'Don't shut down your own ideas': Mihaela Nina
The founder of Concerto TIC, Dubai, shares her success mantra
How do you typically start your workday?
I truly enjoy serene mornings, as I believe this is the best time of the day for reflection and planning. I never skip my morning double espresso, which is always paired with half a litre of water and a freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice. For the past couple of years, I have made a commitment to myself to never check my phone in the first hour, as this tends to drain my energy. Rather, I enjoy a breakfast with my husband and cuddling time with our cats.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I love that there is no hour of the day similar to the previous one, simply because sustainability, social entrepreneurship and impact are ever-evolving. On top of this, each of the projects I am leading has, at its core, steering away mindsets from the usual thinking patterns - and when I see this happening, it is most rewarding.
In your workday, what is the one thing you cannot do without?
Interacting and learning. I am a firm believer that in order to expand our horizons and become the best versions of ourselves, we need to stay connected. We can all add value and learn from one another.
Most challenging project to date?
Entrepreneurship is, by far, the most complex project I committed to: taking a leap of faith and moving from a leadership position in a company I loved, to leading my own business and delving into all aspects of it - from strategy to finance, and operations to marketing. Overwhelming though it was, it's been extremely rewarding too.
Advice you'd give your younger self?
Find a mentor, even if only to be your sounding board. I have lately discovered how valuable it is to surround myself with individuals who inspire me and support me to bridge the gap between aspiration and reality. When we are young, we are often afraid to ask for help as we think we will be judged, but in fact, having a person to guide you will take you to new heights.
Who's your role model as the perfect professional, and why?
This is a difficult question, as there are so many inspirational individuals, some very close to my heart and others being leaders and visionaries I admire from behind the scenes. What makes them role models is that they are all real people with relatable stories that prove anything is possible if you pursue it. Bill and Melinda Gates, for instance, are a great example of a power couple dedicated to driving impact and turning business into a force for good.
Favourite indulgence when you need a break?
I love sunbathing while reading a good book, one that makes me lose my train of thought and immerses me into a new reality or furthers my knowledge. I read at least 12 books in a year, the most recent being Simon Sinek's Infinite Game.
Do you have fixed working hours, or is that subject to when creativity strikes?
In the early days of the entrepreneurial journey, the working hours were pretty much fixed to. 24/7. The wonderful part is that when you are passionate about what you are doing, time simply fades away.
What is your greatest dream, professionally?
My purpose is to change the narrative around sustainability and impact. We started as an advisory start-up and educational platform. I aspire for it to be part of the global strategic directions beyond 2030's UN SDGs. We all have an impact, be it individuals, businesses, academia, non-profits or governments and I am committed to support the transformation towards a sustainable world.
Any advice for young professionals?
Speak up while maintaining diplomacy and tact. When starting our careers, we often feel our junior positions prevent us from getting our ideas considered. However, fresh perspectives can come from anyone, regardless of their experience. If something is meaningful to you, make a plan and share it; otherwise, you are the only one shutting down your own idea.
- Staff Reporter