Mona Almoayyed, one of the most successful business women in Bahrain chronicles her life, passion, and ambition.
Mona Almoayyed started working for the Almoayyed family business after graduating from university in 1974. She recounted how she took the first step in the career ladder by working in the accounts department for a few years, and then moving to the furniture department and working there for 5 years. After this time she was put in charge of the automobile, electronics, and building materials section of the company. When her father died in 1996, 20 years later, she was well informed of all the details of the business. The board appointed her as the Managing Director of the trading company. Today the Almoayyed group is well-diversified and employs over 8000 employees. The interview below is a glimpse into the world of this successful woman who has been named as as the 3rd Most Influential Arab Woman in the Middle East in 2013 and was recently ranked 9th Most Powerful Arab Business Woman in the Forbes Power List for 2017.
As a young woman who grew up in the 70’s, what were the challenges that you faced in becoming a successful woman in your own right?
Bahrain was far different in those days. I must credit my father who broke all social barriers and encouraged us to work in the business during the summer months. When I graduated, he encouraged me to join the company even though it was normal in those days to recognize the sons more than the daughters. I had to work hard to prove to him that I was as good and hard working as my brothers.
You’ve frequently spoken about the role of women in building a better society. Can you explain this thought to our readers?
We believe that as a Bahraini national company we should take care of our society. We created this culture of corporate social responsibility with projects such as the Mohammed Almoayyed Drug and Rehabilitation centre in 1987 and in 2003 the Yousif Khalil Almoayyed Kidney centre. We are now planning a bigger kidney transplant centre in Salmaniya Hospital. We allocate a percentage of our profit for charity. On a personal level I am the board member of the Child Care Centre for homeless children and the honorary chairperson of the Migrant Workers Protection Society, which protects low-paid foreign workers in Bahrain.
How do you balance being a mother, housewife, businesswoman, and philanthropist?
My children are all grown up and do not need me except emotionally for support when they have any problems. As a housewife, I have many duties but I am lucky because my husband Adel Fakhro is always encouraging me to do more socially and at work. On the business side, we have professional managers in all the departments. My contribution comes on the board and committee levels. I do not interfere in the management of the business unless I see something is wrong. I visit all our outlets once every quarter to talk to the employees and the managers of the different departments. Philanthropy is my passion and it comes naturally
What advice would you give to young women entrepreneurs?
I advise women to work hard and never give up even if their boss ignores them. If they are good they will be successful. If they have their own business they should look at the business profitability by reducing expenses and using clever and effective marketing. They need to know their customers thoroughly in order to satisfy them.