Areej Mohsin Darwish – A True Example of Women Power
- Can you brief us about your journey and your venture?
My professional journey spans over 2 decades & it has been an enriching one. Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC, is a privately-owned business house in Oman; the foundation of which was laid by my father Late Mohsin Haider Darwish. MHD LLC prides itself to be associated with world renowned brands Jaguar, Land Rover, McLaren, Ford, MG, Michelin, Huawei, Dell and KDK to name a few. He was a visionary and the company grew leaps and bounds & witnessed phenomenal progress under his professional management
I grew up in a business family & whilst growing up I have seen my father persevere to grow the company. I had a very keen interest in Information Technology and graduated from Sultan Qaboos University in Computer Science & joined the country’s leading Oil & gas firm Petroleum Development Oman wherein I honed my skills as a programmer.
I joined the family business in 1994 to oversee the internal audit and computer systems division & Automotive division.
I grew the corporate ladder at MHD LLC steadily as inheriting a business is one thing but what we need to understand is that in reality we need to earn it through commitment and contribution. Businesses thrive because of value added by each employee and the company as a whole. This is something that I have learnt & my father was firm about it too. I scaled the corporate ladder by learning about business operations minutely, being involved in business processes & more importantly tackling challenges. Gradually, my father promoted me until I reached the point where he believed I was capable enough to take over. He challenged me every single day and I like being challenged as it was all about growing and challenging myself to become the best version of myself.
As the Chairperson of MHD ACERE, my aim is to keep our family legacy on the path of growth and success. As a business, we are always on the learning curve and continuously move up & take advantage of new trade opportunities, technologies and consumer demands. I have been successful in providing strategic direction to the cluster and guided it to a leadership position.
Focusing on the future & the road ahead are my priorities & I am focused on setting an effective vision and direction for the organization.
I am constantly striving to motivate my employees so that they work collectively as a group towards a common goal. Being positive & having an open mindset is the key to sustainable growth – as a leader, and I am open to learning from different experiences at all given times
- What personal sacrifices have you made throughout your career?
Life is all about choices & it is the choices we make which define our professional and personal progression. Being clear about what we really want and what we are prepared to do to achieve your goals is the key. For me, I believe in balancing our roles and it’s essential to have the right balance and prioritize the responsibilities. This helps us in making informed choices and make conscious decisions. During the course of my career, I have always believed in setting the balance right & according due priority where its due. This has helped me find balance and contentment and achieve my goals.
- Could you name a woman who’s inspired you the most and how
The woman who has inspired me the most is my mother. She supported and encouraged me to pursue my dreams and stay focused. She was at my side at every stage of my life. Her qualities of kindness, compassion, resilience and patience are qualities which have really helped me to grow into the individual I am today. She taught me to be independent and guided me at all times. She always said that life is a challenge and hard times can be overcome. Seeing her being actively involved in business as well as nurturing a family was inspiring as it gave me the confidence to balance work and family.
- How did you go about launching your business and how was the experience?
Being part of a family business, I have always had a passion for business and being an entrepreneur. In today’s competitive market, I wanted to introduce a product which was different and catered to everyone alike. I launched 2 business ventures simultaneously which though different, could be complemented with each other. One was Blessing chocolate which caters to exotic and delicious chocolates of different flavours, customized chocolate arrangements to suit customer preferences. The other venture which I launched was First Impression, a unique product which creates everlasting memories in 2D & 3D molds. The experience of launching both these ventures was exhilarating. We took a lot time to plan and execute the launch to the minutest detail and it was a rewarding and learning experience as it entailed a detailed business plan from start to the launch.
- What’s the best work-related advice you have ever received
I have been involved in the family business for over 2 decades. Being involved in the business operations, I received a lot of guidance and mentorship from my father as well as constructive feedback which inspired and helped me to grow and excel in my career.
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The best work-related advice I received was, in order to be a successful leader, we need to be a team player. The collaborative effort of a team to work towards a common goal is vital to achieve the objectives of an organization. The second piece of advice which I follow is ‘Get out of our comfort zone’. As a leader, we should always be open to trying out new things. In order to make changes and grow as a person and leader, we have to explore innovative ventures and tread on a different path; we have to challenge ourselves.
- What energises you about work?
Work itself energises me. Creating value that has an impact thrusts me ahead to look further. I look forward to each working day as no two days are the same; each day brings something new and different; that energises me. The new challenges, new ventures, the brainstorming, business plans, finding innovative ways of approaching a problem or helping the team solve an issue, learning something new every day, the feeling of leading a team to success and the success my family business achieves are things which motivate me to work with determination.
- How do you manage self-doubt?
Each time we face our fears, we are step ahead towards gaining confidence and strength. Since childhood, my parents always encouraged me to reach for the stars. As an individual, we face circumstances / instances which often makes us ponder or question ourselves. Doubts and setbacks are part of everyone’s journey. We need to remember that as humans we can falter but its these instances which make us learn and grow. I also believe that the present moment is a new opportunity & we need take advantage of that without dwelling in the past. I am an optimistic person & my positive mindset allows me to be more confident in what I do. It also helps me when I see how far I have come, what I have achieved and how I have succeeded and grown over the years. What also helps me is my family; they are a wonderful support system – always encouraging and motivating me.
- What advice would you give to the young women entrepreneurs?
Running a business or being an entrepreneur is not an easy task. It’s a multifaceted process which involves many steps from finding a business idea to creating a business plan. My advice to the young entrepreneurs would be to always have a strong determination to go further in their career and push boundaries. They need to be meticulous, focused and take advantage of the opportunity that comes their way.
An entrepreneur has to tackle challenges from time to time but it is our ability and willingness to face these challenges with confidence that will determine the outcome of our experience. They need to work to their strengths, always keep learning. They need to constantly monitor their objectives, review their successes and failures. They need to think strategically, constantly innovate as that will differentiate them. Dream big, Do big, don’t lose sight of your goals and success will be yours.