International Women’s Day – Maha Shafik, Associate Director, Allergan Middle East Ltd

Author Oumama Syassi
March 11, 2018

Present Progress

Of the people that inspire you, what character traits do they have which you admire?

Transparency, empowering team, courageous & excellence focused.

If I were to ask people in your workplace for three adjectives that best describe you, what would they say?

Inspirational, open/authentic & influential.

How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

I always look for positive things out of any situation no matter how difficult it may be.  I never take things personally at work & I try to always remind myself that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to. I remind myself of my career journey and where I am now compared to where I started and focus on how far I intend to reach.

If you were to be a mentor to someone within your profession, what one piece of advice would you give?

Be yourself, Respect others and have your own identity. You can change anything and everything to be better. Stay close to positive individuals, listen to good advice and avoid the negativity no matter how down you feel.

What is your personal mantra?

There is no wrong decision.

Future Progress

How is gender parity being achieved in your profession and what do you think needs to be done to press for progress?

In my field and industry I see HR is dominated by women, yet commercial roles are dominated by men. I think some simple early steps can help with the gender balance in the workplace. HR leaders in partnership with business leaders need to press for progress in building a pipeline of young varied talent and capabilities towards a change in the status quo. Look for men interested in HR and for women who have the willingness to excel in commercial roles and invest in building their capabilities.

What would you say the top 3 skills are needed in order to be successful in your industry?

To have a Strategic Foresight in a dynamic industry and environment where you have to think ahead and anticipate change and capitalize on opportunities while remaining agile and fluid. I think this is a crucial skill to stand out in today’s competitive market. Equal to the strategic foresight is how Inspirational you are as a leader in your role to your team and colleagues, articulating a vision for future and inspiring people to take actions to reach new heights. Third skill I see is Authenticity and how emotionally intelligent you can be to magnify the diversity of people who are driving your business to stand out.

What kind of legacy do you wish to leave behind?

I wish to leave an impactful legacy of unique strong leaders who are courageous, challengers of the status quo & strong believers in their own successes. Someone to remember me and say “Because of you I did not give up”.

At the recent Golden Globes, Oprah delivered a moving speech which led to people talking about her running for president. If you had the choice to recommend a leader, who would it be and why?

Azza Fahmy, a jewellery icon whom I see a leader in what she does, she was able to build her own identity at a time where the jewellery industry in Egypt is dominated by men, this did not stop her. She believed in herself, she followed her passion, transformed the dream to reality and is now one of the most successful luxurious brands which is recognised not only in Egypt but internationally. In my opinion, a fantastic role model for leadership & success.