On International Women’s Day, BDD is celebrating some of the strong, inspiring and successful women, part of its community. Audrey Nakad, CEO of Ostaz, rose to success in a predominantly male dominated field. But it was no accident… rather her unwavering vision and a commitment to see it through. However, she admits she could not have done it on her own. She shares how some key challenges have shaped her, the importance of continuous learning and development in her field, the role of her mentors and the advice she has for the next generation of female leaders.
These are her words…
On overcoming challenges in an ever-changing environment
“As CEO of Ostaz, I have faced a number of challenges throughout my journey. One of the biggest challenges I have faced is navigating the ever-changing landscape of technology and staying ahead of the curve in terms of innovation. To overcome this challenge, I have made a commitment to investing in research and development, and staying up to date with emerging trends and technologies.
Another challenge I have faced is hiring talent and managing a diverse team with different backgrounds, skill sets and personalities. To overcome this challenge, I have focused on creating a culture of respect, collaboration and open communication. I encourage my team members to share their ideas and perspectives, and I make a point to listen to their feedback and address any concerns they may have.
Overall, I believe that challenges are opportunities for growth and learning. By embracing these challenges and finding creative solutions, we can continue to innovate and drive our business forward.”
On dedication to learning being pivotal to her success
“There have been a number of practices and people that have been pivotal to my success as CEO of Ostaz. First and foremost, I believe that a commitment to continuous learning and growth has been essential. I have always made it a priority to seek out new information and perspectives, whether that means attending industry conferences, reading widely, or networking with other professionals.
In addition to my own dedication to learning, I have been fortunate to have a number of mentors and advisors throughout my career who have provided invaluable guidance and support. These individuals have helped me to navigate challenges, identify opportunities for growth, and stay focused on my goals.
Finally, I would say that the team at Ostaz has been critical to our success. We have built a culture of collaboration, innovation, and accountability, and our employees are some of the most dedicated and talented professionals I have had the pleasure of working with. Their hard work and commitment to excellence have been instrumental in helping us to achieve our goals and build a successful business.”
On mistakes that were learnt and overcome, along the way
“I have made a number of mistakes along the way, and each one has taught me valuable lessons that have helped me to grow and develop as an entrepreneur.
One of the most significant mistakes I made early on was underestimating the importance of building a strong team. I had the misconception that I could do everything on my own. However, I quickly realized that I needed to surround myself with talented and motivated individuals who shared my vision and could help me bring it to fruition. Building a strong team not only brought new perspectives and skills to the company but also allowed me to focus on my strengths and responsibilities as a leader.
Another mistake I made was not being focused enough on our core value proposition. I was enthusiastic about expanding our services and offering new features, but I failed to prioritize our core offerings and ensure that they were working effectively. This led to some confusion among our users and ultimately resulted in us having to refocus on our core offerings and streamline our operations.
Finally, I learned that building a successful business requires a lot of patience and resilience. There were times when we faced setbacks and challenges that seemed insurmountable, but by staying focused on our vision and persevering through the tough times, we were able to overcome them and come out stronger on the other side.”
Words of advice for the next generation of aspiring female leaders
“I have 7 points to make, based on my experience:
- Believe in yourself: Have confidence in your abilities and your vision. Don’t let anyone make you doubt yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks: It’s okay to step out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks to achieve your goals.
- Embrace failure: Failure is not the end, it’s just a part of the journey. Learn from your mistakes and use them to become better.
- Find your own voice: Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. You have a unique perspective that can bring value to any team.
- Build a support system: Surround yourself with people who believe in you and support your goals. This can be a mentor, a coach, or a group of like-minded peers.
- Keep learning: Always be open to new ideas and experiences. Continuously learning and growing will help you stay ahead of the curve.
- Support other women: Lift other women up and help them achieve their goals. We all rise together.
On being mentored by incredible individuals at every stage in her career
“I have had the privilege of being mentored by some incredible individuals throughout my career including my other female co-founder Zeina. They have provided me with guidance, advice, and a sounding board for ideas. They have helped me to navigate challenges, provided me with insights into the industry, and encouraged me to think outside of the box. Their support has been invaluable, and I am grateful for their contributions to my professional journey.
To those who are just starting out in their careers, I highly recommend seeking out a mentor who can offer guidance and support. It can make all the difference in your professional development and can help you to achieve your goals more effectively.”
On how women should support other women in the world of business
“As women in business, we have a responsibility to support and uplift each other. We can do this by forming networks and mentorship programs that help women connect and learn from each other. We should also advocate for policies that promote gender equality and support women in leadership positions. Additionally, it’s important to celebrate the achievements of other women in the field and provide opportunities for them to showcase their work. By working together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive business environment for women.”
On how she maintains a healthy work / life balance
“Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is extremely important for overall well-being and productivity. To achieve this, I make sure to prioritize my time and set clear boundaries between work and personal life. I set specific working hours and try my best to stick to them, while also taking breaks throughout the day to recharge and clear my mind. Additionally, I make time for activities that I enjoy outside of work, such as exercise, spending time with family and friends, and pursuing hobbies. It’s important to remember that taking care of oneself is not a luxury, but a necessity for long-term success and happiness.”
On what is missing in today’s world, to support female entrepreneurs and professionals rise to success
“I believe that one of the biggest things missing in today’s world is access to equal opportunities and resources for female entrepreneurs and professionals. Despite progress in recent years, women still face many barriers in the business world, including limited access to funding, networking opportunities, and mentorship. This makes it much harder for women to build successful businesses and careers, particularly in male-dominated industries.
To support female entrepreneurs and professionals, we need to take a more proactive approach to creating equal opportunities and resources for women. This includes promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, providing targeted support and mentorship programs for women, and working to close the gender pay gap. We also need to continue advocating for policies that support working mothers, such as affordable childcare and flexible work arrangements.
Ultimately, achieving gender equality in the business world will require a collective effort from all of us. By working together to promote equal opportunities and support for women, we can help create a more equitable and successful future for all.”
On behalf of BDD’s community, we wish all women a Happy International Women’s Day!