Nadia's upstream battle

June 05, 2017

Nadia Ouhib | Senior Research Executive | San Francisco | Algerian-American descent

Nadia, running for a charity in SF


How do you define beauty? And Confidence?

Beauty is the essence of reveling in your own uniqueness, both inside and out. It can describe a moment, a place, a person, a thought, an object - but it is a description of something special that is unable to be replicated. To me, confidence is founded in security - the ability to recognize one's own skill, knowledge, and contribution as a tool that provides grounding and fearlessness.


What is the main challenge(s) you had to overcome to get where you are today? Would you do that again?

The job that elevated my career required me to lead as a young female in a male-dominated department. Until I had proven my worth, I was swimming upstream while being unjustly dismissed, spoken down to, and questioned as a result of my age and gender - each trying moment made me stronger, wiser, and that much more motivated. Years later, I took a leap of faith and moved across the country to chase my dreams of contributing to something impactful. I continue to take calculated risks and step outside of my comfort zone to keep my career on an upward trajectory. No matter how difficult, I would never shy away from these battles given the opportunity - I think they have contributed to the strength of character I possess today.


What are the accomplishments or successes you’ve achieved that you’re particularly proud of?

I'm proud of my degree as a biomedical engineer, but I'm also proud that I recognized that my skill set is better served outside of a lab, and the traditional path that this degree provides. I think it's important to be yourself and take ownership of your future and happiness.


If you could look back and talk to your younger self, what advice would you give her?

Compromise in relationships is important but when that compromise looks like a sacrifice to your ambition - it's time to reevaluate.


What's the best advice you would give any Unapology beauty out there to reach whatever goal she sets for herself? 
The only thing standing between you and your goals is yourself. The second you believe otherwise, you're disadvantaging yourself with excuses.
Get out of your own way, believe in your ability, lean on your resources, keep your eyes open, and always hold your head high. Where there's a will, there's a way.


Who are the women you look up to and why? What characteristics do/did they possess?

My mother is the epitome of love and grace, and always selflessly puts everyone else before her own needs. I continue to learn from her every day, and I cherish the wisdom that I am blessed with from both of my parents. If I grow up to be half the woman my mother is, though, I'll consider it a smashing success.
Michelle Obama has been a source of strength and inspiration for so many women - myself included. Her quote, "when they go low, you go high," constantly reminds me to keep my values and morals above the struggles and temptations that are an inevitable part of life.


What does Unapology mean to you?

Unapology is a redefinition of a woman's place and purpose on her own terms.

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