Contributed to EO by Abeer Qumsieh, a seven-year EO Jordan member who is the founder of Better Business, the leading organization for management consulting and human capital development in Jordan, and Khibraty, an intelligent digital matchmaking marketplace for expertise seekers and providers. She is also a partner in MakanE, an e-commerce enabler in the Middle East.
In March, EO recognizes and celebrates women entrepreneurs with its second annual EmpowHER virtual conference, which focuses on the specific challenges women in business experience. In each one-hour session, women entrepreneurs will learn from experts how to navigate the three pillars of every woman entrepreneurs’ life: business, family and self.
As an Arab woman entrepreneur from the Middle East, I’ve faced numerous challenges while launching and growing my businesses. However, rather than deter me, these challenges have been a driving force behind my success, inspiring me to shatter many glass ceilings in male-dominated industries. Unfortunately, gender bias has made it difficult for women entrepreneurs like me to secure funding, build professional networks, and balance various day-to-day responsibilities. Despite these hurdles, I have achieved success and continue to find ways to grow my business while founding several other successful businesses.
Develop a Clear Vision
Multiple factors contributed to my success, among them was knowing my mission, what I wanted to accomplish, and how I planned to achieve it. This clear vision guided my actions and decision-making processes throughout the years, keeping me focused on my goals. That being said, committing to lifelong learning and pushing myself beyond my comfort zone—to the extent of joining a climb to Everest base camp—contributed to giving me an edge by improving my skills and empowering me to make bold and informed decisions, to innovate, and to remain ahead of the game in my industry.
Along the way and early enough, I discovered that innovation goes hand-in-hand with technology, which is a crucial tool for business growth and success. Though not within my main skill set, I embraced technology and rode the wave of digital transformation across different sectors in my industries. For example, after nearly two decades of providing programmes through my company, Better Business, the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to pivot—fast. Within three days, we embraced a complete on-line set up, and as a result were able to expand our client base to companies in Asia and Europe. Technology has enabled me to grow and differentiate my businesses, a key practice for ongoing success. It also inspired me to take a leap by partnering in a tech company, MakanE.
As a woman business owner with children, I often find myself juggling multiple responsibilities, which can lead to burnout and stress. Prioritizing self-care is critical for me in maintaining a healthy life balance while remaining productive and focused on my business goals. I intentionally set aside time for my favorite activities, which include playing badminton quite often, and investing time to share with my family and friends.
Build a Strong Network
One of the most significant factors that contributed to my success was building a strong network. We all know it gets lonely at the top—my network provided me with many opportunities to connect with other business leaders and learn about the latest business and personal trends. Joining professional organizations including EO has qualified me to participate in inspiring moments that shifted the way I think and operate.
Personally, I believe that finding like-minded people beyond your regular network will provide you with new and invaluable experiences that will benefit you in various times of your professional or personal life by supporting your mental journey. The relationships that I’ve built over the years within EO are still very precious to me and very much present in my life today.
Extend Your Hand to the Next Generation
Before I close, I will leave you with one last piece that impacted my journey. Over the years, giving back, volunteering my time and resources to other entrepreneurs—to women, to youth, to my community and beyond—has been extremely rewarding. As an added bonus, it has further solidified the extensive network I’ve built. That same network supported me back and increased my power to allow me to make the difference I set out to make, and that I aspire to continue making in the future.
Don’t miss EO’s 2023 EmpowHER virtual series on 7, 14 and 21 March (the first three Tuesdays of the month). EmpowHER invites women entrepreneurs to hear inspiring stories from fellow founders—including Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and former head of marketing at Facebook; Aanchal Bhatia, founder of Sydenham Clinic; Hannah Vasicek, founder of Francesca; and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former prime minister of Denmark—during a series of virtual events that are free and open to EO members, EO Accelerators, their companies, and prospective EO members. Register today!
On 7 March, entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg will share insights she has gained from being a three-dimensional woman of many titles. This seminar is free and open to anyone, upon registration. Sign up here to EmpowHER today.