Hi Loubna, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I know a thing or two about change.
I once woke up to the hot end of a rifle pressed into my forehead. I was ten years old. Sierra Leone was on the edge of civil war, and when there’s an impending battle at your doorstep, you’re likely to get some early, unwelcome visitors. My family and I managed to flee into the darkness of our nearby jungle that night – the life we had (along with my coveted teddy bear) were left behind.
Change can come suddenly. And other people’s conflicts and agendas rarely have concerns for what you hold dear.
And this was just my first civil war. The second was in Lebanon while attending school. Weird isn’t it that school happens while bombs detonate in the distant neighborhoods. Human beings are very adaptable. Which is a useful quality.
But often, we need to stop and question what it is we’re adapting to.
The act of daily survival can make us very resilient. We stop sweating the small stuff. Yet we get to appreciate the small gifts.
These were difficult times. But eventually, I made my way to Canada, against my family’s wishes. As a refugee. I got a second chance in life.
Change can be life changing. The pandemic has forever changed the way we perceive what we control and how we approach the meaning of work.
I ultimately earned a PhD in Organizational Leadership, I’ve spent over 20 years in corporate in the US, and now I consult executives outside of it. What I can’t help but notice is this:
There is a significant structural shift in the workplace. The old ways of working are gone. The workplace as we know it is no longer. The pandemic has changed our expectations about meaningful work and the flexibility we want to exercise in when, where, and how we do work.
You can only demand compliance from your people for so long. And retaliation comes in three different forms – 1) Escape- we see employees quit their organizations in search of a better one. 2)Clash – we observe silos in the workplace and competing priorities where some people develop and fight for their own agenda. 3)Hide – they do the minimum, pretend to be ok and stay out of trouble.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My first year of building my business was a difficult one. My business partner and lifelong friend was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Our dreams of building a thriving consulting and coaching resource center were shattered into a thousand pieces. Not only I had to continue building the business on my own, I needed to stay strong for my two girls. I masked my fear of the unknown behind tireless hours of building our dream. I mourned my dear friend’s slow and agonizing health journey by creating her legacy in my business and taking care of her only son, Danny. My resilience was challenged beyond my imagination, and yet, humans are so adaptable. I needed to reconnect to my sense of optimism. You know, it is the one trait that was found to be correlated to top salespeople in a Harvard study in 2019. Yet, here I was, feeling completely depleted from optimism – a value that I faithfully carried along throughout the years.
I look back today at that year and I cannot help but smile because I feel she is there with me to celebrate another successful year of growth. I have the best clients in the world and my faith has never been stronger.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I like to say that I am a leadership scholar, orphans advocate, civil war survivor, and co-founder of Mind Market Consultants, a resource and coaching centre for organizations and startups prioritizing cultures of brilliance over systems of unnecessary change and chaos.
Change is inevitable. And whether you create the consequences of change or inherit them, there’s a stark difference between leaders willing to address their shifting cultures vs. those living in denial that problems exist.
My work attests that thorough investigation reveals thorough yet simple solutions to major challenges. And that by truly respecting the talents within and around you, Potential will show its face.
My focus is on C-Level team coaching, specifically during change. We offer culture-shaping strategies, leadership development and executive coaching to help organizations thrive at times of continuous change.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
How much time do I have? This can go on for a long time.
My friend Janet was my rock. Together we designed the blueprint for Mind Market. While she is no longer with us, she is there present in my heart and soul. She was my biggest advocate to shift from serving corporations through internal roles and to elevate the conversations to C-level executives through an external yet more intentional role.
My team inspired me to do better each day. They cheered for my success and believed in my vision. I cannot think of a better team to work with.
During the pandemic, I joined a content writing group which morphed into a collaborative of women entrepreneurs that came together to support each other at a very unconventional time. As a result, an incredible journey of learning, support and business development was started. We connected in ways I could not imagine, and now we meet daily at 8:30am to design our daily commitment, solve problems and create new pathways for success. I cannot imagine riding this wave of change without their daily support. I encourage every reader to find their group and to create a powerful network of support. I highly encourage it.
My previous managers and colleagues continue to be my biggest supporters. They believed in my ability and trust me to help them solve complex, urgent and important leadership challenges they face in their organizations. I cannot thank them enough. A shout out to Ana P., Greg B., Ardy P., Thom Q, Noema P, Alf G., Mark L. I am where I am because of my amazing family who believe in me unconditionally.