We all have hopes and dreams. While it might seem scary to actually go after them, Steph Adams fully believes it's a must.
Beginning her career as a model, Adams knew this was not what she wanted to do; She was destined for more. As of 2017, Adams is now an art director, editor and founder of LAQUA Magazine and also a best selling author.
The Game Changer, co-written with Samantha Brett, is a New York Times best selling novel tips, how-to's, and advice for women around the world. It also contains interviews with females we all look up to.
We asked our favorite new author some questions to help us motivate our own dreams like she had done. Here are her tips and a few details on what motivated her.
Good to Glow is the ultimate bible for the healthy obsessed! It features recipes hand picked from around the world from different celebrities, hotels and cafes.
What made you decide to write a food book? What is your favorite recipe from it?
I had just published a coffee table book on the best hotels around the world for a client when a friend approached me about producing a healthy recipe book of different celebrities and hotels around the world. Good to Glow is the ultimate bible for the healthy obsessed! It features recipes hand picked from around the world from different celebrities, hotels and cafes. Myself, along with my co-author Tali Shine, had this book published with Teneuse and is now available all over the world from most book shops.
I had just found out I was pregnant at the time with my first child so it was a great new project to be focusing on in a new direction in my career as a first time Author. My favorite recipe is Melissa Odabash's protein balls - they are delicious!
What are your keys to success in the ever-changing influencer world?
Post High quality photos
Keep it authentic and unique and true to your style.
Vary your images from flat-lays and portraits to full body shots, landscapes and things that you love.
Change from black and white to color
Try to offer inspiration - an image tells a lot about who you are. You should aim to inspire.
What inspired you to write 'The Game Changers'? How did you pick the women you featured?
My co-Author; Samantha Brett and I would often take a lot of walks discussing ideas and concepts and we thought it would be great to bring a book of successful women together.
It was just before the whole wave of women's rights was really coming in to the forefront, so we hit it at the right time. We were probably a little ahead of our time. We chose women that we loved and who inspired us. We were very lucky when we interviewed Meghan Markle as we had no idea she was dating Prince Harry when we interviewed her, so when news hit, the book took the wave of the media along with Meghan and it was featured in over 100 newspapers across the globe. I remember we were in Sydney over Christmas and we were contacted by the Producers of Good Morning America. It was a great and proud moment for us. Part of the proceeds of the book were also going to the breast cancer charity; Pink Hope after we lost our dear friend to breast cancer.
What does it feel like to be a best-selling author?
The reason we wrote the book was to inspire and support a charity and when a book does well it gives you a sense of achievement that you can continue to publish more books whilst also helping more charities.
Can you tell us a little about the charities you have worked with?
I have worked with various charities over the course of my career, supporting different initiatives. Most of these have been very close to my heart. Charities I have worked with have been: Pink Hope, The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, Global Goals Australia, Barnardos x Sass & Bide, Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, Belvedere x Red and Jeans for Genes.
As the editor and founder of LAQUA how do you think the media industry is changing?
It's rapidly changing now into much more of a digital space. Being a digital magazine you can see how many people are clicking on different items, purchasing each product, clicking on each page etc. Its the way of the future now.
What is your next book going to be about?
Myself and my co-Author Samantha Brett are still in the middle of putting our next book together which will support another charity close to our hearts. I feel this next one will be a great inspiration to many.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors and influencers?
To follow your heart and inspire!
Which celebrity has been the most exciting to work with?
Every celebrity is different in their own unique way, but its really nice when they feel strongly about reaching out and giving to others. That really makes an impact.
If you could interview anyone, who would you pick?
I've always admired the work of Oprah and Amal Clooney, so they would be very inspirational to bring to the readers!
Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.
A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.
The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.
Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")
The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."
This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.
Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.
She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."
Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.
"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei
While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.
Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.
The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."
This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.
Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.