She’s Mercedes is a platform that honors the story of Bertha Benz, who was the “driving” force behind the Mercedes brand. Not only was she Karl Benz’s wife and the mother of his children, she was also his first investor. In addition to being the first person to validate his car concept, by undertaking the first long distance car ride. It was Bertha’s “drive” and courage that paved the way for her husband and the Mercedes-Benz success story and today she continues to inspire people through the She’s Mercedes movement.
It was an honor to be among one of the 30 women invited to the FIRST ever She’s Mercedes networking event in the region hosted on November 7th at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel in Abu Dhabi by Mercedes Benz and Emirates Motor Company. The aim of this exclusive networking event was to build an Inspirational Circle; a place where women could connect with one another other, share their business stories and inspire each other on their respective journeys to self-fulfillment.
The She’s Mercedes event was MCed by public speaker and digital influencer, Shereen Mitwalli, who guided us through the inspirational stories of Sara Al Madani, Sarah Abudawood and Mariam Yehia. Through the evening, these three UAE-based fashion designers shared with the female audience their failures, successes, stories, and most importantly, their hard-earned lessons on how to build a brand, finance a business and stand out in a saturated fashion ecosystem.
After sharing their stories and designs, each guest speaker sat in one of the three “Inspirational Circles” in the room and rotated, so they could continue sharing their professional and personal wisdom with all the guests in attendance. These mini-networking sessions were truly special to me, because they allowed all the women in the room, who were from all walks of life, to connect and learn from each other in a safe space.
Thank you Mercedes Benz and Emirates Motor Company for creating this platform to celebrate Bertha Benz’s tenacity and entrepreneurial vision and empower a new generation of women in the MENA region, like me, to be the “drivers” of success in the future. I look forward to attending many more events soon! Now, it’s time that you learned more about the She’s Mercedes guest speakers:
Sara Al Madani ~ Founder of Rouge Couture
Emirati fashion designer Sara Al Madani is the definition of hardworking. Not only does she run her own innovative abaya fashion empire, Rouge Couture, she is also the youngest
member of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a partner in a restaurant, a brand ambassador for Beiersdorf and Natura Blisse and a mom! This American University of Sharjah graduate in Film Directing and Mass Communication is a dynamic woman and social influencer who is not afraid to speak her mind and is always willing to share her knowledge with her peers. Especially her fellow countrymen and women.
My favorite quote from the Abayanista herself:
If you have a “car accident” you don’t stop driving, so why should it be any different for a business?
The Abayista’s three pieces of advice for the audience
- Be kind to each other
- Don’t be afraid to fail
- Don’t look for empowerment look for inspiration. [Al Madani believes that women are already powerful, she just feels they need to work together and be inspired by each other’s successes]
Sara Abu Dawood~ Founder of Yataghan Jewellery
Saudi designer Sara Abu Dawood is an inspiration for anyone who wants to fight to pursue their dreams. In fact, she called her jewellery brand Yataghan, which means sword in Turkish, because she feels it denotes fighting for what you believe in. As a GCC woman, she often feels that women from the region are marginalized and pressured to conform to a certain stereotype. But this is not true for this woman! Not only does Abu Dawood have a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from Arizona State University, she also has a master’s degree in Business Administration and International Marketing from the American University of London and she is an internationally certified gemologist!
My favorite quote from the Sultana of Jewellery herself:
My biggest secret for success is that I never take being a part of people’s special moments [through my jewellery] for granted.
The Sultana of Jewellery’s three pieces of advice for the audience
- Find inspiration that truly inspires you.
- Find something that makes you want to get up in the morning and work passionately every day.
- Know who you are and what your product will be.
Mariam Yehia ~ Founder of Mrs. Keepa
Egyptian-French fashion designer Mariam Yehia is a true global citizen. Raised in Egypt, she was educated in a French school and received a bachelor’s degree in Advertising, Marketing and PR from the American University of Cairo. She eventually moved to Dubai to work in digital marketing and brand development, where she headed prestigious projects, such as the Emaar Malls Group Project for several years. In 2015, Yehia decided to leave the corporate world and start her own fashion brand called Mrs Keepa, a nickname given to her by her husband’s friends, who referred to him as Keepa. Since he played the position of goal keeper in his football team.
My favorite quote from Mrs Keepa herself:
Don’t do something to make people happy, do something that you believe and don’t wait for an applause.
Mrs Keepa’s three pieces of advice for the audience
- Be kind.
- Don’t focus on your competition, because it will consume you.
- Believe in yourself.
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