Yara Salman is the CEO of several companies in Bahrain including Hospitalia By Yara, Yara Beauty Lounge and Haute Health.
Inspired by her business-oriented parents, Yara started running a business at the age of 17 right after graduating from St. Christopher’s School. “My father is the powerful example of old fashioned entrepreneurial hustle, he taught me how to navigate the business world and also taught me the good old classic firm handshake when I was a little girl. My mother is also incredibly hardworking and successful in her medical field. She taught by example and showed me that it is very possible for women to lead and succeed, without any help.”
Yara has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from the University College of Bahrain and she recently graduated with a Master’s (MSc) Degree from RCSI Bahrain. According to her, she has been balancing hunkering down in the library and running a business from a young age.
In her businesses, Yara strongly believes in a democratic leadership style “where there is an interactive and open communication process, an environment of mutual trust and cooperative planning done by the entire staff”. She added, “The success of the company heavily relies on team work. Why would I not value each employees’ perspective and input on important matters, for they each have a unique outlook on things that deems very valuable to me”.
As a female executive, the biggest challenge for her in her career is blazing her own path in a high-level business world dominated by men. “Not only am I a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, I am also considerably younger than competitors in my field. It was certainly a challenge and struggle to be taken seriously, however, you grow thicker skin with each passing day and slowly you realize that people will always have an opinion of you, and it’s only your opinion of yourself that matters”, she commented.
If there’s one advice Yara would like to give to women aspiring to be successful leaders, it’s to “fall down seven times and stand up eight”. She said, “It sounds cliché but wiser words have never been spoken. Being a woman already means the odds are against you. You’ll be met with bigotry along your journey and it’s your responsibility to not let it phase you. You only fail when you stop trying. Don’t give up on your dreams and aspirations just because the finish line seems out of present reach. They may be out of present reach but they should never be out of sight, and do what truly excites you, not just what makes others happy”.