She is a dedicated entrepreneur who is at the helm of the family business started by her late father. Inspired by him, she has exemplified with her life how passion and dedication can help grow one’s business to greater heights. She has won various prestigious awards and recognitions, including being the first woman to join the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce in 2001. BTW speaks to Ms Mona Yousif Khalil Almoayyed, Managing Director, Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons B.S.C. to know more about her illustrious journey.
Tell us briefly about yourself: where you were born and raised, any special childhood memory?
I was born in Manama, Bahrain. Our house was on the same land as our office today. We lived a very simple happy life. We are seven children. I have many happy memories of my childhood. My mother was a perfect housewife. She cooked, stitched our clothes and took very good care of us. My father was busy with his work but at the same time loving and considerate. My happiest childhood memories was when my father took us to Lebanon on holiday in 1957 and it was my first trip abroad.
What has been your educational and professional background?
I went to government school in Bahrain. In those days there was no private school. All children went free to government school. This for me was a big advantage because we mixed with different Bahrainis from all classes and sects. I still have my close friends from school. After I completed my secondary school my father insisted that I finish my education in England because there were no universities in Bahrain in those days. Again I was lucky to go on my own to boarding school in England because I made many new friends from different nationalities. I studied Business Administration and graduated in 1974.
When and how did you decide to choose business for a profession?
I was greatly influenced by my father in choosing business. As a young girl, I used to enjoy listening to stories about my father’s travels and interesting business deals. My father’s personality was dynamic and sociable. I am happy to follow his footsteps and now I enjoy working for the family business.
A senior business magnet, a wife and a mother. Please share with us how you so successfully balance all these roles.
It was very difficult when my four children were young. I had to see my priority day by day. I never missed teacher’s meetings and attended all doctor’s appointments. I have to admit that I put my family first and catch up with work a later time. I was lucky to work for the family because both my father and brother were understanding and cooperative with me. Now with the children grown up, I have to manage my social duties and my work which can be time consuming. We women have to learn to strike a balance between family and work.
What have been some challenges in your life and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge in business is trying to compete with men. I had to work hard to gain the confidence of the customers and employees at the automobile division. In business there are many obstacles and losses, it is not a smooth ride all the way. Often you need to be hard and close a business division when it is losing money.
What according to you are the ways in which technology has enhanced life, and in what ways has it degraded the quality of life?
I believe that technology in general is beneficial to business. I remember when I was young the only means of connection was writing letters. I remember my father used to wait a few weeks for the answer. Today you can connect within seconds to any part of the world, We are in a faster era than my father`s time.
The only disadvantage with technology is you take your work home and often you spend quality time with you family on the emails answering business. It is difficult to draw the line.
How can an individual contribute to society beyond his professional work?
An individual can contribute to society by joining and helping the NGOs (Non-governmental Organization). At our Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons we have an active corporate social responsibilities department. We spend a percentage of our profit every year for charity. We built many projects such as the Mohammed Almoayyed Drug Unit in Salmaniya in 1987 and Yousuf Almoayyed Nephrology and Renal transplant Centre in 1997.
Any memorable moment in your life that you would like to share with us?
The most memorable moment in my life was when I became the First Bahraini Women in the Chamber of Commerce in 2001.
What do you aim to accomplish in the next 5 years?
I aim to grow the business YKA regionally in all the GCC countries.
What is your message to the youth of Bahrain?
To work hard and never give up if they fail because I believe failure makes us strong and successful.