Leading Women: Sonya Janahi, CEO & Founder of Maya La Chocolaterie

Sonya Janahi
Occupation: CEO & Founder of Maya La Chocolaterie, Maya Delices, The Living Concepts
Board Member of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Board Member of Social Insurance Organization

Sonya Janahi is the founder and CEO of Maya La Chocolaterie, Maya Delices and its parent company, ‘The Living Concepts’ which is a hospitality and F&B consultancy. Sonya boasts a distinguished career that spans over two decades working in the banking and telecom industries, and with specialised know-how in the areas of retail, investment, oil & gas and real estate.

In March 2018, Sonya won a board seat at the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry and her role is focused on supporting the F&B and hospitality sector of Bahrain. In August 2018, King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, issued an official decree appointing Sonya as a board member of the Social Insurance Organization (pension fund).

As an executive, Sonya says that her leadership style is a mix between transformational and visionary. When faced with doubts at work, she says that communication and respect for each other’s opinion are vital as these factors strengthen the achievement and success rate of the team.

As an enabler of change and an advocate for the SME sector in the region, Sonya is widely commended for her entrepreneurial spirit. She is using her own story of achievements to stimulate progress in the realm of entrepreneurship as well as to empower women.

Sonya advises female leaders in male-dominated industries to believe in their capabilities and to demand their rights. “You are stronger than you think. You are unstoppable and able to take on the toughest challenges – just believe in yourself, your capabilities and demand what your right is. We can definitely do more by believing in our capabilities”, she commented.

When asked about the woman who has inspired her the most, Sonya shares that it was her mother: “My mother was my mentor, friend and press secretary. Her guidance throughout my life has been invaluable in all aspects. I am who I am today as she made me fearless against all challenges and opportunities”.

“You will always learn. Whether the situation is a success or failure, it is still a learning opportunity and you must never decline an opportunity to do good for your others and yourself”, a message from Sonya’s mother that has always directed her throughout her career. 

Sonya is a loving mother to her two daughters. Over and above her passion for chocolate, she enjoys exploring new countries and cultures, mentoring and the art of cooking.