and West through Media , the Middle Eastern women are looking sustaining and raising over career challenges , they are looking for equality between genders .
My mind never seemed to stop . I realized it wasn't all just about the achievement of my personal dreams , it was also living by "Respect" and gaining "Experience " to empower others women in my community in the future .
I am "Rim" , an Egyptian businesswoman , born and raised in a conservative , well to-do family . Contrary to many , my father decided that my sister and I should be well educated and therefore ensured we attended one of the best private schools in " Egypt".
He supported me in my decision to continue my education and obtain a Masters degree .
Since I graduated from my 'French' high school and in my first academic year in the 'Business University of Alexandria' , I wanted to create my own independent business to realize my ambitions and to become self reliant economically and socially .
At that time , it wasn't easy for a girl of 18 years old to find appropriate and fulfilling work outside her father's Trading /company or to start her own business .
I started by working with him in Ceramic & Porcelain but I didn't find myself in his business .
I felt that I wanted to open my wings and fly to reach my dreams !!
With my strong personality , I insisted to be " ME " in the market not just succeed because I am " HIS " daughter .
I have always been considerate towards him , I love him , he did a lot for me and I wanted to make him proud of me .
I wanted to succeed by using my own strength in changing the rules . Therefore , I chose a line of business that women rarely choose as Middle Eastern or over the world
" ANTIQUES & PERSIAN CARPETS "
"Egypt" is one of the richest countries in antiques considering its civilization and history .
" Pyramids are among the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of Ancient Egypt."
To be an antique dealer wasn't easy. There were many obstacles :
Living in a conservative society , working in a market that was male-dominated , without any experience and with a little capital of my own .
I started to work on a consignment basis.
It would have been too much of a risk for my father to give me the large amount of capital needed for such a project . . . I totally understood his fear of my future !!
However , my passion and love of antiques made me accept the challenges and defy all obstacles , criticism and doubt . " Why ? " & " What for ? " were questions I had to deal with from everyone around me , but I always stood up against all with confidence .
As time went by , I became more skilful , I learned a lot from the "Market " .
My business went ahead slowly but surely and it was highly profitable .
I also started to travel abroad to attend 'Auctions' .
Now after twenty-two years of experience in business , I treasure my own warehouse and a cabinet restorer to restore old pieces and carpets .
As I became more successful , I entered the Gulf market five years ago with the reproduction of antiques as sideline . I opened a warehouse in the United Arab of Emirates.
I have set up several exhibitions in order to market my products and increase my visibility .
Lately I have participated in three large exhibitions . One of these was amazing !! It was in partnership with " Christophe D. PETYT ", a French Citizen , who assembled the largest and most prestigious collection of Copies of Old Master Paintings .
His private collection entered the "Guinness Book of Records " in 2000 . Now , he is considered the best ' Art Reproducer' in the World . One day I had taken a phone call :
" Rim , nice pieces " said Christophe . He appreciated my work and reproduction antiques as he viewed my pieces in the homes & offices of famous celebrities and Royal families in the Gulf countries , he wanted to order a masterpiece desk for his own personal office in
" PARIS " , and he asked me if I would like to mix my antiques reproductions with his copies of paintings in his exhibition "L'Art du Faux Exhibition" which was in February 2007 at the very luxury prestigeous Hotel " Emirates Palace " Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates .
It was an amazing experience that I will never forget .
Also I participated twice with a ' Malysian' company at " INDEX-DUBAI " Furniture -Exhibition which is the biggest one in the Middle East .
I wondered that The best part of being an Exhibitor-Partner was the interaction with different nationalities and mentalities to gain competitive advantage in Today's & Tomorrow's Global Market .
As a trader in local and global market , my advice to women in business is :
'Do not count what you have lost , the past never comes back but sometimes the success and the future can give back even more than the early losses . Just remain committed to your dreams , see what you have now and continue to trade-off between benefits and risks until you achieve your dreams.'
As a woman in business , my ambitions to achieve personal goals and have children is often a question asked . The challenge is to have the support of the partner and to reconcile family and work .
A balance should always be maintained between both aspects in life .
I was lucky enough to have my husband's & family's support . I tried always to maintain a balance between my business and my family . . . . " I hope to have succeeded. "
The role of volunteer in the development of society :
Recently , I started to think about taking on a role as a mentor to empower other women and to teach them new ' skills ' , so I submitted a training program for women to teach sewing art & craft carpentry .
Empowering women by teaching them carpentry skills is the best way of fighting against gender inequality and women's dependency . I think this training will give another chance to women who did not have a chance to go to school and will make their future brighter.
They will be able to have a say and an impact in their society . I think this will be a proof that Middle Eastern women can do what men can do if given support .
I believe that if you teach a woman you have taught a nation .