Recently on the Fempowered Collective podcast, we have touched on the topic of female resilience in business. It seems this has definitely become a theme which many people are beginning to understand more – particularly out of the COVID era.

We are all capable of finding strength to move on from whatever hardship that life throws at us. Much like in business, when we are faced with adversity or a situation that causes a change that’s out of our control, we all have it in us to continue moving forwards to find a solution to keep growing.

Do we really have a choice but to pick ourselves up and carry on?

Mona Norman probably has more experience of this than many. As MD of Brand Yorkshire and Fogal & Barnes, Mona’s driven by building relationships and connecting people together for the good of all. Her resilience comes from seeking growth out of adversity – Brand Yorkshire itself was born from a need to bring businesses together during the 2008 recession.

Mona speaks openly about her dyslexia and that she believes that is what has made her such a people-person. Although it presents her with challenges in life and business, Mona has learned to focus on the positive of being able to connect on a personal level with others.

But it’s her story of growing up in war-torn Baghdad, fleeing Iraq at the age of 17 to start a new life in the UK that made her more resilient and determined to keep moving forwards. Mona’s mother is originally from the North East, and her father is from Baghdad – where her family lived during the outbreak of the Iraq-Iran war in the early 80’s. It meant Mona’s childhood was one of food rations, fear and eventually seeking refuge in the UK.

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“I came to the UK aged 17 not being able to read or write – but I could speak fluent English. When we discovered I was dyslexic, I became very good at hiding the fact I was dyslexic.”

Mona told me that she had a determination to do something with her life that didn’t involve much reading or writing – and by chance ended up in a successful modelling career. “I had the most beautiful, varied career around the world. I had to become a chameleon, learning how to fit in with any role or job.

“With every opportunity I’ve had to grab it and run. So, I’ve always had that attitude.”

Mona is passionate about connecting people, particularly bringing businesses together to create a strong support network. In episode two of the Fempowered Collective podcast, Mona shares her advice on how to navigate the world of business networking and build relationships with others who will elevate you and your business.

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