Embracing your professional identity

How do we develop our work persona? For every professional woman asking herself, Who am I?, Al Reem Al Tenaiji shares her experiences…

“Now I know how to bring my values into the workplace, so I don’t lose my sense of self. “

The world of business in the United Arab Emirates is modern and fast-paced. And, excitingly, in recent years, the torchbearers of this emerging powerhouse are the fearless women who have overcome numerous challenges as they strive for empowerment.

My own story is not just a career path, but the journey of a common girl to a well-known entrepreneur. I was just 23 when I started a charity school for girls in India. Looking back, I see that this was a stepping stone to the professional world. Working with the charity taught me valuable life skills, which I took into the early years of my semi-professional career.

It has been a varied ride so far, with the usual bumps in the road: unequal pay and gender bias, alongside talent-hunting, team-building and creating cultural diversity.

Luckily, in my personal life, I found my life’s love. My husband’s rock-solid support added to my confidence. And after just a few years of marriage, I gathered my courage and decided to stand on my own, held up by my husband’s deep belief and love. That was the time when the hidden entrepreneur in me awakened. I was nervous and excited.
I was lucky enough to work with business coaches at the beginning of my journey, and I urge anyone who is able to do so to take this on as a key part of their self-development.

Executive coaching was an investment in myself, and its benefits went far beyond my expectations. The lessons I’ve taken forward have given me all the skills I need to better lead and grow my team. And as a successful business leader, I always advise new entrepreneurs to prioritise executive coaching, for them and their team. A newly appointed executive may benefit from being mentored by someone with experience in a similar position, while I’ve also seen coaching boost the confidence of both employees and managers.

By defining a new, more compelling, professional identity, and reconnecting with the attributes, beliefs, values, motives and experiences that I consider important, I took big steps on my self-development journey. I know how to bring my values into the workplace, so I don’t lose my sense of self.

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