If you think you do too much, think again!
Nouriya Al Sager has many titles attached to her name, from member on the Board of Directors at Andalus Trading, to a wife, doting mother of three and a student, perhaps the one title that suits her better than the rest is Super Woman.
For all of us who struggle with too many priorities, busy schedules and the constant worry of “there isn’t enough time to do everything,” Nouriya is the standing proof, that a human being has way more capacity than they imagine.
Drive and Will are two adjectives that would describe Nouriya perfectly. From a woman who is at the helm of running things at Andalus Trading, a consumer electronics company well known for being the franchise owner for Samsung in Kuwait, to being a doting mother to three kids, all of whom are under the age of five, at 28 Nouriya has achieved more than what most of us even dream of in an entire lifetime.
“Ever since I was a kid, I have been in the habit of looking for new challenges. Be it academics or extracurricular, I made sure I was doing a lot of things. I think it is just the way I am made, a part of my DNA I suppose,” said Nouriya while talking about her childhood. From track and field to Model United Nations and Student Clubs, Nouriya seemed to have covered all grounds at Bayan Bilingual School, her alma mater. However, one of the highlights of her childhood was being a show jumper.
Nouriya started competitive show-jumping at the age of nine, a time when most of us are worrying about who it is in class that we will be sitting with. A hobby, that turned into passion, Nouriya continued to jump show horses until the age of 17. “What I loved about show jumping was its competitive nature. What attracted me to it was how structured it is as a sport. In all the time that I participated, I never went into a challenge unprepared. There were regular ground classes and jumping classes, and practices. I think a big part of who I am today, comes from this childhood hobby, that imbibed in me a sort of discipline, that helps even today in managing all the things that I do.”
After school, Nouriya went on to pursue her degree in Finance and International Business at the American University of Paris. “I was never classroom material. In university, I would constantly look at my watch, wondering when I could go out in the world again. I kept up my grades of course, but I think I am a seeker of practical knowledge. I think it was a time when I realized that life is bigger than the grades and certificates that we accumulate.”
Post University Nouriya started her internship with LOYAC and then finally ended up at her family owned business. “The opportunities within Andalus were immense and I wanted to be involved. I still remember my first project here was to create a competitive market report. From not knowing what exactly a procurement department does, to running the day to day business at Andalus, I think I have grown in the last couple of years. The learning curve has no doubt been steep, but then I guess that’s what has kept me going,” reminisced Nouriya.
While Nouriya was playing catch-up in her professional life, marriage, kids and domestic duties were catching up on her as well. “My kids, well they make sure I am entertained endlessly. I think I have been lucky, privileged even, that I have had a family who has always had my back, everything that I do is because there is a big support system behind me, my family, my spouse, my kids, they push me to do better, be better, constantly.”
One would think, her race to success would slow down once she became a mother, but to the contrary, it made Nouriya strive even harder professionally. “I want to be a role model to my kids. To show them that education and hard work are very important in life. I don’t just want to tell them about it, I want them to see it for themselves and I can’t do that if I am lackadaisical about my work. My kids don’t limit me, they are my catalysts,” said Nouriya.
As if she wasn’t already busy enough, Nouriya is also currently pursuing her masters from HEC in Strategic Business Management. “It was a brave decision and one that I am glad I made.” An executive MBA that requires her to spend a week every month on campus either in France or in Qatar. “I don’t just learn about business; I practice those lessons every day. So I might learn something about employee empowerment in class on a Saturday, and on Wednesday in office I would be deriving a strategy based on that lesson,” added Nouriya on why she loves the course so much.
When asked what she does to relax, to turn off and just enjoy herself, she adds, almost laughing, “I don’t need to turn off, I enjoy all this. The work in office, my kids at home, family commitments, these are the things in life that keep me challenged, make me laugh, give me a sense of fulfillment. Why would I need a break from the things I love?”
She says her biggest compliment is seeing her family pleased. In everything she does, that is what she strives for. “How I treat my employees, to how I interact with my clients, I always keep my family at the back of my mind. I do not want to treat someone in a way they would disapprove of.”
On a parting note, Nouriya says, “my life is full of privilege and opportunities, but at the same time, I also carry a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. When I started out I didn’t think I would get here one day, all I knew was hard work would pay off, one way or another, and it has.”
Nouriya epitomizes the spirit of womanhood, while she wears many hats in her daily life, if you look closely enough, there is also a super woman cape, that is keeping her flying.