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7 Questions on Leadership with Nancy Alhyari


Name: Nancy Alhyari


Title: Founder or Thrive Thru Coaching & CFO at Bella & Bella Productions


Organisation: Thrive Thru Coaching LLC, Bella & Bella Productions LLC


Nancy Alhyari is a transformative leader, founder of Thrive Thru Coaching LLC, CFO of Bella & Bella Productions, and an influential Board Member of the ICF Jordan Chapter. With a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and advancing towards an M.Sc. in Psychology, she skillfully merges technical expertise with profound interpersonal insights.


Nancy's passion lies in elevating individuals and organizations, championing women in business, and fostering an empowering environment. This is evident in her multifaceted roles, seamlessly integrating her passion into each. As CFO at Bella & Bella Productions, Nancy is at the forefront of empowering women entrepreneurs to become the next generation of leaders, innovators, and visionaries. As a strategic leader at ICF Jordan, Nancy steers decisions and fosters partnerships in Jordan to enhance coaching standards, spread awareness, and empower transformation. As the founder of Thrive Thru Coaching, Nancy fosters environments that nurture potential and encourage innovation. Her dedication extends to education, where her impact in Abu Dhabi's public schools reflects her vision of developing a coaching culture to improve academic and personal growth.


Nancy exemplifies the ethos of "lead by example," driving meaningful change, and setting a standard for integrity, compassion, and relentless pursuit of growth. Her vision is clear: to ignite genuine change and enable thriving futures for all those she mentors and coaches.


Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!


I hope Nancy's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Cheers,

Jonno White



1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?


Leading a seasoned team within Abu Dhabi's public schools stands as the most challenging yet rewarding endeavor of my leadership journey. The early pushback owing to age and experience inequalities posed a significant barrier. I embraced a leadership approach centered on empathy, active listening, and a shared vision for success. By consistently demonstrating commitment and respect for the team's experience while introducing fresh perspectives and providing persistent support, I gradually shifted the team dynamics from skepticism to trust. This transformation not only led to improved collective performance but also recognition of the team's skills and talents, marking a significant milestone in our collaborative journey. This experience taught me the value of adaptive leadership as well as the significance of empathy and a clear vision when leading teams.


2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?


My path to leadership began when I was a student at the university studying Electrical Engineering, a field largely dominated by men. Recognizing the disparity, I actively sought to create a more equitable and inclusive environment. I initiated and managed a monthly magazine (for women and by women) and, on many occasions, successfully petitioned management to afford female students the same opportunities as their male counterparts. I also encouraged female student involvement in elections to elevate their voices. These experiences laid the foundational cornerstone of my leadership philosophy in professional contexts, which is centered on advocacy, inclusivity, empowerment, and meaningful change.


3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?


My days aren't bound by a typical structure; they're a blend of productivity and pleasure in a rhythm that I like to call a ‘fun-work-fun-sleep’ cycle that starts and ends with a cup of coffee (don’t worry, the last one is decaf).


The first couple of hours begin with a protein-based breakfast and a bit of leisure—this could be anything from browsing social media to a morning walk. This 'fun' phase sets a positive tone and motivates me for the work ahead.


Following my morning routine, I transition into my professional responsibilities, which encompass a broad range of activities, from leading my team to strategizing for long-term success. The work phase is a 6-8-hour, particularly structured period of 2-hour segments with a 20-minute coffee/tea break. This segmentation helps me maintain focus and energy. Tuesdays are my ‘Admin Days’. I often listen to music on these days to make otherwise routine tasks enjoyable.


To effectively manage the different demands of my roles, I typically create a list distinguishing between primary and secondary tasks. Organizing my workday around these lists helps me maintain focus on high-priority tasks while ensuring that secondary tasks are addressed on time.


When work is over, I return to my own pursuits, which may include socializing, reading, completing courses, or studying for my master's degree, which I absolutely love.

Finally, as the day concludes, I wind down, check my lists to set tomorrow’s intentions, and prepare for sleep.


I have crafted this fun-work-fun-sleep cycle, to design my day into phases or periods rather than being time-bound. This allows me to maintain balance and keeps me motivated and adaptive while still enjoying my day and connecting with people.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?


While answering the previous question, I’m reminded of the importance of adaptability and continuous learning. Working in different sectors, I have seen how fast paced and unpredictable the environment can be. The ability to rapidly adapt strategies, derive insights from changes, and foster team collaboration has proven to be of great value in various situations, such as navigating the transition to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic or guiding a team through a complex project. This reinforced my belief that successful leadership requires a flexible mindset and a commitment to continuing development.


5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?


Two books have significantly shaped my leadership style: 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' by Stephen Covey and 'The Wheel of Time' series by Robert Jordan. Covey's book introduced me to the concept of proactive leadership and the importance of beginning with the end in mind. It taught me to prioritize what truly matters, both professionally and personally, and to seek win-win situations in all interactions. This book has been a guide in shaping a principled approach to leadership, emphasizing personal and interpersonal effectiveness.


Meanwhile, 'The Wheel of Time,' while a fantasy series, offered me unique insights into leadership through its complex characters and their journeys. It highlighted the nuances of decision-making, the burdens of leadership, and the importance of resilience and adaptability. The series, rich with themes of destiny, responsibility, and ethics, broadened my perspective on how leaders can influence and inspire those around them, even in the face of unpredictable challenges. Together, these books have provided a balance of practical leadership strategies and a deeper understanding of the human elements in leadership roles.


6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?


My most important piece of advice for a young leader is to embrace and cultivate authenticity. Being authentic in the multifaceted domain of leadership means staying true to our values, beliefs, and vision, even when faced with challenges and opposition.


Authenticity builds trust and respect among members of our team and peers, laying the groundwork for real connections and successful leadership. It enables us to lead with integrity, make decisions that are aligned with our true selves, and inspire others by example.


Authentic leaders possess the capacity to recognize their own strengths and limitations, exhibit a willingness to learn and grow, and lead others with sincerity and purpose. So, being authentic is our most valuable asset as leaders and the most lasting legacy we can leave behind. Henna Inam beautifully expresses this expansive impact and transformative potential of authentic leadership through the following quote:


“Authentic leaders inspire us to engage with each other in powerful dreams that make the impossible possible. We are called on to persevere despite failure and pursue a purpose beyond the paycheck. This is at the core of innovation. It requires aligning the dreams of each individual to the broader dream of the organization.” ― Henna Inam, Wired for Authenticity: Seven Practices to Inspire, Adapt, & Lead.


7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?


One of the most meaningful experiences in my leadership journey was coaching and mentoring a peer who was striving for career advancement. This individual was exceptionally dedicated and talented but faced challenges in navigating the complex dynamics and expectations of our organization. In their ambitions and challenges, I saw a mirror of my earlier self. Over several months, we worked closely together, focusing on developing key skills, enhancing their visibility in the organization, and strategizing ways to showcase their accomplishments and potential.


I shared insights from my own experiences, provided feedback on their initiatives, and encouraged them when setbacks occurred. As we progressed, I witnessed a remarkable transformation in their confidence and capabilities. The culmination of our collaborative efforts was a proud moment for both of us when they were recognized and promoted. It affirmed my belief in the power of lifting others as we climb and the joy found in contributing to someone else's growth and success. This was a shifting experience for me, as it was when I recognized my passion for coaching and upskilling others to accomplish their desires.

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