I had no intention of being an entrepreneur.
I had a stable life and the career of my dreams. After living between the UAE and Canada, I was working as a software design engineer in a multinational company in Abu Dhabi, designing computer programs to help make people’s lives easier and simpler. It was the perfect job for me, completely in tune with my Introverted Feeling MBTI personality type.
Then, in July 1999, everything changed for me. My husband quit his career to partner in the project of his dreams in Egypt. What followed were some of the toughest months of my life. I went from being a fully independent, active woman to feeling totally helpless and useless. My husband was working almost 14 hours, I did not have any family in Cairo, and being a stranger as an Egyptian in Egypt is tough. I had no friends at all, and no children to keep me busy. No network to build on. No job and no knowledge of the demographics of Cairo. And almost no love for a country I had heard nothing but negative things about growing up.
When I reached almost clinical depression, I realized I HAD to do something. I had to pull myself together and save myself and my marriage. I still remember what I kept repeating to myself: Where you focus your attention, energy flows. Where energy flows, life grows!!
I was not being proactive, and was focusing on my circles of concern not my circles of control and influence. I was also constantly comparing. Two decisions turned my life around within 6 months: I decided to stop comparing and complaining, and focused my energy on finding the silver lining in every cloud. I also decided to start looking for work at a place I would fit in and start creating a circle of contacts. I had many interviews, and I finally found the right place for me through “Career Egypt”.
In December 1999, I joined A&K Egypt as Planning & IT Director. It was a long distance from Heliopolis to Downtown, so I learnt to drive. I loved my job, and I started liking Egypt. One of the outcomes of this period is a total conviction that we were created Egyptians to leave our legacy in Egypt not elsewhere. The DO IT ANYWAY poem by Mother Theresa was like an epiphany to me at the time.
My career grew to encompass HR, and I fell in love with it, especially performance management, because it had a direct impact on people. I also discovered a passion for teaching, and I used to seize every opportunity to facilitate workshops to our staff in the 8 branches. I became a Professional in HR through SHRM and in 2003, I became a certified trainer from Cambridge. During those years, I also had my 2 gifts from GOD, Adam in 2001 and Lara in 2004.
I got promoted to Executive Director, HR, IT and Planning responsible for all 8 company branches and member of the board. At the peak of my career, I had the heavy feeling that I was spending only 20% of my time doing impactful work and 80% on meetings and office politics. It took me 8 months to take the decision to leave the corporate world, and another 2 years to make the move.
All I knew in 2010 was: my passion is inspiring people to make proactive changes in their life, and the tool is blended coaching and facilitation. I started off as a freelance facilitator. I always developed the material myself, and I almost never repeated the same program. I found this frustrating, time consuming and sometimes unfair. Yet, all this went away the minute I felt I had inspired someone to make a real transformation in their life, so I kept going.
After 3 years, I took a leap of faith and founded THINK for Leadership Development. THINK is a company specialized in offering leadership and well-being programs, capitalizing on the power of coaching and positive psychology, experiential learning, gamification and personality type profiling. We also offer executive and leadership coaching, ICF coach mentoring and ICF coach certification programs.
Our journeys, workshops, leadership retreats and coaching programs are designed to meet the needs of senior and developing leaders, and we have a passion and an edge in women leadership development programs.
The name “THINK” and the slogan “Thoughts that last” represent a learner’s journey. THINK provides True, Happy, Inspiring, Necessary Know-How. Learners transform the learning into Thoughts that last, take action and achieve tangible results.
I am a proactive optimist who seeks to live a purposeful life, and to leave a legacy by being an inspiring role model for my children. My advice to them is always “Set your intention and connect to your purpose. Then follow your intuition and trust the process. You will always know the right thing to do”.
I am a proud introvert who gets excited about opportunities to develop people. I strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home. Structures and systems liberate me, giving me clarity and freedom. I love planning and organizing, appreciate beauty & vibrant colors, and believe that quality and distinction lie in the fine details.
My favorite quote of all time is “Be the change you want to see in the world” and my mantras are the “Serenity Prayer” and “Do it anyway”. The most common phrases people use to describe me are “grounded presence”, “professional & approachable”, and “passionate & inspiring”.
CREDENTIALS : CPLP, PCC, CAPP, Certified Co-Active Leader, MBTI Practitioner, Certified LSP Facilitator, MTa Facilitator, Cambridge Teachers & Trainers Diploma, CHT, PHR
MISSPELLINGS : Aburabia, Ranya, Abou Rabia, Rabya, Aburabya
4 Comments Add yours
Everyone has some sort of story to tell.. Not everyone can tell the story.. A little can distill wisdom from their own stories.. Few can put their wisdom and knowledge in service for other people stories to provide clearer paths and happier endings..
You chose to play that role, authentically and powerfully!
Much Respect to you Rania
Ashraf….I am humbled and grateful. This comment from a changemaker and role model means a lot to me and I am proud al hamd le Allah. I have learnt a lot from you !
Keep going and keep inspiring, helping people achieve their goals and dreams…..I hope one day, I can tell my story proudly, telling how I was able to successfully overcome all the challenges I faced
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Thank you Mai for your vote of confidence and encouragement. Keep going…..aim high and follow your dreams. Just by doing that, you will be inspiring and encouraging !