Balance is Tawazoun by Hanane Benkhallouk

Here is the story of a passion driven entrepreneur and woman leader, Hanane Benkhallouk. She is a recognized and revered icon who has set commendable and inspiring examples for other women in the region.

 Hanane’s Business and Her Professional Background

Hanane has been working within Fortune 500 companies, governments, and non-profit organizations across a multitude of industries from financial services and investments to retail and franchise development with international exposure within Europe, U.S. and the MENA region. In last twenty years, she has succeeded in her journey to co-author two books, work  with the main team at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for knowledge, where she  was in charge of innovation and entrepreneurship programs across the Arab World. She shifted her career in 2014 by founding Sustain Leadership Consultancy. Through this venture she has contributed to the entrepreneurship eco-system. She has been recognized as an advocate for transformational leadership, gender balance, women’s advancement, diversity and inclusion, and social innovation. She has also participated on the advisory boards of several SMEs and NGOs.

Recollecting her professional journey she states, “I count three major stops that made me who I am today, Native Casablanca, New York city that “shaped” a big part of me, and Dubai, where I have been thriving for 17 years”.

Awards won by Hanane and her Achievements

Hanane is an award-winning entrepreneur. She has always believed that “we don’t build businesses, we build people and then people build businesses.” This has influenced her leadership style during her corporate experience. Her awards include:  the Game Changer Award in 2019 from the Middle East Institute of Excellence in Dubai and the Saphira Award from her native country’s government of Morocco in 2016.She is a published author of “ SEEDS of Change” that earned number 1 best seller on Amazon.ae. As a thought leader, some of her articles have also been published in The Harvard Business Review Arabia, Forbes Middle East, and Arabian Business among other publications.

Tawazoun and Hanane’s Mission

More recently, Hanane founded Tawazoun, (which means balance in Arabic) the first think-do tank and platform in the Middle East that aims at cultivating balanced people, work environments, and society, with a focus on tackling the gender balance agenda in a fundamentally different way. Hanane’s purpose behind this venture is to plant seeds of change that drive positive impact in business and society, through engaging and aligning multiple stakeholders to help them remain relevant in an ever-changing world. It is yet another effort to humanize business. Hanane’s ultimate mission is to contribute to the MEA region’s move to an innovation-loaded and knowledge-based economy.

Impact of Business on her Life:

Being an entrepreneur is definitely about having a totally different life, Hanane reflects that she moved from being employed with a set organizational structure, a well-defined role, and also a stable income with to a complete responsibility of her and others, no set income in the beginning, no set schedule, no week-ends. Yet, it was not a burden for her, because as the saying goes: Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. Running her business has taught her a lot about herself, about life and mainly about how she wants to impact the world, with the work she has chosen.

Hanane’s Strengths:

In a question related to her strengths, Hanane said, “My strengths can be summarized in what I call as my 3 Ps: Passion, Pro-activity, Persistence. My weaknesses that I can refer to as my areas of development are: perfectionism, and my following set ways of doing things, I like to innovate and try new ways which was always an issue in my working experience, as I always found it hard to follow rigid rules and procedures”. She leads with a difference.

Her Biggest Challenge in Entrepreneurship:

The biggest challenge came through her perception that passion and demand would simply sell her services. That was not the case. It is important for every entrepreneur to understand that sales is a completely different process than launching a business that they feel passionate about. Even a cause, and the uniqueness of the idea would not sell it fast. Market needs could be different from the perceptions and expectations of an entrepreneur. It is essential for every beginner to understand that drawing your own conclusions according to your own perceptions could actually hinder success.

Hanane’s Inspiration:

Hanane’s greatest inspiration is her late father – a self-made man, who started his entrepreneurial journey at a very early age, and always emphasized on the importance of community engagement. Success is made possible by the positive impact we create in people’s lives. She has also been inspired by her mentors and the people she has been coaching during her career.

Her Mantra Is:

Listen to your intuition, stay focused, learn to let go.

Her Top Priorities are:

Her three top priorities as a business owner are:

  1. To find balance in everything she does
  2. To stay connected and relevant to the target audience
  3. To drive positive impact to the communities she is a part of.

Hanane’s Advice for Entrepreneurs:

“Make sure that you are starting a business that has a market, make sure that your business is linked to something you like or enjoy personally, because that’s what is going to keep you going when you encounter challenges, be ready to change course anytime, be flexible and agile if you want to succeed in today’s world, and do not forget the same old saying: Customer will remain king and queen, so make sure, they are always happy”.

Strive for balance not perfection.