Surrounded by empowered, strong, and independent women at #CIBHeyaForHer's lavish celebration at the Nile Ritz-Carlton to re-launch their new women only credit card, we couldn't help but feel inspired and empowered ourselves.
Being a girl in Egypt is the world’s toughest balancing act. On the one hand, the social limitations imposed on Egyptian women make them more independent, resilient, and determined than their male peers, but on the other, these red tapes have prevented perfectly qualified women from attaining positions they fully deserved. The latter dictates public perception; often leaving young girls with no strong female role models to look up to for inspiration, deeply etching in their minds the notion that they are less capable of achieving great things than their male peers and that they will always be second best.
CIB’s newly re-launched Heya credit card is a vote of confidence for Egyptian women, an acknowledgement that they are an economic force to be reckoned with. For the first time in Egypt's banking sector's long history, a financial product is designed with a woman in mind! The Heya credit card by CIB, Egypt's only women's credit card offers its holders myriad benefits, including discounts of up to 45%, unlimited access to airport lounges at airports across the Middle East and North Africa, and up to four supplementary cards.
So it was only fitting that Egyptian women of note should be in attendance as Egypt’s largest private bank re-launched Heya in a lavish celebration at the Nile Ritz-Carlton. Never ones to miss out on lavish affairs; we too were in attendance, not quite as women (and men) of note, but as champions and admirers of the slew of truly inspiring Egyptian female role models swarming the place. We wish we had brought our nieces, daughters, and little sisters! Here are some of the women who came out to celebrate the new card - and who themselves deserve to be celebrated for their accomplishments.
From a successful run at London Fashion Week to landing in the wardrobes of Emma Watson and Emma Roberts to scooping Vogue Arabia's fashion prize, the Okhtein duo might just be the most prolific Egyptian fashion designers of their generation. The two have emerged on a design scene bursting with unprecedented talent in Egypt's fashion history, only to dwarf everyone beneath the weight of their immaculate and original style.
Maissa Azab - Stylist
A world class talent, Maissa Azab can do no wrong. The visual artist, stylist, fashion director, and co-founder of fashion PR agency Glam has worked with some of the word's greatest brands and helped some of the region's most influential celebrities elevate their fashion game. With every project, she pushed the envelope a little further with bold concepts. Her work with Enigma magazine has put the publication on the regional fashion radar and earned her a reputation as a relentless and resourceful artist.
Amany Khalil - Winner of Ironman Triathlon in Barcelona
If the mere sign of banker-turned-athlete Amany Khalil doesn't light a fire in you, you are beyond help! At 50 years of age, Khalil slayed at the Ironman Triathlon in Barcelona, becoming the first Egyptian woman ever to emerge at the other end of the most challenging single day event in the world. But that doesn't even begin to explain why we love her; in a generation of company men and women, Khalil eventually chose her passion, rather than the security of a desk job without thinking twice!
Nancy Hassan - Founder of Hedaya
Photo: Enigma Magazine
This powerhouse has the business acumen of a veteran tycoon and the passion of a Disney heroine! In 2007, Hassan founded Hedeya, one of the region's biggest maternity stores, providing everything from baby clothes and toys to accessories and strollers. Hedeya quickly expanded across Egypt with 9 stores in less than a decade and establishing partnerships with some of the world's biggest brands!
Neveen Hayman - Founder of CupCaker Baker
This tough cookie is not your run-of-the-mill dilettante entrepreneur. Her brainchild CupCaker Baker has proved to be more than just another Instagram page trying to sell you sub-par cupcakes. Her business acumen has seen to it that these babies fit every occasion and appeal to all tastes with an ever-expanding array of flavours and cake designs.
May Yacoubi - Chef
In a male dominated field, May Yacoubi is a pioneer blazing her own trail as she asserts herself in 5-star kitchens. With a popular cooking show on Al Araby TV, big dreams, and even bigger talents, Yacoubi embraces the daily challenge of kicking butts and taking names in a line of work notorious for its less than friendly attitudes towards women. And, boy, does she do it with gusto!
Nihal Zaki - Interior Decorator
Nihal Zaki is an unstoppable force of nature. Throughout a career spanning two decades, she has transcended craft lines in a male-dominated industry, launching Nihal Zaki Interiors at just 31. Her work has been featured in the prestigious Andrew Martin International Interior Design Review a whopping three times, and yet superior design talent is not her only strength; Zaki is notorious for her infallible business acumen and commitment.