Farha Abdula; born and raised in Mozambique but currently based in Paris is a mother, an advertiser, and a content creator. For the past ten years, she has been working with advertising, marketing, and communication for both global and local brands, and that is how she developed a passion for storytelling, branded content, and entertainment. She is currently doing an Executive MBA at HEC Paris, ranked number 1 worldwide by the Financial Times where she launched herself in developing unique content with two podcasts: Beyond the Executive MBA, which talks with other members from the same program about their journey, and it’s related to topics such as diversity, woman empowerment, professional and personal development. The second project, another podcast called ‘Farhaway,’ addresses the creative industry in Mozambique and other Portuguese-speaking countries, generating debates around women in the creative industry, the role of the leaders, market dynamics, and much more.
She shares her day-to-day life in Paris @heyitsmefarha and engages with followers daily by creating different types of content. Currently, she is also working as a consultant for both local and global brands, continuing to deliver relevant and customer-centric content.
If you could describe yourself with one word, what would it be?
If I have to use only one word, I would say learner. I like to believe that I am in a continuous learning process, and the moment I understood the value of learning with the situations we are in – I started looking at the bright side of difficult times. As a result, I am developing resilience and being more comprehensive towards others. Learning is not only about me; it’s about who I am and what I can bring to the table in my environment. I am not afraid of making mistakes, not that I won’t suffer from possible choices I make, but I always tend to take the learnings of that choice and apply it to future decisions.
When was the last time you felt like a boss, and what made you feel that way?
In my understanding, ‘feeling like a boss’ is a state of mind. I feel like a boss every time I overcome a difficulty or realize my small accomplishments of the day: raising a child, working, studying – to me, this is being “THE boss.” As a woman, the last year was the year I realized that self-realization is essential and positively affects other aspects of our lives, and this self-realization empowered me to chase what could make me feel that I am in control of my life choices. I feel like a true boss when I am doing what contributes to my happiness.
One hack for dealing with imposter syndrome?
One hack for dealing with impostor syndrome is acknowledging that we are not super-women and don’t have superpowers. The idea that we are constantly “saving the world” and that we have to be exceptional at all times (as professionals, mothers, wives, friends, and so on) creates an expectation that we carry all our lives. Yes, and we can be exceptional in everything we do, but we also have to know that, as human beings, we are allowed to feel tired, to have insecurities, and, above all, to ask for help. We are not “impostors.” We are who we are – and this diagnosis of having a syndrome cannot apply to women who multi-function every day.
Have you ever had any disappointments? If yes, how did you handle it?
Being disappointed is part of our internal maturity process. Yes, I did have many disappointments in life (work and personal). However, I would say that the best way of handling or overcoming down moments in your life is by being yourself. Accepting that things are not going the way you expected.
When you realize that one can’t control life events, we suffer much less, and then we overcome any hardships we may encounter. Life is a succession of unpredictable events; however, you will handle it if you are surrounded by a good support network, family, friends from work, and people who know you. The best way to handle an unexpected situation is to reach out to those who stick with you for good and bad.
What excites you the most about doing an Executive MBA at one of the most prestigious universities in the world – HEC Paris.
First, I would say that by far, the most exciting and motivating about this experience is the people you get to know. People from all over the world, different cultures, different backgrounds, different mindsets. Sometimes it can be overwhelming because you have to learn very quickly how to deal with literally more than 30 nationalities at once, but most of the time, it’s a lot of fun. We share stories and experiences from our careers and from personal aspects, and we get valuable inputs. As an individual, the last 12 months unveiled insecurities about me that I didn’t know I had and showed the strength I sometimes forget I have.
Second, I have to say the content of the courses is up to date and relevant, with good examples of what is happening in the market allied to the student’s professional experiences. Executive MBA students really occupy a place of “challenging the status quo,” always adding interesting discussion to all the topics in class. This made the forum very rich and not a one-way conversation from professor to students. In the same line, I have to say that HEC professors are excellent. They are responsible for the content and how it is delivered to us, and they play a significant role in challenging us to think beyond the obvious.
Going back to studies at this stage of my life brought a new meaning and clarified more objectively what I am pursuing professionally. I am happy to have taken this step and made this choice, even in the middle of a pandemic, and I encourage every woman to do the same. Research and find in you something that will help you grow and feel complete, part of a group. Don’t be shy, and reach out for help in the community that interests you. You will find the necessary support and opinions to make your decision.
The Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an offshoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion, and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.