The Women Of AngelHack: Sahar Abdulrasoul
Project WoAH (Women of AngelHack). It’s a movement. One led by the amazing Women of AngelHack, who have stories to share. And share we will! Check out the intro below, and tune in LIVE on December 17th (5pm PST) to check out and ask questions during our WoAH Livestream.
Name: Sahar Abdulrasoul
Role: Manager of HACKcelerator Marketing & Mentor Relations
Been With AngelHack: June 2014
Works Out Of: Q at the Yard, Kuwait.
What do you do at AngelHack?
I have worn a bunch of different hats at AngelHack. I started working as the Manager of HACKcelerator Marketing & Mentor Relations Officer when I joined. I led and executed all marketing related activities for the HACKcelerator, and the HACKcelerator teams. I also managed mentors’ relationships with their teams and made sure that both sides were satisfied.
After my recent move to my hometown in Kuwait, I have taken on the role of MENA Regional Director, fostering AngelHack’s MENA relations and managing the organization of 10+ upcoming hackathons in the region.
Can you tell us about your toughest day on the job?
My toughest (but also funnest) day at the job was at Global Demo Day 2014. It was the most highly anticipated day for me since I had joined AngelHack so stress levels were definitely at an all time high. I was required to assist in running through demo's, assist with technical difficulties, and single handedly attend to 26 teams (each consisting of an average of 4 team members) WHILE keeping my cool, and looking pretty for the cameras. It was crazy but definitely one of the funnest days on the job and ended up being totally worth it!
AngelHack is a global company, requiring frequent travel. You must have had some memorable experiences. Give us one!
I would have to take you back to my time in Istanbul, doing some boots on the ground marketing for our MasterCard Masters of Code hackathon. I spent a full day driving around Istanbul (that’s an experience in and of itself) visiting coworking spaces and innovation hubs to promote the event. The thing about Istanbul is, not everyone speaks English. So I walked into a bunch of places and was greeted with wide eyes when I started speaking in English. I ended up having to explain the whole event in a mixture of English, Arabic, the couple of Turkish words I knew, and a whole lot of sign language. The result was “gozal” ;)
Has there ever been a time you felt discriminated against as a woman? Explain.
I have been fortunate enough to experience a lot less of these than I know my peers have. The assumption that men are dominant in tech, however, is obvious. For example, it makes me chuckle when I’m cold emailing back & forth with someone and they refer to me as a “he” or “sir” not recognizing my female name (yay to being foreign) nor gender. It could be an unintentional assumption so I usually don’t correct them and wait to surprise them on the phone with my super squeaky voice.
What challenges have you faced because of being a female at a hackathon or in business?
In business, it’s sometimes difficult to get people to take you seriously when you are a YOUNG female. It is especially difficult because of the type of work that I am doing. Bringing hackathons to parts of the Middle East that are still in the process of getting accustomed to this new concept becomes even more of a challenge.
What about the startup culture do you like?
I love how close knit the Startup culture is. I view my co-workers as friends, even those who I only get to see a couple of times a year. I also really like the flexibility of being able to work from pretty much anywhere around the globe.
What about the startup culture do you dislike?
It can be difficult not having set working hours / a set routine due to working from a different timezone and having my job so entwined with my life. In other words, I sometimes find it difficult to find that work / life balance everyone talks about.
How does it feel that 80% of your community is male-based?
I typically view a client / community member as just that, be it a man or a woman. Having said that, I do usually get excited when I work with a woman in tech (especially when she is in a high position) because my initial reaction is "wow, this woman must be extremely smart and passionate to have overcome the gender barrier in this industry".
It also makes me feel that we, at AngelHack, are superstars for being a successful, predominantly female team.
Where to start!
I'm a Kuwaiti girl who was blessed enough to grow up in the Middle East, attend an international school, travel the world, and eventually find herself in San Francisco. This should give you a glimpse into how global and culturally-varied my views in life are.
My passion in life is to continue to learn about all peoples, cultures, industries etc. This curiosity of the world has fueled my passion for travel, meeting new personalities, and my fearlessness in being immersed in the unfamiliar.
I've often been called an oxymoron which my ego has taken as a compliment because I do like too many things to be categorized.
My motto in life is: "Chill but Hustle."
What do you love about working for AngelHack?
I love the ever-evolving tech field that we work in. I love that I get to meet and befriend amazingly talented and passionate individuals who view us with respect and admiration for providing them with the opportunities that we do. I love that I get to learn first-hand about other cultures (both from a social and business standpoint) and often visit different places, and immerse myself in these cultures!
What’s your spirit animal?
Tiger. They’re not kings (or queens) of the jungle, but their fierceness brings them all the respect they deserve.
What’s one word you would use to describe yourself?
What’s your favorite thing in the world?
In the context of activities: travel.
In the context of "things": babies.
In the context of emotion: compassion.
Failure to reach my full potential.
What’s your definition of success?
Success is being at peace with oneself. If you have reached a point of utter content in any area of your life, then you are successful in that area.
The stage is set, December 17th at 5PM PST. Submit your questions ahead of time using #ProjectWoAH or through the YouTube LIVE chat on December 17th. Mark your calendars, and make sure you tune into the livestream!
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