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Dr. Nairouz Bader, CEO of Envision Partnership, is leading the organization with her visionary leadership. As a DEI Diversity and Gender Catalyst, she is passionate about gender parity. Set on a mission to disrupt every conventional norm that limits women from achieving the success they want, Dr. Nairouz is a rainmaker and has single-handedly led the organization to massive growth.
In an interview with PerceptivX, Dr. Nairouz Bader shares how Envision Partnership plans to shape a new future.
PerceptivX (P): Thank you for doing this with us, Dr. Nairouz. Could you tell us something about yourself and your brand?
Dr. Nairouz Bader (N): “Envision Partnership is the only female-led executive search and leadership advisory organization and the first one to be established in the region for over a decade. DEI (diversity and inclusion) is written into our DNA. We have proudly reached 50% female executive placements. We are the first executive search firm in the MENA region certified by the AESC and the only one certified by WeConnect International. The only Arab female that has been on the global board of AESC and MCH Global, the mother company of Art Basel. The only expert in the MENA region who has been certified as an Official Expert on International Human Resources by Switzerland Global Enterprise.
(P): Gender bias is the prime challenge the industry faces. How have you ensured that female employees don’t have to bear the brunt of it?
(N): “Like any other business, we faced many challenges, especially gender-bias ones. I have been told once that even though our offering is strong, we were not considered due to the fact that the board felt less confident assigning such an important project to a female-led organization! So, our strategy was to focus on our niche offerings of female executive search—a business by a female for females. We have put our value system into action. If a standard executive search project takes X number of hours to conclude, we do not settle and never stop until we have dug deep enough to find and identify the hidden, under-represented female talents. Over the years, we have built a strong, diverse, and rich talent pool where candidates trust us with their careers and come to us for advice. We have won the female executive’s trust; this is priceless.”
(P): How do you maintain a healthy relationship with your employees?
(N): “Essentially, I share my ideas, insights, knowledge, expertise, and skills to improve overall performance. It is essential that I make my expectations clear on a daily basis, check for understanding, and use every opportunity to inject passion, boost morale, coach, and guide my team members. I highly regard honest and ethical behavior and practice my value system in every action I take throughout the day. This could be from taking an interest in the well-being of the team members and their families, offering help when needed, and breaking barriers by having down-to-earth conversations. It’s true that smiles and jokes work wonders! Motivating others is another important aspect of leadership. To remain competitive, organizations of all sizes rely on both individuals and teams to add value beyond the basic functions of their jobs. In my opinion, the most important competencies that influential leaders share include a focused drive, emotional and cultural intelligence, trusted influence, conceptual thinking, systematic thinking, and most of all, being authentic. I greatly believe in genuine leadership”
(P): Do you think leading by example has an impact on the staff?
(N): “As leaders, we need to be seen and heard. The staff takes its cues from the leaders. I see time after time that when I share my view openly and when I practice my beliefs in front of them, I see how our staff adopt the same view. Every day we are modeling professional behaviors, responses, and attitudes. For example, if we demonstrate through our actions that the environment matters and that practicing daily habits from recycling to energy saving shows how important this subject is for us, it will be important for everyone. These are great thoughts that are tough to put into practice, but they make the difference between managing and leading.
To be able to inspire, arouse, excite, or motivate people as a leader, it is essential to show them who we are, what we stand for, and what we can and cannot do. It is extremely important to be passionate, transparent, and honest with our people and to share the “big picture,” to engage and discuss everything with them, to seek their opinion, and to persuade them to take action to reach common goals.”
(P): What, according to you, are the key requisites of a powerful conversation?
(N): “I keep asking myself. Can people trust you? Influence begins with trust. The trust of others is key to becoming a great leader. Before we can hope to engage in a powerful conversation with our people, we must learn to trust and be trusted. Powerful conversations only happen when the parties feel free to share their wants and needs and have confidence that those, they share them with will not misjudge or punish them. Trust is the key. Building trust (by planting the right seeds to grow professional trust) results in commitment, and loyalty arises for you and your organization. By nurturing this trust consistently, we reach “total” trust at both professional and personal levels, which is the ‘holy grail’ of a good leader.”
(P): How does Envision Partnership plan to empower women? What is your goal for the future?
(N): “As women gain more power and influence in the business world, they bring with them fresh ideas and innovation, adding a new approach to leadership and continuing to help with diversity and inclusion.
In the past, when we started our business, we used to look globally for leaders to bring to the Middle East. Nowadays, I am proud to mention that we can reverse this trend; more and more of our clients are valuing emerging market leadership styles, especially after COVID, as the routine survival kit of leadership in the region requires agility, quick decision-making, and leading in an extremely fast-paced and sometimes volatile market. All of these characteristics enable leaders to lead in the VUCA realities we now face. So global headquarters are impressed with the strength and diversity of leadership our candidates bring to the table.”