Rozana Al-Banawi: Pulling the Strings of Positive Change in Saudi Women

As a teenager who was very curious about change, little did she know that she would be on the frontline of it someday. Saudi advisor, trainer and organisational leadership coach Rozana Al-Banawi dwells upon the happiness of watching her clients grow as she works her magic of transforming personal lives and organisations.

She founded her practice Rozabee with an aim to delve into each individual life and find its true potential through exploration and self-reflection, and then strive to reach it by adopting the proper tools and skills.

“I like to see my work as an experience that you co-create what you want for yourself,” she said. “The most fulfilling image is seeing my clients embarking on the first steps of change and transformation, like a caterpillar getting ready to become a cocoon and inevitably a butterfly. Once a client starts that process, there is no turning back.”

Following her graduation from Effat University with a bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology, Al-Banawi used that to teach psychology to female high school students of Dar Al-Fikr schools – an experience she enjoyed very much. She then continued her education at the University of Nottingham and graduated with a master’s degree in Human Relations.

Upon returning to the Kingdom with her master’s degree, the young leadership coach got herself into a pickle as her field of study was mistaken to be Human Resources. “I didn’t have any idea what to do with my master’s degree in Human Relations because it wasn’t known in Saudi and people think it is Human Resources.”

When Saudi Arabia’s first female employment project under the title ‘Hafiz’ was launched, Al-Banawi was among the first 25 female recruitment consultants. “I met lots of women from all different kinds of backgrounds and it was a very enriching experience because I learned a lot from those women,” she said.

After a year, she left her job only to discover she was more interested in encouraging people to achieve their goals and dreams. Following some research she came to understand it was called coaching. So she embarked on a search online for the best places offering such coaching courses. “I had to go through a long process in order to obtain an international licence,” she said in a recent interview. “I discovered that the coaching field that I wanted to specialize in was the development of leadership skills for Saudi women and human relations development as a whole with women who want to make a change in their lives.”

Al-Banawi says as a leader she is responsible for creating the life that she wants for herself and taking the lead. “So instead of waiting for others to start, I start it myself even if it isn’t complete.”

“I believe that for women, leadership is no longer an option,” said Al-Banawi. “All of us have become leaders with social media and the openness of the internet. When we post something on any platform; be it a picture or even a proverb, it will have an impact. This is leadership. Being responsible for the impact that one has through social media, this is leadership too.”

Speaking about the future, she said, “I am very optimistic, there is a growing network between women and individuals in society as the awareness is increasing. We are capable leaders.”

Al-Banawi is also a co-leader at CreativeMornings (The Jeddah Chapter), a monthly breakfast series for the creative community, and was among the Entrepreneurial Award Finalists at the Education UK Alumni Awards.

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