Kicking off our International Women's Day spotlight series, Talmix speaks to Eman El-Awady, a highly experienced change management and digital transformation leader, about getting into independent consulting, the importance of loving what you do, and what International Women's Day means to her.
Why did you first decide to go independent?
I had been working in project and change management with HSBC, and decided it was time to take a break and do my Executive MBA. This was to prepare me either for my next step within the corporate world or for the move into independent consultancy.
But once I completed my studies, the pandemic hit! So when things started to get better, I decided I'll start seriously searching for independent consulting work. I was excited to do it as I’m really passionate about change management, and the options for flexibility and exploration after the pandemic.
How did the pandemic affect you?
It meant a lot of potential opportunities slowed down and were put on hold. However, companies and organizations are now more open to the hybrid model, which helps in terms of customer base, so I'm not limited, for example, to opportunities in Cairo alone or in Dubai alone. I can pursue opportunities in EMEA region as a whole, and the US even. It was an eye-opener to see what's also going on in the wider global market, and you can compare your skill sets to global colleagues, so it's been really exciting to start tackling it from a different angle.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
For me, it is not just about celebrating women on that one day but about the continuous focus on implementing a wider strategy for empowering women, and breaking the glass ceiling everyday. It is also about giving equal opportunities for people with adequate skill sets regardless of gender.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to other women looking to embark upon an independent career?
I can say that if you're going to do it then you really need to have a lot of passion. Be passionate about what you're going to do because it takes time, it's not something that is going to happen overnight. It requires patience and getting out of your comfort zone; knocking on doors and forcing yourself out there, marketing yourself, your capabilities, and the value of the services you are offering. For me personally, if I'm not passionate about what I do, I can't really deliver.
What is making you feel positive these days?
I think overall, at least in Egypt and the Middle East, this pandemic is really slowing down, so I’m just feeling positive about going back out there, getting back to normal life. It gives you energy. The overall atmosphere is definitely positive compared to last year, and now I have a great reference for my first independent change management consulting work in Dubai, which is something to celebrate!