We speak to Rania Masri El Khatib, one of the most prominent players in the Middle East's retail industry and a keen advocate committed to the cause of furthering the agenda of women in the workplace
At 40, Rania Masri El Khatib reached the top of the corporate ladder. With 20 years of experience under her belt, she rose through the ranks in Dubai's dynamic retail landscape, serving as Chief Transformation Officer at Chalhoub Group and establishing homegrown luxury concept store, Level Shoes. And despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, she took the brand to new heights, playing a vital role in directing the evolution of the region's retail sector.
But for Rania, personal growth held equal significance, which is why, in 2021, she decided to take a step back from her career and use her sabbatical year to carve space for authentic innovation and intergenerational disruption that furthered the agenda of women in the workplace.
"I took a pause in order to take a step forward!"
"I believe at every point in one's life, it is key to stop to reflect and to assess your journey. For me, 2021 was a pivotal year for my personal evolution and professional growth," said Rania.
An advocate for the pursuit of personal fulfilment over traditional success, Rania uses her platforms to present a well-rounded approach to the facets of daily life. Collaborating with experts from around the world, she addresses topics such as career development, retail innovation and industry transformation alongside wellbeing, motherhood and spirituality to spur honest conversations that can support the empowerment of women in the region and beyond.
"Wellness and mental health, when nurtured, lead to positive all-round results for people and for organisations. A sane mind, a healthy body leads to a happier life. Nobody wants to work with or employ unhappy people at the end of the day, do they? The more awareness we create around these topics, the more society will prioritise the need to keep it all balanced for a better outcome for humanity as a whole. Happier people will drive higher productivity; fast paced doesn't always lead to productivity. Working efficiently and in a balanced manner can have long term better results for all. It's a question of unlearning old habits and building new ways for our future generations."
Speaking about her sabbatical year, Rania feels thankful for having had the chance to slow down in a fast-paced city like Dubai, and yet has immense appreciation for the many opportunities the city has presented her.
"I love the positive opportunities life in Dubai gives me both on a personal and a professional level. I always feel that nothing is impossible here and I have been feeling that way for the 20 years I have lived in the UAE. The overall sentiment impacts each and every one of us; when the vision of the nation and its leadership brings such ambition to the forefront, it trickles down to its people, too."