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Wherever I am, so is my heart

2012 August 24

 This blog is from Liat Hadad, a participant in our Palestinian-Israeli Emerging Leaders Program. It was originally written for the Strauss Group website and then cross-posted on the blog for our parterns, Outward Bound Peacebuilding.

“The connection to the human side is an integral part of what motivates me,” says Liat Hadad, Budget and Control Manager at the Strauss Group HQ. So, when she was chosen to join a demanding trip to Europe as one of the 12 young Israeli and Palestinian leaders, she didn’t hesitate and returned with new friendships and insights.”

As Budget and Control Manager in the Group HQ, Liat talks about her challenging work, which includes daily support of managers in a variety of roles and spheres in the Group HQ. “The real challenge is having a holistic view of a dynamic organization,” she says. “Beyond the technical figures it’s important for me to be aware of changes and the various needs of the organization and its managers, and to know how to best create a bridge between them.” Liat also manages overseas travel and gives economic support to special projects, such as new building projects, upgrading mobile phones, etc.

Doing Things My Way
“I wasn’t raised in a home where I was pushed to achieve, but from a relatively early age, I was ambitious,” Liat reveals. “My personal journey wasn’t strewn with roses. I put myself and all that involves into every role and task – effort, commitment, devotion, loyalty – and I have always maintained my values, even if that sometimes lengthened or complicated the journey.”

Seeds of Change
In the past year, within the framework of Outward Bound Peacebuilding and Search for Common Ground, two international conflict transformation and peacebuilding organizations, Liat was selected to join an intensive 10-day trip as one of 12 young Israeli and Palestinian business leaders, including four women. The trip, which began in the forests of Croatia and ended on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, included a hike carrying 20 kilograms of equipment through rough terrain. Liat describes this challenging meeting as a most powerful experience. “I wanted to be a part of this special program that directly connects people from two sides of the conflict, and enables them to meet one another up close and person, on a human level,” she says.

“This unique program forced us to push our boundaries, leave our comfort zones, and create something new as a group and as individuals. As a result, instant and strong connections were made between people. I was surprised to discover that our similarities were far greater than our differences. The political discourse wasn’t the point; rather, it was the friendships that were formed.”

In Liat’s view, the purpose of these meetings and relationships is not bringing peace to the Middle East or repairing the world, but to sow seeds of change, openness, tolerance, and acceptance. “This is an approach that I must adopt in my daily life as well as in my professional life as a manager in a diverse and dynamic organization,” says Liat. “Ultimately, we are all people with needs and desires.”

Work Life Balance
“I balance the intensity of work with doing small things for the soul, which I try to do whenever I can. I find enjoyment in the simple things in life, meeting friends, travelling in Israel and abroad, music, reading and going to the theater, and occasionally, I enjoy new experiences.”

Inspirational People
“I don’t have one person who has inspired me. I really admire people who build themselves up with their own hands, and leave a professional, social, and moral mark.”

A Message to Other Women
“Along with uncompromising professionalism, bring to every role the personal qualities that characterize you as a human being. As a woman, it’s important to maintain your self-worth, to stay loyal to your principles, to leverage your intellectual and emotional flexibility, and to pay attention to your female intuition.”

“In spite of the gap that exists between our proportion in the population and our proportion in the management ranks, I believe in the power of women and their importance in fulfilling key roles, and that this will increase with time. I am pleased that Strauss has a progressive attitude and real experience with promoting women to senior positions.”

One Response leave one →
  1. October 23, 2012

    This article is so inspiring! Thank you for it! I have always thought that it would be amazing to outward bound programs . The university I attend has some amazing programs that offer semesters in different countries. I have looked into them, and have been saving up. My goal is to go within the next few years. Thank you for the article though, I’m even more excited than ever to go!

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