Wardah Harharah

From The Skies
To The Boardroom:
A Journey of
and Empowerment

Whenever I travel, I reminisce of the times when I was a cabin crew, at the very early days of my career.

Each twist and turn of my journey holds stories of self-discovery, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of breaking stereotypes. Transitioning from the dynamic, fast-paced world of aviation to the high-stakes arena of global business leadership across tech and luxury retail giants has been nothing short of extraordinary. This path from a cabin crew member to a global senior executive has tested my resolve and pushed me to redefine my limits.

The transition demanded a level of resilience and adaptability I never could have anticipated. Navigating the complexities of corporate hierarchies, cultural nuances, and gender biases has been a constant uphill battle. Each step forward has met obstacles that seemed insurmountable at times. From facing skepticism about my capabilities to confronting outdated perceptions of what a leader should look like, the journey has been fraught with moments of self-doubt and uncertainty.

Yet, amid the challenges and setbacks, there have been moments of triumph that made every struggle worthwhile. Each milestone achieved, whether securing a pivotal leadership role or driving meaningful change within an organization, has served as a testament to my resilience and determination. There were many moments of frustration, disappointment, and times when I questioned whether I had what it takes to succeed. But it’s precisely these challenges that have shaped me into the leader I am today.

As I reflect on my journey, I’m reminded that true growth often comes from navigating the most difficult paths. While the road from a cabin crew member to a global senior executive may have been fraught with challenges, these experiences have molded me into a resilient, determined leader, unafraid to shatter stereotypes at every turn.

Two decades have passed since I hung up my wings, yet I still encounter surprise reactions when recounting my journey. Transitioning from the skies to the boardroom isn’t a conventional route, especially for women in industries like aviation. Despite the increasing presence of women in various roles within the industry, representation at the senior executive level remains sparse.

But my story isn’t just about defying odds in aviation; it’s about challenging norms across industries. As I’ve experienced firsthand, being the lone woman in a boardroom is a scenario echoed by many female leaders worldwide. Leaving behind the perceived glamour of cabin crew life, I ventured into the realm of global business, specializing in crafting award-winning customer experiences. The foundation of discipline and work ethics, honed during my years as a cabin crew member with renowned airlines, laid the groundwork for my success.

Yet, my journey wasn’t without its hurdles. Despite my stellar track record and achievements within the aviation industry, I encountered resistance from my manager at Emirates Airlines when I wanted to pursue new career opportunities. The notion of being “not ready” struck a chord, prompting me to redefine readiness on my terms.

For those standing at the crossroads, grappling with self-doubt and uncertainty, my story serves as a beacon of inspiration. It’s a reminder that growth often necessitates venturing into uncharted territories and embracing the unknown. Your potential isn’t confined by the roles you’ve held; it’s defined by the heights you aspire to reach. My journey exemplifies the power of belief, resilience, and the courage to defy expectations.

As a certified NLP Practitioner, Emotional Intelligence and Life Coach in Dubai, I’ve seen countless individuals strive to carve their path. My message is clear: believe in your abilities, embrace the journey, and pave the way for others to follow. Whether you’re seeking Career Counseling in Dubai or looking for Executive Coaching in Dubai or the UAE, my story is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and determination.

May my journey inspire you to take that leap of faith, to dare to dream big, and to rewrite the narrative of your own success.