- What do you love most about your career?
I love the significant impact that I make through my career at Accelerate Cambridge, particularly on people. For example, I recently worked with someone in their early 40s who for three years had very little people interaction whilst he developed a prototype. He was physically sick when presenting, but now he can pitch to 200 people, although he still doesn’t enjoy it.
As well impacting entrepreneurs’ lives, I love the impact we have on the field of entrepreneurship and the difference that the entrepreneurs’ products and services have. At Accelerate Cambridge we select businesses on the difference they will make, not just on how much money they will make.
In the last two years, I have worked with 55 start-ups involving over 100 people, built a network of over 100 mentors and helped host four start-up weekends for around 60 budding entrepreneurs. It is a large number of people directly impacted by my work and an even much larger number indirectly impacted.
- How do you feel on Monday mornings?
Energised and looking forward to work!
- What makes you get out of bed each day?
Three things – my children, learning and my competitiveness. With my four children, it is the pleasure of spending time with them and getting them ready! I love seeing them learn and discovering things through their eyes.
I get involved in a wide-range of things, so my learning is broad and I learn something every day.
I am very competitive and I particularly love achieving where others have failed or have not even bothered trying.
- How much planning has gone into your career?
Before I turned 25, I invested a lot of planning in my career. I was brought up in France within a very academic and rigorous system, which actually closed many doors from early on. I then went to University and did several internships. My father was an entrepreneur and I started working by helping him out, and this planted a seed. I seem to have always worked in start-ups, first with him, and then my own. I didn’t take these early ventures as seriously as my studies, although they gave me financial freedom and I learnt a lot.
- How did you get to where you are?
Through a series of serendipitous events, which my mindset allowed me to take advantage of. Entrepreneurs see opportunities when others see obstacles. Rather than stopping at obstacles, they overcome them by pivoting. I am always telling my children this!
- What”s casino online has helped you get there?
Strong will, hard work, passion and being clear about what I want. I am very strong willed, although I try to remember to be receptive to my environment and to listen to good advice. My passion drives me, especially when everyone tells me it can’t be done.
The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one proceeds from a strong will and the other from a strong won’t.
Being clear about what is important and not caring what other people think is vital. A turning point for me was shaking off other peoples’ measures of success and developing my own measures.
- What”s been your biggest career achievement?
Although I have built and sold successful businesses, the story below relates what I consider to be one of the highlights in my career.
When I was 21 I taught French as a foreign language in France. I had a lovely lady from Algeria who couldn’t read or write in any language (not even her mother tongue), or speak French. She was very bright, in her mid-40’s and had at least six children. She had to take one of her children with her everywhere, including food shopping to help her read the labels. How would you feel if you couldn’t leave your house without someone to help you? I was so proud that after nine months she could read and write! She was freed from being a prisoner.
- What’s been your biggest career challenge?
Balancing being a parent and my career. When I met my ex-husband I was set on my career track. Within one month of getting married however, I became pregnant. I immediately started recruiting for a nanny so that I could carry on working. After the birth I realised I wanted to put my career on hold to be a full-time mother. This was the right decision for me at the time and it came naturally.
I found it an easy decision because I was clear about what was important – my children’s emotional wellbeing and development. It wasn’t a gender issue – it was what I wanted.
- What advice would you give someone looking to change career?
Do what makes you happy and what you are naturally good at. My eldest child is 16 years old and she needs to make career choices. I have told her that whatever she chooses to do, she needs to be passionate. People need to do what they love, so that they are able to get out of bed every day.
I see many people who have acquired skills, which have overwritten and formatted their natural skills. Our society encourages people to get ‘skills for life’ and trains them to do things that they don’t enjoy, causing them to forget their natural skills. This isn’t good.
So for the person looking to change career, I would advise them to do two things:
Firstly, imagine these two situations:
- The phone rings and the person on the other end says, “Do you remember those tests from two years ago? Well, you have the gift of eternal life – you will never die and you will live forever.”
- The phone rings again, but this time, it is a lawyer who tells you that an uncle you didn’t know has left you billions and billions of pounds.
I would suggest that they spend some time thinking about what they would choose to do with their life after each call.
Secondly, to recall what they love, I would encourage them to spend some time remembering three moments when they were extremely happy. They don’t have to be work related or politically correct!
Both of these exercises will help refine what makes them happy.
- Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Remember that you don’t need eternal life or unlimited financial resources to be happy and to have a career you love. Don’t wait until you retire to do the things that you enjoy and that make you happy.
I think that it is also important to have a strong network – you don’t build this through lots of connections on LinkedIn or by going to lots of networking events. You build it through strong and meaningful relationships and doing things without expecting something in return. Favours are often paid forward instead of returned.
Hanadi Jabado is passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation. She has founded and built businesses in several industries, including education, online retail and property, and has used her multicultural background and experience with new technologies to cofound Ecamb, a business accelerator aiming at helping entrepreneurs to succeed globally. Hanadi has driven the creation of Accelerate Cambridge, the new accelerator at the Cambridge Judge Business School, and is currently its director.
Hanadi has been closely involved with over 100 start-ups over the globe and across industries over the last three years. Born in Lebanon and raised in France, she is fluent in English, French and Arabic and speaks another four languages. She lives in London with her four children.