Inspirational Woman: Hira Ali | Founder & Director, Advancing Your Potential & Career Excel

Hira AliI am the Founder Director at Advancing Your Potential & Career Excel.

I am also an author, avid blogger & podcaster, career coach & mentor and leadership trainer besides being a wife and mom. I am currently based in London. Prior to my move to London, I was in Dubai for seven years. I am originally from Pakistan and lived there until I moved out ten years back.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not really, at least not the one I am currently pursuing! I had never imagined becoming a business woman who would be running her own companies in different parts of the world!

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes, I’d say quite a few. I believe being a mom makes your career challenging anyway but if you throw in two moves to that as well, than the challenges seem to multiply fourfold. I had to start my business from scratch twice in two very different continents.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I recently published a book Her Way To The Top-the glass ceiling is thicker than it looks, which has received outstanding reviews from world renowned authors and global influencers such as Valerie Young, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, Dr. Lois P.Frankel, Ziauddin Yousafzai (Malala’s father) Dr. Yvonne Thompson, Carole Stone, Chiara Condi and many more.

Could you tell us more about the book?

In my book, I will be examining core internal and external challenges holding women back as revealed by survey responses from 300 women across the globe. I will also be sharing anecdotes from real women who faced these challenges, along with strategies to overcome them. Most of the female survey respondents have related internal challenges. Social conditioning has given birth to FOMO and Impostor Syndrome. That fear and self-doubt makes us expend inordinate amounts of effort towards achieving perfection while ensuring no task falls through the cracks. This, in turn, leads to time poverty, stress and exhaustion.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Believing in myself and mustering the courage to step up and ask for opportunities even when I am afraid and unsure.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I strongly advocate mentoring and have personally benefitted from it immensely. I have been mentoring quite a few people through NHS, Mentor2mentees, Cherie Blair Foundation and ACP (American Corporate Partners) where I am a registered coach and mentor.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

Improve the infrastructure and support system for working moms and dads through introduction of flexi timing, job share, work from home options and on site crèche facilities in ALL organisations. And while this may be ambitious, it’s not impossible.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Party hard when you still have the energy because the inclination to stay in even on weekends grows as you will age!

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Write another book and take my new venture IWEE-International Women Economic Empowerment (which seeks to empower Asian women) on a global level. Through this initiative as well as Career Excel- an online women leadership program that aims to make women fearless at work and in life, my team and I hope to train and coach one million women across the globe by 2025.

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