A few months ago, I attended a conference centered around women’s empowerment and had the absolute delight to hear from inspiring women. At that particular moment in my life, I was in a personal crisis, feeling lost and lacking the direction where I could find happiness, fulfillment, and questioned where my life was headed. One of those inspiring women, was Sahar Madani, who spoke about chasing our dreams. She spoke about how her life transitioned from being 100% dedicated to motherhood, to pursuing a degree in graphic design, because that was her passion. She then spoke about starting WE (Women’s Empowerment) Group in Dubai, and becoming a fashion designer.
Sahar’s story reminded me that everything indeed happens for a reason. The current situation we are in, is intended to help us grow, it is not our final destination. Just like she pursued her passion for graphic design and art later in her life, rather than earlier – I was reminded that with faith, perseverance, and dedication – things will fall into place. Enjoy her words right here 🙂
- Name: Sahar Ghazi Madani
- Profession: Founder of WE GROUP – Women Empowerment Group Dubai and fashion designer
- Favourite destination: Rome and Washington DC
- Horoscope sign: Cancer
- Loves: Kit Kat chocolate, music, swimming, smart people
- Hates: Negative people, humidity, snakes
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am originally from Al Madinah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I had my early childhood in the United States of America, where I grew up as my father was pursuing his Ph.D. from Tucson, Arizona. I feel blessed to have a wonderful family, with amazing parents and being one of six siblings. I am now married, and a mother of four amazing boys. Art is my passion and I love meeting and knowing people. I live in UAE at the moment with my family for the past 11 years, my husband was the General Consul of Saudi Arabia in Dubai. I was also chosen to be the President of the Diplomatic Ladies Group in Dubai that lasted for 5 years.
I always had a fascination for art. With this passion, I majored in Fine Arts, and then completed a specialization in Graphic Design from the US. To begin with, fashion was not a priority career path for me. I would say this was accidental – I could not find a nice Jalabiya for Eid and then the thought of pursuing a career in fashion dawned on me. Subsequently, the doors for other fashion opportunities opened.
2. How do you handle difficult times in your life?
Everyone goes through difficult times, we all have our ups and downs. My father always taught us to express ourselves and not keep things that are bothering us inside. I always share with my family, my husband and sisters that help me tremendously – nevertheless in parallel I always turn to God and pray for enlightening me with the right path.
3. What is your secret to achieving the right balance between your career, family, friends and doing what you really love?
Family for me always comes first, when my boys were very young all my time was spent to raise them. After they started school, I had more time for myself to complete my education – it took me more time then others but thank God I achieved it, and graduated. Its all about time management … one has to prioritize what’s important, but its possible to raise a family and have your own career if one can handle it, why not? As far as socializing, its very important to have time for yourself and enjoy life with friends. To sum it all: its doable to balance if you prioritize your time.
4. What are your hobbies?
I love swimming, reading a good book, and anything to do with art.
5. What are your tips for happiness?
Not to look at what others have, just focus on improving yourself.
6. Who is your role model or someone you look up to?
Number one are my parents, God rest their souls. Indeed I’m lost with out them. My dad was always the first person I call for advise. My other role model is HRH Princes Haifa Alfaisal, whom I learned so much from while living in Washing DC. HRH is the wife of Prince Bander Bin Sultan our Ambassador for 22 years in Washington DC when my husband was posted as the Chief of Protocol in his office. A truly amazing women, I must say.
7. What have been the most exciting milestones in your life?
The most exciting milestones have to be founding my Women Empowerment Group, in March 2009 – 6 months after I arrived in Dubai. Our core objective at WE Group is to help women reach their potential across spheres – social, economic and psychological. We launched in the UAE, which is our primary market, but we are looking at women empowerment across the entire Gulf and the region, because of the huge potential for growth among the Arab women – they want to make a mark for themselves. Our mission is to provide an avenue of support and inspiration to women in the UAE and around the region, and form a network of confidants with empowerment tools, that when combined, provide the motivation women have been looking for to bring the enthusiasm to the fore. We saw a synergy in our movement through this model across countries simultaneously.
8. If you could change one thing in the world right now, what would it be?
You know sometimes people say what can one person say or do to change negative problems. But believe me with social media being part of our daily life it is possible and viral at times. Your voice matters if you believe in something and wish to change it – take charge and do it. I really wish people would stop judging each other in negative ways. It it goes like this: judging, believing, reacting to what you are assuming, creating the wrong idea, and then a problem occurs.
9. There are still a lot of cultures and societies who frown upon successful women. Why do you think that is, and how can it change?
We still live in a male dominant world and unfortunately there will always be people who think women should be only raising children and staying home, but I am happy to say things are changing in the last few decades, and very optimistic for the future. We hear successful stories every day about women and their achievement. In Egypt women serve in Parliament and the cabinet. In Syria the Minister of Culture is a woman. In the UAE there are few women ministers like Sheikha Lubna Al-Qasimi. In Saudi Arabia King Sulaiman Bin Abdullaziz opened the doors for women in government positions like Noura Al-Fayiz, Deputy Minister of Education, and women also serve in Parliament while having their own section through the Chamber of Commerce like Markaz Khadija Bint Khouwalid. The center motivates the ladies to eliminate all obstacles women face and support their economical and social journey. From Palestine, Suzan Alhoub was the first Arab woman to climb Mount Everest – and the list goes on and on. I am very proud to hear successful stories of women especially Arab women in our region.
10. What advice can you offer for men and women, trying to balance a career, family and personal life?
Follow your heart, but also listen to what your mind says! It takes time, discipline and faith to excel.
Keep up to date with Sahar’s fashion pieces through her Instagram page – trust me they are gorgeous!
Disclaimer: Thank you Sahar for collaborating on this post, your words have shed a positive light on my life and I hope through this interview, they can do the same for all those who are reading it.