Diversifying Leadership

Diversifying Leadership
Hawa Charfaray CEO Orbrix UAE CEO Training Excellence South Africa

I’ve always been in the training and development sector in the IT, Leadership, Human Resources and Business sectors. In today’s times, Training & Development has many challenges due to economic strains. However, as  Women Leaders, we have to learn to be flexible in our business approaches. Thus, be open to new markets, new ideas and INNOVATION.

When I was first approached to lead a team of experts in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Training sector, immediate first human reaction of fear and lack of confidence sets it. And then, you hear your inner voice as a Leadership coach… you know, that voice that you use when you coach and mentor others…“Your skills as a leader are what’s important, and not the subject matter”

The one sure thing as a leader is to remember that you will always have the specialists and expertise in your TEAM. If you don’t, you can always outsource it. I have learned through my Leadership career, that “you can either make bread or burn Bread with the same fire”, which means: utilize your skills of Leadership in every field and aspect instead of limiting it to only one area of expertise.

Leadership is all about developing your people, and leading and allowing THE AUTHENTIC team to surface. As leaders, we don’t realize the importance of leading and NOT managing. Your skills in creating a strategy and action plan for your team will become the vision of all the experts in your organization. It allows them to focus on the important jobs they studied for with your support and Leadership as direction. Working WITH them will allow the team to grow stronger.

As the CEO and Founder of Training Excellence-South Africa and Orbrix-UAE with more than 20 years of experience in leadership, I have realized that the very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. “It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.” – just as Theodore Hesburgh, President of the University of Notre Dame says.

A year ago, my vision needed adjusting and changing of direction due to economic changes in the training Industry in Africa, thus I started collaborating with partnerships in the UAE. Not too long thereafter, I was appointed as CEO of Orbrix, Dubai.

ORBRIX is a firm dedicated to providing training and consulting services in the radiological and environmental protection industry. Our mission is to ensure that the latest innovations and best practices for radiation, oil and gas, and biological protection are implemented by every organization to ensure the safety and security of the community and future generations.

As a woman leader in this dynamic field of Radiation Protection and CBRN (Chemical and Biological Radiation Nuclear), I have invested in changing lives throughout my many years of experience as a Global Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Wellness Practitioner, Business Executive Coach, NLP practitioner, Life Coach, Language and Behaviour (LAB) Profile Practitioner, Inventory, Work Attitude and Motivation (iWAM) Practitioner, Ecometric practitioner, Hypnotherapy Practitioner and Timeline Practitioner.

I believe that “We cannot become ourselves by ourselves. We need to go out of our way to support each other. We need to be mirrored, emulated and celebrated, as who you are truly does make a difference – Become Consciously Purposeful in Your Life as a leader!” I also believe that “There’s nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can’t clearly articulate why we’re doing what we’re doing.” As said by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.

ORBRIX-UAE and Training Excellence-South Africa, as Internationally woman-driven organizations, have often been requested to work with women, provide women’s workshops and trainings. I personally have been invited to speak at women’s networks and conferences. As enjoyable as these events are, I personally started growing uncomfortable with a subtle suggestion that permeated many of these gatherings…The idea that women have similar deficits that hold them back from advancing in senior ranks.

It is indisputable that men and women have very different experiences in the workplace due to a variety of factors, and furthermore, just like the male counterparts, not every woman has the same experiences and challenges in the workplace. Therefore, the notion of “one size fits all” women development initiatives is outrageous. What needs to change or be fixed is the whole approach to women’s development initiatives.

At Orbrix and Training Excellence, we believe that we must work with organizations to remove barriers for women’s advancement. We must equally work within ourselves as women leaders to become aware of and remove the glass ceilings and Sticky Floors syndromes in our own heads first – habits and mindsets that lead to self-sabotage, and make it exhausting for so many of us to move our careers forward. All Woman have their own Beliefs and Self-Sabotages which either determines their limits (Glass Ceiling) or Stuck states (Sticky floor) Syndromes.

Two important common areas that are holding Women back which our teachings highlight:

  1. Collaboration VS. Competition

Many Women don’t know that Collaboration is the New Competition.

Women most likely to collaborate will be high in risk-taking, high in authority, high in teamwork, high in result-orientation and possibly high in creativity and variety.

Women most likely to compete instead will be low in these areas but high in autonomy and high in status. As there is no right or wrong based on one’s Driving Dynamics, competing will not get one into Senior positions; collaborating with our male counterparts and other Women would be the better option. As problems are becoming more and more interconnected and complex, leaders and organizations are recognizing these modern-day challenges and thus are putting aside their self-interests and are rather collaborating to advance their shared and collective objectives.

  1. Building Networks Rather than Leveraging off Networks

Women are too busy joining networking women groups. We should be investing our time in Gender co-existent networks and leveraging off both male and female networks. Women generally are high on relationship reliance; the key here is that they are sometimes more RELIANT on relationships instead of LEVERAGING off the relationships. There is a huge difference. One is dependant and the other is independent. Leveraging off a relationship is more beneficial to each party as they each gain a win-win situation from the relationship. After a network and meetup, spend time on how one can leverage off that meeting and then act immediately on it. Just knowing a prominent leader and taking some pictures with them is not going to make the business work. As women, we should use our strength of Building Personal Relationships to convert that into Transactional Relationships.

Not just as women leaders, BUT rather as LEADERS holistically, we should harness all our strengths and lead with a mindset that is truly from within us. Having had the opportunity to look at the data and coach women based on Executive Presence and Reality Check AssessmentsTM , it’s helped us appreciate that the only effective way to help them advance is to treat women as individuals.

Frankly, we think that it’s time for an overhaul of women’s leadership development. If the one-size-fits-all thinking doesn’t change, the interventions won’t change, and there will be disappointments all around.

“You cannot manage what you have not measured”.-Peter Drucker


By, Hawa Charfaray, CEO @ Orbrix-UAE, & CEO @ Training Excellence-South Africa


To know more about the author, visit this link.


For a consult on your Driving Dynamics Constructs and determining how your limiting beliefs and the sticky floor holds you back from achieving and rising to  Executive Presence, Training Excellence can assist you in solving these critical factors. Contact Hawa Charfaray:  hawa@trainexcellence.co.za or hawa@orbrix.net

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