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To commemorate the International Women’s Day, we are featuring women who have made notable contributions in their respective industries. We aim to explore the tenacity of each and discover how they pushed boundaries to rise to the top. 

Budoor Steele, Tea Master and Sommelier, Founder of Chawan Japanese Tea House

What does the 2022 International Women’s Day slogan, #BreaktheBias mean for you in your work life?

To me, it means women do not have to conform to certain expectations in terms of career choices. We cancreate our own path, even if it’s outside of the norm. Being a tea and Japanese cultural specialist might not be thenormal occupation title, but it is a passion and a fulfilling career.

What is the main challenge that you’ve faced as a woman in your industry?

As a niche business concept, it required creating a new market for this unique idea. It needs continious effort in terms of educating customers for the business to flourish.

What has been the most empowering moment in your career?

The most memorable one was receiving the admiration and respect of the 15th generation Urasenke Iemoto, Sen Sõshitsu (the Head Master of the Urasenke tea school in Japan). I had thechance to meet him during a UNESCO event under the slogan of (a bowl of peace) and presenting him with my master’s thesis,which was inspired by his efforts in spreading the tea culture.

Do you have any advice for women wanting to start their own business or work their way up the ladder?

The road to success is filled with ups and downs, do not let that discourage you. It is a part of the journey and I assure you the hard work will pay off. Surround yourself with a strong network to succeed and most importantly invest in educating yourself in your field of business.

What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?

I would like to see the next generation of women become more independent. I want them to surround themselves with positive influences and like-minded people that encourage them to succeed.

Which powerful woman do you admire the most and why?

Apart from my mother, who raised me as a single mother and taught me how to be independent, I also admire and lookup to Her Highness Princess Sabikha Al Khalifa for the tremulous efforts and regulations put in place to empower women and ensure equality in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

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