At StartUp Terminal, we believe our diversity is our strength. As International Woman’s Day grows near, we celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
To kick off our celebration, we’ve asked Dubai-based Rita Huang (originally from China), Founder and CEO of iMile, a few questions on her experience achieving success in the corporate world, and what advice she has for women all over the world today.
ST: Please tell us briefly about you?
Rita: I am a mum of three children and an entrepreneur. I relocated to Dubai in 2014 along with my family. After working in two tech companies, Huawei and Alibaba, I decided to create iMile in 2017. Currently our team consists of 700+ staff and it is quite challenging but also a very enjoyable journey for me. I would be very proud to tell my children in the future about how amazing it is to be their mum as well as an entrepreneur. Of course, there are some hard days but looking back, it is all a beautiful journey.
ST: Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?
Rita: My mum. She is a simple but strong Chinese woman. Due to the political situation at her time, she did not have the opportunity to go to university, but she had strong faith in knowledge and how it can change people’s lives. She insisted on sending me to school at a time when girls would quit school due to financial reasons.
She encouraged me to study hard and be the best in my class. She also let me make my own decisions and no matter what I decided she would always support me. Even the hardest times in my life would not have been as hard compared to my mothers in her time, so she is my inspiration to make good use of my time and to pursue my dreams.
ST: How are you celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day?
Rita: If it doesn’t fall on a weekend it will be business as usual. Maybe buy some flowers for myself and my two girls at home. I’ll take some time to explain to them why it’s such a special day for women all over the world.
ST: What is the most important message you want to send out to all the women around the world on this occasion?
Rita: I would say this is a great time for women. We have been given the greatest number of opportunities to create what we want more than any time before. I encourage women to be confident and to never stop developing themselves, and creating strong values.
In a lot of cases women give up easily on creating something great for many reasons, family, kids, or other challenges. I would say this is a part of the journey to success. Women have a lot of potential to do greater jobs as we pay greater attention to detail, we are more people oriented by nature and we excel in leadership positions. Also keeping in mind that, our daughters and grand daughters will look up to us and we want to inspire them.
ST: What according to you is ‘women empowerment’?
Rita: Nobody will grant the power to women if they don’t empower themselves. The determination from women itself is very important. Most of the time, women forget that they have the power to make decisions.
ST: What would you say are the main challenges facing women at present globally?
Rita: In my opinion the challenges are the same for both men and women, as we are equal. Ultimately when we decide to pursue success, we have to be ready to make some sacrifices to get there. Having children and a family maybe considered a challenge but also a blessing, and if we are really determined we can overcome any challenge. For example, I have delivered two of my children during and after I created iMile. Initially, I thought that it was impossible to manage both. However I realized that this is also an opportunity for me to rest for sometime and give the senior management at iMile the oppportunity to lead the company in my absence. So, I made up my mind and planned well the handing over process a few months before my maternity leave. After I got back from my leave, I found that the team was actually doing really great, the business was running as usual and we achieved even better financial result. Of course, my family has been very supportive and the senior team of iMile have taken the company up with full ownership.
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