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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. 

Nada Alawi, Founder & Creative Director, Annada

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

I love to work and surround myself with a group of women who help each other rise. However, I do believe that biases still exist in different societies around the world. 

Bahrain is a country that creates platforms to celebrate women and help them succeed. We are at an age where women are on the rise and it brings me joy to be a part of a movement that supports women. At Annada, most of our team members are fantastic women and I think we make a great job of extending happiness through art.

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

All my life, I’ve worked in a male-dominated industry and Annada is the only exception. I think that the art and fashion industry here is on an equal ground. 

Every field of work has its own challenges so it is important to be in an industry that aligns with your personal values – the challenges would be surpassed easier if you’re doing something you love and are passionate about. 

What has been the most empowering moment in your career?

The moment I’ve ideated the concept for Annada felt like an earthquake in my heart; I couldn’t breathe if it didn’t happen. From then, we have accomplished many things like having our art pieces at the Louvre, receiving Princess Sabeeka’s Seal of Excellence of Entrepreneurship, being selected as one of the 50 most influential women in retail, among other awards.

There are a lot of memorable moments in my career – from the very first piece we sold to the very first boutique we have opened – they were all very empowering. I continue to experience awesome moments that keep my motivation going on. 

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

I think the most important thing is to continuously learn. I personally read so much – it’s okay to read for pleasure, but it’s very important to read for growth.

Being in the know and in a circle of people that motivates you is also vital. They say that we are the average of the five people we surround ourselves with. I think it’s very important to remember to always have the abundance mentality; that there’s plenty for everybody.

Work with a plan and then take actions. Make sure you keep going forward and you keep doing activities that take you a step towards your goals.

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

I think that young women know what they want based on the information they have. I would like for them to dig more, act on their wants and desires and create solutions that will serve humanity for the future. It can be something that brings happiness or something that saves the world from hunger. It’s really up to them to make their mark in the world. But before they do that, they need to allow themselves to experience a serious working environment.

Which powerful woman do you admire the most and why?

There are so many women that I look up to: Oprah Winfrey who broke every possible obstacle in front of her. One of my mentors, Candace Johnson, who started the first privately owned satellite company in Europe. In Bahrain, there are many empowered, tenacious, and kind women that I admire. My mother, sister, partners, and friends all inspire me every day – each of their win is also a win for all of us. 

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