Soulaima Gourani holds a master of business administration from the Copenhagen Business School, where she taught Supply Chain Management. She has lived abroad for a number of years, is half Danish, half Moroccan, and has studied at Stanford, Havard, Berkeley, and the Beijing University.
She is CEO of the companies Tradeconductor and CapitalAID and is working as a public speaker, trainer and coach. In 2014 she was voted top 40 under 40′ European Young Leaders by EuropaNova and Friends of Europe. She is known as one of Denmark’s business women with the most potential.
My Definition Of Success | To me success is about doing what I love to do and to have an impact on the world. It is about achieving my goals and plans and the feeling victorious. Its not a feeling I have all the time. It is there for moments. But mostly its “just” hard work” feeling I have. The feeling of success is a feeling I get as I do something I have dreamt of for a very long time and worked so hard to get. It did change – from being about me its more about us now.
I Am Driven By | Meaning!
If I can´t see the big “WHY” I can´t do it. And it drives me to help others to achieve their goals. I like to connect people and to scale impact.
It drives me to build great innovative disruptive companies and to inspire and empower others.
My Highlights | My Husband – he has been my perfect partner, friend and lover for over 20 years. He is my angel. Without him I find it difficult to think I could have done, what I have done.
My Kids (2007 and 2009). I was sure that it would kill my career to have kids but it turned out they gave me so much I can use in my professional career.
My MBA – I had to fight a lot to find the money for my MBA. I spend all my savings and it was a great dream that came true. I was never really that good at school, so to me an MBA was an accomplishment.
Where I am from no one I knew had ever had an MBA.
Since my graduation I have been to several universities Stanford, Berkely, ISB (india), INCAE (Costa Rica), YALE and Harvard.
Being Fired – In 2007 as I was fired and pregnant – that was a critical moment for me. I could not get a new job since I was expecting a baby. I had to find a way to make money. That was the beginning of my company Tradeconductor.com and now capitalaid.com etc.
The Difference Between Good And Great | Great people expect failure, and can live with them. They turn them into lessons learned. Great people have discovered their purpose and dare to live it, allow them selves to be a beginner. No one starts off being great. They keep pushing their “limits”. They are pleased but never satisfied.
Hard working – My strength is hard work. I can work a lot, and I don’t give up. If something is difficult or don’t work I find a way to make it work.
Integrity – people can trust me and I have an inner personal compass so I don’t get “lost” in the world
Responsibility – If I say I deliver – I do deliver
Courage – I am not afraid
Relationship builder (good at networking)
My heart is my compass
I can underline that failed leaders lack:
- Lack self-awareness
- Inability to face reality and admit mistakes
- Lack courage to make transformational changes
- Lack compassion and empathy
- Lack passion for mission and values (of organization)
The Characteristics Of Success | If you want to become successful, you need to consider that your achievements must go hand in hand with your ability to collaborate, motivate, and communicate with other people. Indeed, it seems that many not-so-well-educated, self-made people do significantly better than expected and have achieved incredible success despite of an average IQ, difficult upbringing etc. While working on my book Take Control of Your Career, I realized that there is no connection whatsoever between how clever a person is and how successful he or she will become. After 10 years of work analyzing leaders and companies’ ability to build, nurture, and expand professional relationships, I have made the conclusion that EQ is MY most important skill – its more important than any other personality traits and that it exceeds IQ as the most relevant factor of one’s ability to achieve success in life as well as in business. Failed leaders lack EQ!
I don’t rush into things 😉
And I can’t please everyone – its just not possible.
Principles I Live By |
- Compassion (deep caring for others – especially people who cant/don’t dare to speak up),
- Empathy (It is easy for me to walk in other peoples shoes and from that, come together
- with that person). I can work with all kind of people.
- Courage – again
– And my health is my most valuable asset
Critical Skills I Develop | I have to keep pushing myself. Aim higher, do more. To spend enough time with people who inspire me. Keep investing in my learning.
Not to be stuck in my own comfort-zone.
How I Use My Mind | I know the magic of thinking big. My mind has no limits. Everything is possible. That’s how my mind works. I know how to stretch my mind. And to see a good side in every situation and I use goals to help me to grow.
Lessons I Have Learnt | I am stronger then I think. I have had so many setbacks – but I have always managed to get over them/manage them. People have my back. I have experienced to be in deep trouble/need, and if I let people help me they will.
I dot have to everything myself. I thought for many years this was me – against everyone else but it is not.
I also learned that happiness is not based on external status, it is an internal state. Regardless how many prizes and rewards I get, my true happiness comes as I am with my family. I travel a lot, and I have been looking for happiness out-there. But its not out-there it inside yourself. I have lost most of my family such as sister, father, grand parents etc. It taught me that I have to be grateful for this moment, it is all there is. Its not always easy for me since I am always on the go – on my way to the next “big” thing – travel, lecture, gala- dinner, keynote presentation, next book, next article etc. This has been the biggest lesson for me – to relax and trust life! As I was younger I rushed
Now I am almost 40 years old and I can no longer rush full-speed ahead towards anything! I need to be selective and spend my energy and time more wisely.
Dealing With Doubt | Yes, I wrote a book on it 2 years ago “Courage to Succeed “ (its only in Danish – sorry). I wrote that book to share with people how I cope with lack of courage, failures and setbacks. I have done SO many mistakes that I have written books on it. I love making failures and share them with my readers. It’s a way to heal and to learn from them. Why hide them? You learn more from mistakes then form success. As long as my husband and kids loves me I will be ok.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | I would rather say questions than advice – my mentor gave me these questions back in 2002 –
1) What is the purpose of your life and leadership?
2) How will you take your leadership to the next level?
3) How will you sustain your leadership by continuing your development?
These questions have followed me ever since and I make sure I can answer them! The answers might change over time, as they have done, but they are my compass.
Advice On Building Wealth | Money is just a tool! Its good to be clear how much money you need to do what you want to do. Money alone will take you nowhere. Its cant make you happy or bring you, your love of your life. But they can give you freedom and security. That’s all good.
Anyway – find a system for making money. Spend time with people who knows how to make money. Learn from them. Don’t sell your time (its very difficult to become rich via selling your time and you can burn out, be sick etc.). Find a product or a service you can scale.
The internet gives you great opportunities. And get rid of the mental barriers stopping you from making money!
On Inspiring Others | It is all about people liking you, them wanting to spend time with you. Bring love, peace and be a great friend. People love nice people.
I Am Inspired By | So many! I am surrounded by great and amazing people from all over the world.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I like to imagine I am 97 years old and being 2 hours from death, all family members come in, and my granddaughter will say “Soulaima Gourani did a great difference in this world, without her we would not have this peaceful world as we have today.” That would be the most amazing legacy.