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Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast

Mumbition

The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 86: Guiding Journeys: From Ancient Lands to Mentoring Leadership Excellence with Hana Ayoub

Hana Ayoub

Founder of Visit Baladi and Hana Ayoub Mentoring

February 27, 2024
Hana’s passion for showcasing her homeland,Jordan, led her to create her business - Visit Baladi. Through personalized tours, she invites travellers to explore the rich culture, history, and hidden gems of the region, all while savouring unique culinary delights. Additionally, Hana runs a mentoring business, empowering individuals to communicate with clarity and confidence.

Links
Visit Baladi
(3) Hana Ayoub | LinkedIn
Facebook

Credits

Produced by - Lucy Kippist 
Edited by - Morgan Brown 
‍Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist 
‍Guest – Hana Ayoub

More from today's guest!

Loved this episode of Mumbition The Podcast? Find out more from our special guest.

Learn more
    • Read the blog article
    • How a mum of two created two businesses from her passion of guiding journeys

    • Read

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Carrie (05:21.642)

So Hannah, we love educating women on pitching with clarity and confidence. We'd love to hear a little bit more about your business. Can you give us your elevator pitch?

Hana:
Absolutely, thank you so much for having me today. My business Visit Baladi pty ltd. it started last year, coming from a passion to show Australian and my network, my hometown, my country. So Baladi, it’s an Arabic word, it means my hometown. So that’s where the name came from, visit Baladi. Last year I went after 10 years of not going back home to Jordan, and I spent 5 weeks as a tourist, taking photos and sharing to my social media, the beautiful places, the history and the experiences I had over there. I was overwhelmed and excited by the amount of messages from my network asking me about Jordan, about those places, and they were surprised in terms of what you can do and what the cultures like over there and they were saying, I want to go to Jordan, and that’s where the business idea came from, and I decided to launch my own business to take people back home, and for me to host those tours as a guest, as a host, and I have tour guides over there. So I’m also very excited, the first trip is going to be in May 2024, and I’m now organising the following trips, having Jordanian and Austraale can feel the safety and they can enjoy even the little restaurants or cooking class by locals that you would not have on a normal tour.  

Carrie (06:56.478)

Congratulations. Visit Baladi is a beautiful name and one that's probably close to my heart in terms of my first, you might not know my first start-up was actually Daily Addict, which was an insider's guide to what's new and notable in your city. And at that time it was Sydney or Melbourne. So I don't think you can beat an experience in a new country, in a new city. When you're being hosted by someone who's a local or an insider, you can almost guarantee not to have a failed experience, right? Cause you've got so much limited time there. You just wanna know all the best spots to go to, so.

Hana:

Correct. The good places. Yeah, absolutely. But also from someone who has been in Australia for the last 17 years, I think I have a really good idea and understanding of what Australians want when they travel, and  also I understand the culture over there, so I can be their mediator and communicator to bring that together to create a great experience.

Lucy (08:04.767)

Actually brings me to a question I wanted to ask you Hannah because we know that 30% of business owning women in Australia are actually from have migrant backgrounds which speaks beautifully to the story you're just sharing there about your business. And I suppose in a way you have answered a bit of this but what do you think coming from another country has brought to this business that you're building? I mean obviously it's brought the business in itself, but what do you think has been enhanced for your experience of creating the business because of your background?

Hana

I came to Australia 17 years ago, I didn’t speak English very well, I knew no one here. I came with my husband who unfortunately passed away from cancer when the kids were 9 & 5 years old. And the journey hasn’t been easy at all. But it has been very rewarding and enjoyable. I don’t regret it at all. If I can demonstrate that life can be very harsh on us sometimes, and brings a lot of adversity, but it you can really look at what’s possible and why you’re doing it, and what you can achieve is limitless. Coming as an immigrant and having that background automatically adds a sense of resilience, you know to start a business and start something new, and jump in and take a leap of faith. Coming from a different country, you have that in you that decided to leave the familiar, decided to leave what your comfortable with, and start something new. So I feel like that translated as well, in that experience of jumping in, put the fear aside, and give it a good crack, believing you want to create something new and amazing, and bring other people with you on the journey.  

Lucy (09:27.163)

Beautiful answer.

Hana

And that applies a lot I think to people who come from immigrant backgrounds, and you want to crate as well, and more to your family, more to your community, you feel that you want to bring all the different experiences and bring it home, which Sydney now for me is home.  

Lucy (09:49.871)

So the travel business is one of, you have another little side business as well, a coaching business. And these are both in addition to a very busy job with NAB. Just wondering if you can, well, share a little bit about how you balance all of those wonderful parts of your ambition with also your wellbeing and your livelihood, because I know that you're also a mum of two. So how are you managing to piece all this together?  

Hana
I believe in work life integration. Balance means 50/50. And sometimes we do things as we are living life, when I have my daughter around, involving the kids, even in my business. For example, in my business, my website was something I have done with my son who is 21 years old, and creating the name and logo was with my daughter, she’s almost 18 in a month time. So it’s about involving the family sometimes with your vision, and your actions, the steps that you take to build a business. You know, my coaching/mentoring business that I’m starting, that came from doing a lot of coaching and mentoring at my corporate job at NAB, which I’ve been doing for almost the last 10/11 years, mentoring other females, or younger bankers that they are coming in on the journey, or people that want to get to leadership, so I realised how passionate I am when I sit down 1:1, whether with my directing members or members from other business units that I am mentoring. The feeling I get after that session, I always feel great. Even if they are going through something difficult and I am navigating the way with them, because mentoring is about asking questions and navigating, and sometimes you may share your personal experience of adversity and resilience, and you know it feels good. When you are doing something that feels good, it doesn’t feel like a job. Its something I enjoy. So that’s one thing. The other thing is, I’m really conscious of where I spend my time. I don’t know if you would be surprised or not. But for example, the TV will not be on in my household for 2 -3 weeks sometimes. I don’t watch TV, I don’t watch anything that’s going to occupy my brain wave with negative news that we see. I’m sure when there are important things, the internet is a great place that you can pick and choose what you want to listen to and you hear from your network of friends, in terms of if there are important matters you need to follow on. So I’m really conscious of where I spend my time. I start my day very early, 5:00/5:30, quick session at the gym most days. You know, my business, the travel one, I collaborate a lot with Jordan, which means I can do a lot after 5pm, or on the weekends. The mentoring business is still in a very infant stage, so it starting and looking at collaborating after hours, or weekends. So when you do something with passion, you have a lot of energy, and you have the drive to do so. I find when you are doing something that you don’t enjoy, that’s when it becomes a chore and exhausting.  

Lucy (13:36.731)

So we've found here at Mums & Co that business introductions are everything when it comes to moving forward in your business. So kindly inviting you to share maybe one pivotal relationship or business connection that really changed the shape of your own business journey.

Hana

So I can reflect on the relationship I have created with the company I work with in Jordan, so when I was back in Amar last year, I visited multiple travel agencies over there, and one iconic situation where I felt their priority is customer service, safety and fun. So in any  business relationship you’re going to look at the value system, or the value priorities or the partnership that you are after, and ensuring that it is aligned with yours. So that’s probably something I always look at in any business partnership, but also any relationship.  

Carrie (14:59.222)

Now we know that we recently launched the micro but mighty report by the Mackell Institute. It was commissioned by the NRMA insurance.

Hana

Congratulations on that partnership as well for you.  

Carrie (15:15.634)

Thank you very much. We're very excited that we can continue to celebrate the optimism and bravery of starting something new, and then have the strength of NRMA insurance to be there when sometimes things might not go to plan. So we're really excited about that powerful duo and powerful team. But the report is focused on micro businesses in Australia. And one of the things that was truly interesting and I think resonated a lot with me as also a micro business owner was that we don't have large teams. We don't have like specialist groups that, you know, support us on our journey. And particularly in regard to finance, it's one of the biggest limitations of a business woman's success. And yet we still manage at the micro business sector to make about $175 billion in profit each year. So I'm wondering what is your advice for a woman who's trying to bridge this gap?

Hana

Number one I feel a lot of women, I don’t want to generalise, we are not good at asking for help. So the number 1 advice, it’s really important to, for any micro business owner, is to collaborate and join groups like Mums & CO, that number 1, networking groups, because you will find females in the same situation but different backgrounds, that can support each other. It's really difficult, and I’ve experience myself, to be the business owner, the marketing person, and hopefully in the future, to have HR manager, a payroll, all of those roles that are really important aspects of growing and building your business. If you try to do it all, from what I’ve seen, it’s very difficult. Even if you do grow, it’s going to be a very slow burn. So its really important to identify early stages, what are the key roles you need to identify and outsource, and go for that outsourcing. Even if it costs you some money at the beginning, but you have got to think about the return on investment, and the opportunity is going to free your time so you can be able to network and be able to market you business and grow your business and work on the aspects that are really important.  

Carrie (18:25.606)

And now flipping our attention to, this concept of risk because I know that you've had deep corporate experience, you've had micro business or small business experience as well Hana, and I know the two are sometimes in different worlds. So how would you describe your relationship to risk?

Hana

My relationship to risk from a corporate risk perspective, I'm not going to talk much about that because we know where banks were highly regulated. We have continuous education on that. We have a lot of measures in place to support customers, and small businesses continue with awareness about scams and scams and what happens to protect your own business. From my own business experience, risk is really one of the things that probably keeps me up at night. And I want to, you know, I put things in place to ensure that I'm covering myself and also my clients when it comes to risk. And that's when, you know, personally involving the right specialists and legal to ensure - am I taking the right steps to protect myself, my business, my clients? It's important to keep it front of mind and read about it and take measures to protect yourself often, you know, back on the risk from banking perspective as small business, I always say to clients, to my team, when, when a customer sending an invoice or receiving an invoice to pay someone, pick up the phone and double check that the account details are being provided. It's something we see all the time are accurate because some people, they you know, the scammers, they hack to companies emails they might keep the invoice of the email exactly the same and they change the BSB and account number. And I've seen that happen and I've seen it stopped and I've seen the situation in the past where I worked in different organizations that sometimes, you know, it didn't go well, where the customer didn't take the steps for due diligence to protect themselves. So, as a business owner, if I have a checklist for people to advise them to follow, is risk and compliance to ensure that they are protected, their emails sometimes, you know, the the the database or the systems that they use might not be protected. So I think spending the time, money and effort to do the due diligence around it can save the business on a thousands and thousands of dollars and save the business because we're not a small business losing 40 or 50,000 might not be big for a big corporate, but it can be the deal maker or breaker for micro or small business owner.

Carrie (21:43.91)

It is actually those little steps that we just need to double check and you know, because we don't have when things do go wrong, they go wrong pretty fast and at a big scale. So now, I wanted to just ask you, knowing that you're a business coach as well. How do you how do you find the right business coach for you? or how do you find the right coach in perhaps, you know, it doesn't have to be in business because I know that we can get advice and we can get expertise and direction from for many parts of our lives. It might be wellbeing or otherwise. So how would you select a coach if you had to?

Hana

Just look like a coach on business is telling. So I'm not a business coach. But I coach on life matters, the growing career and mentoring. So how do I find the right business coach also the mentor or the right coach? For me personally, it's I look for the person that they have achieved and accomplished things that I might not accomplished yet, and I check on their experience so I can see they have the knowledge, the skills and the tools to support my growth. So and the same in my career. For example, when I look for a mentor, I look for someone first, doesn't have conflict of interest in terms of where I'm going, but also someone they had the life experience and the challenges that might be similar to what I'm facing at a certain point in time. And I can see that they've took their career further so they can navigate the same pathway. But the other thing is I also look at you don't have to keep the same mentor and the same coach for forever. What I've experienced myself at each stage of your life, you might need a different coach, different attributes and someone with different experience. Certain coaches takes you to a certain stage and then you might need to jump to a different coach. That doesn't mean there's something wrong with the previous one, but sometimes people in our life, they're like messages they can take us from one point to the other or across a certain river. Then we need someone different with different tools to support, to go in a different direction.

Carrie (24:38.258)

What I found was that, you know, a mentor may not be someone that you need for a very long period of time. It might be for a very specific challenge or it might be for a very specific part of your career or, you know, the task that you need to do at that particular time. And it's okay to gracefully exit.

Hana 00:21:30:00 - 00:21:52:17
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, the other thing is I look at the chemistry check people, they might be wonderful people and they achieved so much in their life. But remember, there is different type of personality. I've read the book Personality Plus and you know, there is the colour X and there is the melancholy personality or so on, so forth, so you sometimes you need to look for a mentor who can be the opposite depending where you want to get. And sometimes you might need someone who is similar to you so they can understand exactly where you're coming from and where you're at. So it's important to do a chemistry check. That's why if I want to coach or mentor someone, we normally have just a coffee catch up or as don't catch up for half an hour just to see if we like each other and we gel together because this is really important as well.

Carrie (26:02.47)

That's so true. And again, I'm going back to I always say that knowing that we have such an amazing community. Communities are big and they're full of lots of different people and they're filled with lots of different business owners. And if you can think back to I don't know if you ever had your parents group or your mum's group, when you first had your child and you know, we have amazing, we had amazing support from local health services and providers, and they match you up with these groups. And some people, I'm always astounded, they keep those relationships going for literally their entire child's dependent lifetime, like 21 years, they're still friends and going strong. And then others just fall apart because you're like, you're just a bit too helicopter parenting for me, or your styles don't mesh, like you said, the chemistry.

Hana Ayoub 00:22:49:00 - 00:23:21:10

Because I haven't experienced the mums groups, because my my two kids were both born in Jordan, so we didn't have that. And my maternity leave was 70 days and still is in Jordan. So a completely different experience, Carrie. But I hear you even from socializing with the school mums. When I came to Australia, my son was four years old and my daughter was ten months and some months, you know, in the year three having tutoring for their kids and the opposite. So let the kids be and they would be okay, that's cool. And you know, touch wood they've done very well. So I hear you, you know, some months. Yes, we had the relationship when the kids were little, kindergarten and they have playdates. But then you kind of grow apart as the kids grow. But yeah, a chemistry check is really important in a lot of relationships and business as well. Like even if I look at a partner doing a partnership with anyone, they again, they might bring great experience, but if we don't gel as people, it's really, really important because that's someone that you're going to give a part of your business to or get a part of their business with you yourself. You need to make sure that you can enjoy their company. You're going to be dealing with them a lot. And when you, you know, let's say you're doing the split equity or whatever it is, you can't just, you know, say to them, I don't like you move on. It's it's a relationship. You really need to do your due diligence and making sure that you get to know them a little bit as human beings and you know that you can deal with it. We can enjoy a drink with after work.

Lucy (28:42.843)

Great advice. Hannah, my last question for you is all about a word that we use a lot here at Mums & Co which is harmony, which is the word we use to describe a triangle of our ambition, livelihood and wellbeing. Can you describe what the shape of a great life looks like for you?

00:24:49:20 - 00:25:20:04

Hana Ayoub

I love the word harmony and I journal often and you know, I remember a couple of years ago , I wrote in one of my journals that what I want to achieve in my life is harmony, which means I look at life as a wheel you then you have your family, you have your own love relationships, you have friends, you have work, money and wellbeing. So to achieve harmony, it's you want to fill the wheel from all aspects. And I've seen it in the corporate world. I know I was guilty of it a certain stage weight he spent, you know, nights working, you driving your career till 8:00, 9:00 at night on your laptop and you feel, you know, certain relationships might be impacted negatively or you might not spend enough quality time with your kids and your health. You're not going to the gym or you're not eating properly because you're just going for a quick fix of sugar. And I've realised luckily quickly, that it doesn't serve. So sometimes we think when we spend too much time on one thing, that means we're improving and bettering that thing, whether it's health, whether it's career, whether it's relationship. So that's where I believe harmony comes from. Ensuring and doing a self audit on a weekly basis. Have I go to the gym because I spend quality time with the people that matter the most. That means partners, kids and the close people in your circle. Have I given my work and business enough time? And if the answer is no to any of those as to how quickly you pivot and make sure and adjust and make sure that you give the right time to then do that part of your life that you haven't. So, you know, self audit is really important. Harmony. It's not about creating wealth and making a lot of money, but at the end of the day, you're lonely and you're not spending quality time, whether with your partner or your kids or the close friends that really matter to you. So for me, that's where, you know, back to the previous question about balance, that's where you do check - Where am I spending most of my time and, you know, being conscious about, you know, am I spending time on TV or scrolling on Instagram or sometimes I allow myself, if you know what, I'm going to spend half an hour just scrolling and watching television. So that's where harmony comes from. And harmony comes from also working on self from within. So if you're constantly internally conflicted and you are not sure about your priorities, you're unhappy and dissatisfied in certain aspects of your life, that's going to be very difficult to bring harmony. And that's where you eliminate sometimes certain tasks from your life and sometimes certain people from your life to reach that harmony. Because for me it's all about surrounding yourself with positive people, positive beauty and, you know, people who's going to really bring and add something to your life, whether at work or in business or in personal relationship. It's not what brings harmony. It's also a DNA check.

Lucy (32:33.335)

Beautiful answer. Thank you for sharing all of that Hannah.  

00:28:20:19 - 00:28:45:23

Carrie Kwan

Thanks so much for joining us on my mission in the podcast today. Now, if you'd like to find Hana, you can jump onto our Mums and co member platform and find her on the mums and co membership directory. Become a Mums and Co member via the link in the show Notes on mumsandco.com.au to a year as well as look at any of our tiers of membership, which support you at every stage of business and motherhood. And if you enjoyed today's podcast, please write in review us. Lucy and I love reading your reviews and your feedback. It also means that more women in business can be supported, and they can tap into these ambitious stories to inspire and inform them.

Child question
What’s your favourite meal from your childhood?

00:29:02:12 - 00:29:36:14

Hana Ayoub

In Jordan, we have this beautiful dish. It's so zucchini and vine leaves filled with minced meat and rice cooked together and it's absolutely delicious. And I don't cook it very often because it takes a lot of time. So when I do it, it's kind of a celebration for the kids, probably once a year, because sitting down, filling the vine leaves with rice and beans and fold them and roll them one by one. It does take a lot of time. So that's one of my absolutely favourite meals that I cook for the kids.