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Interview: Esmahan Bokhowa, General Manager of Saar Mall

Bahrain Confidential shares a conversation with Saar Mall GM, Esmahan Bokhowa.

Tell us about yourself. What shaped you to become who you are now?

First and foremost, I am the eldest child of Mr. Hassan Bokhowa and I was born and brought up in our beautiful Kingdom of Bahrain. I received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Bahrain, an MBA from Torrens University of Australia, and I am looking forward to pursuing a Ph.D.

My father has been running a construction business for over 41 years. I remember with great fondness that as a child, he would take me to visit our construction sites. I attribute these visits to cementing my sense of passion, commitment, discipline, and dedication to my work and my life.

What led you to take over Saar Mall from your father?

Saar Mall was founded by Mr. Hassan Bokhowa in 2008 and opened in 2013.

I have been CFO of our company since my 20’s. I have also been greatly involved with many of Bahrain’s charities and social affairs. Since my father and brother’s expertise is in construction, I was the one they turned to ensure the Mall was functioning properly.

How has the journey as an entrepreneur treated you so far?

It has caused me to strive for personal excellence! It required tremendous dedication, discipline, and willpower. I have had to triple my productivity and performance and this has taught me to be innovative. In order to achieve this, I have constantly needed to go outside my comfort zone which made me grow more than I ever thought I could.

Our initial vision was to serve the surrounding community and provide them with the necessities of life. 

What was your initial vision for Saar mall and how far have you succeeded in implementing it?

Our initial vision was to serve the surrounding community and provide them with the necessities of life. As with any living community, their requirements are always changing, and we need to change to respond. We succeeded in offering a convenient location for most daily needs and products. We also hold cultural events to help ‘develop’ our local community and the broader population of Bahrain.

What are your next steps for Saar Mall?

In addition to becoming a true hub for the local community, I would like Saar Mall to be seen as a retail innovator, a ‘test bed’ – introducing new brands and promotional concepts to Bahrain.

Can you tell us about an experience that changed your outlook?

We have the opportunity to learn and experience more every day at Saar Mall. However, I find initiating, volunteering and participating in charitable events particularly enjoyable and rewarding.

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