(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)
Here is our interview with Rania Badr El Din, an Egyptian Entrepreneur based in Cairo, who is focusing on the well-being of families and serving the community. Rania is the CEO & Founder of Mother & Child.
What makes you do what you do?
Very simply, I do what I do out of a strong desire to help other mothers. Having been a young and unprepared mother myself, I learned first hand how important access to knowledge is, and I have taken it upon myself to spread as much valuable knowledge as possible to moms in Egypt and the MENA region to support them in building healthy and happy family lives. The feeling that we are truly having a positive impact on our audience keeps us going!
How did you rise in the industry you are in?
It took hard work, long hours and great dedication to rise in this industry. But mostly, we rose by not giving up, and by not compromising on our values and standards. Being creative and attentive to our audience was also key.
Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I took on this role because I knew it was the right thing to do. I was motivated by the belief that it is essential for mothers to have access to accurate information that contributes to their well-being and the well-being of their children and families. No one else was providing it, so I did not hesitate to take on the role, however challenging it was.
Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?
I have recently had a mentor for the first time ever. The mentor is not in my industry but is an investor who helped me prepare myself to pitch to potential investors, which was invaluable. The mentor was part of the mentorship program by the Cherie Blair Foundation that lasted one year.
How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him?
The foundation matches mentees with suitable mentors based on information gathered through a questionnaire. In my case that worked out very well!
Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
I spot talent by being on the lookout for people who already value what we do and respect the way we do it. They must also be aligned with our core company values. I develop, keep, grow and support them by being attentive to them, coaching and helping them, while giving them more responsibilities and authority. We make sure to celebrate successes and look at mistakes as opportunities to grow. We have a company culture that is fun yet serious, personal yet professional, creative, cooperative and inspiring.
Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
Because I support diversity as an individual, I believe I unconsciously support it in the workplace by NOT allowing my choices to be influenced by anything other than the person being a good fit for the company/job. This tends to lead to a diverse team which I think is great to have during brainstorming sessions as it brings different perspectives to the table.
What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
Foremost, I believe that a great leader must be inspired and must inspire. They must inspire their team to want to succeed, as individuals and as a team. In my opinion, they must be kind and firm (which is something we also teach parents to be with their kids). They must be very clear about exactly what they want to achieve (and WHY) and must be able to communicate this to the team so that the team effort goes towards achieving those goals/realizing that vision. They must be FOCUSED yet approachable, must able to delegate, must be good listeners (which includes listening to their audience) and must have strong business knowledge.
Advice for others?
Whatever they do, I advise people to be true to themselves! I advise them to be kind to themselves and to others, to focus their thoughts and energy on what matters most to them and to embrace life with all its imperfections as they leave their mark on it.
To learn more about Mother & Child, please see http://mother-and-child.net/.
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This article was co-written with Mariem Khemir.