Iman Nachhat: Women in Egypt Need More Opportunities to Prove Themselves & Unlock Their Potential | Interview

March 20, 2023

Iman Nachhat recently joined Legrand’s team as Finance Director and Steering Committee member. She comes with 16 years of experience in the financial field in Telecom, Automotive Software, Pharma and FMCG companies which range in size from small private organizations to large multinational corporations. 

Graduated from the French section of the faculty of commerce (D.G.C.I.), Ain Shams University, Iman was appointed as a teaching assistant, but she resigned preferring to pursue a career in the corporate world. Iman got her first opportunity in the finance field in OrasInvest (former subsidiary of Orascom Telecom), where she worked while studying for her Master’s degree that she successfully earned from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in 2008. 

Iman moved between several companies that include Valeo (the global leader in the automotive software industry), PepsiCola (the world’s leading food and beverage company where she spent 7 years)- and finally the British multinational pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithkline where she was assigned the role of “North and French Africa Finance Director”. Breaking the gender stereotype by excelling in a male-dominated field is what motivates Iman to keep going and to lead by example trying to empower more people to pursue their dreams and to progress in their careers.

WoEgypt: Please explain what is a steering committee and your role and responsibilities as a member.

Iman Nachaat: In other words it is the “board of directors”. The steering committee includes all of the companies directors and business leaders who decide on the priorities of the organization.

WoEgypt: What challenges do you face on the job and how do you overcome them? 

IN: Work life balance bas always been the biggest challenge. It is not very common to find a “female” CFO in Egypt; and it takes a lot of time and effort from women in general to prove themselves and to be given the opportunity to unlock their potential! Especially at a younger age; I usually struggled with the long working hours ; and from the pressure I used to feel hearing very demotivating and negative comments about the “limited” ability of women to build a successful career in Finance. I was assigned the role of finance director at a very young age which made things more complicated. For me; setting the right priorities and staying focused on my personal goals and objectives was the only way out! Sky is the limit; so what I have always been focusing on is to be “ready” to seize any opportunity while not giving much attention to any discouraging comment I used to get. Actions always speak louder than words so and I learned to work hard in silence and let success make the noise.

WoEgypt: What do you like most about your job?

IN: To be given the opportunity to “improve lives”; which is the purpose of Legrand. Influencing the lives of several people – including team members; stakeholders and customers; is and will always be a great honor. 

WoEgypt: What are the biggest misconceptions people have about your job? 

IN: I think a lot of people think that finance professionals are boring to death ! A lot of people still don’t understand that the “traditional” profile of a finance professional whose life is limited to zillion excel sheets is just a myth. The successful finance professional is a true business partner who should have a very strong understanding of the business in order to be able to drive the decision-making process. And no; we are not stuck with an excel sheet 24/7 !

WoEgypt: What do you wake up looking forward to? What’s next for your career? 

IN: To be a better person compared to who I was yesterday. This is my main objective.  Learning something new everyday is definitely something I aim for; and progressing further in my career to unlock other opportunities-not only limited to finance- is definitely on my agenda. 

***If you liked this article, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and receive our articles by email.   

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s