Hopscotch Heroes is all about bringing to the fore some of the inspirational women who live and work in our region as entrepreneurs, business builders, thought leaders and opportunity creators, whilst seemingly effortlessly balancing family and personal lives.
This month, we are proud to feature Sophie Le Ray, CEO and Co-Founder of Naseba. We first came across Sophie at last year's Global WIL Economic Forum, a movement she founded in 2009 in Dubai and that continues to break new ground in celebrating and promoting women worldwide. As an accomplished (and ever-stylish!) business woman and mother of two, we asked her to share her story and her secrets with our community. Over to you, Sophie...
"Hello, I'm Sophie Le Ray, CEO and co-founder of Naseba. We create growth opportunities by bringing together people, partners and ideas – whether that’s helping companies secure funding, enter new markets, sourcing strategic partners or new customers, and training their leadership teams.
I am also a mother of two girls and wife and business partner of a madman who loves ultra-endurance challenges. We co-founded our company in 2002 in France, bringing our complementary personalities to the business. Our family is half American/half French but we have lived most of our lives abroad and I am very happy our girls live in a truly multicultural environment and are curious adventure the world. I come from a multicultural family too (half French/half Portuguese/Angolan) and I believe it has shaped my world views and made me wanting to explore further and discover new cultures and fields.
Considering I need to get a lot done in the day, I live a very disciplined life when I am not travelling. I wake up at 6am, read and meditate on scriptures with my morning coffee, before it’s time for the school run and a visit to the gym. My work day is a combination of meetings, events, and phone calls. I try whenever feasible to split my days between activities requiring my physical presence in the office and work needing quiet time at home. I no longer feel like I need to be there because our team is awesome and I want to get out of their way (it’s also good for me to work on my mild “control freakiness” tendencies). I’m less likely to get disturbed at home when I want to get my head down on emails, thinking and reading reports.
I am at a stage of my life as an entrepreneur where my team goes over and above to get the job done, so gone are the days when I have to burn the midnight oil. My girls are independent and I can spend more time on serving others, so I do just that: I focus on mentorship and community service and that’s how I get the most enjoyment and balance. I feel like my time is not going to waste – it is useful to someone. And it’s a great way to get out of my work trouble-shooting mode. I usually serve on the weekends and it works for me much better than a day at the spa.
When I reflect on how blessed I am, I feel it would be incredibly ungrateful not to keep moving forward. I love what I do, I have a healthy and solid family, good friends, and a purpose for my life. Reflecting on these blessings is what keeps me moving. We also want to grow our WIL Economic Forum in regions where we believe we can bring value to the discussion, such as Saudi Arabia and Africa.
Threats are everywhere, especially in these turbulent times. The nature of our business and the regions we operate in are constantly evolving. When one region is growing, another is suffering a war, an economic crisis, some challenge. I would lie if I said it is not a constant source of concern but then again, I look at building from the current situation as opposed to being afraid of a future I cannot predict. Getting older and wiser, I am less and less a threat to myself: I worry less, I overreact less, and I am no longer my own tribunal like I used to be when I was younger – that is liberating."
Hopscotch is a part of the 19th Global WIL Economic Forum this year at The Ritz Carlton. We have discounts available for members of the Hopscotch community, which will be announced nearer the time. For more information and tickets, head here.