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Rana Nawas

Rana Nawas

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Hi! I spent 17 years in the Corporate world spanning McKinsey, the Dubai Govt & GE - and left 2 years ago to pursue my mission: to help women win. I do this in 3 ways: keynote speeches, strategic advisory on gender parity, and through my chart-topping podcast When Women Win, a weekly show that highlights international boss ladies from diverse fields.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I became an Ellevate member many years ago because I met an amazing woman at my very first event who became one of my best friends. And I've continued to meet incredible women throughout the years. I truly enjoyed leading and growing the Dubai chapter for 4 years - it was so very rewarding.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

When a client of mine, an airline in Turkey called Onur Air, stuck my name on the side of the aircraft I sold them!

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

I have worked on many projects I am proud of... 17 years in the corporate world is a long time. I built many relationships and closed many deals that my company did not think were possible. I executed the first-ever aircraft lease in Libyan history and I put the first ever 737 into the Republic of Congo. But maybe the project I am most proud of is my labor of love, my podcast When Women Win. The women who have graced the show are unbelievably inspiring, and it gives me such joy to bring their stories to the world. I built the podcast while going through chemotherapy - and by the end of my chemo it was the #1 podcast in the Middle East. It was a very difficult time, and I am doubly proud of this achievement.

Who are your role models?

My role model is the every day working mom who can manage a smile. What we do is so hard...

What is your morning ritual?

Ha! Scream, shout and shove the boys into the car. I sometimes remember to put perfume on.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

My infinite capacity to push. I'll keep push push pushing. Some call it perseverance - others call me crazy.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

Work-life balance is my biggest challenge right now. I worked hard in Corporate, but as an entrepreneur I'm working mad hours. It's also very lonely, not having a team around me. I would love to share a no-fail tactic, but I don't have one. I know from guests on When Women Win that this issue is something most women are struggling with... Some podcast guests meditate to calm the storm; others exercise; still others play with their kids. For me, turning off all notifications on my phone has been immensely helpful to keep me in the present moment, whether I'm doing work or life. I've also started blocking out days where I take no meetings or calls so I can just keep my head down and tick things off the to do list - this has de-stressed my week. But the thing that has most moved the needle is just doing less - I've started saying no to stuff. It's super hard because you don't want to disappoint people, but there is no other way. Saying yes to everything will run you ragged - and you have to look after yourself. This is a work-in-progress!

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Two life-changing things, actually: "Listen more". This helped me build credibility and relationships early on in my career, and enhanced my problem-solving capabilities. "Don't take on board EVERYONE's feedback". Some people don't have your best interests at heart. Constructive criticism is truly a gift if coming from a well-intentioned person.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Perfection doesn't exits in anybody's life. Go for sanity.


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