Noura Benfarhat, Baker Hughes
Taylor Root is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2018. We have interviewed a selection of our female clients asking them how they are pressing forward for women's gender parity #pressforprogress
Taylor Root interviewed, Noura Benfarhat, General Counsel, Baker Hughes
If you could tell your younger self one thing what would it be and why?
Be patient. I have questioned myself many times on whether I have reached the right level in my career. Later I learned that there is no right timing, all comes at the right time with focus and dedication.
What action or decision are you most proud of making in your lifetime?
Pursuing the two jobs I always dreamed of when I was young. I worked as a cabin crew for few years before starting my career in the legal profession. Not quite the usual path to reach a general counsel position.
Describe one of your failures. What lessons did you learn, and how did it contribute to a greater success?
I once missed my flight and cancelled the family holiday because I fainted due to fatigue. I pushed myself over the limit trying to finish all my work before my leave. I learned from this experience that I should trust that things can still function without me being in the office, we can’t do everything alone and it is ok to ask for help. I now delegate more to the team, manage better stress and I don’t feel indispensable for work to get done smoothly.
If you had to start your career from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
I will add MBA to my academic achievements ... a legal mind with a business acumen can do wonders!
Of the people that inspire you, what character traits do they have which you admire?
Ability to be firm but kind ... Persistent but Reasonable.
If I were to ask people in your workplace for three adjectives that best describe you, what would they say?
Assertive, credible and trustworthy.
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
The feeling of making a difference and adding value no matter how small it is keeps me motivated.
If you were to be a mentor to someone within your profession, what one piece of advice would you give?
Always make room to have fun and enjoy life ... it is not all about work and career. Taking care of the family and give sufficient time to learn new things , will help you to excel and perform more efficiently.
What is your personal mantra?
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
How is gender parity being achieved in your profession and what do you think needs to be done to press for progress?
There is still a lot to be done to reach gender parity in the legal profession. We still see gaps in pay and lack of women in leading roles. We need to create a work environment that acknowledges the need to have a balanced life style and room to pursue a career and a family. Success in the legal profession is still measured by the number of hours clocked in in the office which is short sighted. We also need to implement firm rules on pay equality, promotion and career progression. The legal profession known to stand for what is right, is unfortunately falling behind.
What would you say the top 3 skills are needed in order to be successful in your industry?
A good business acumen, ability to build trust with your customers (whether internal or external) and perseverance.
What kind of legacy do you wish to leave behind?
Be compassionate. We should not forget from where we started before we reached leadership positions and offer help to others.
At the recent Golden Globes, Oprah delivered a moving speech which led to people talking about her running for president. If you had the choice to recommend a leader, who would it be and why?
We have leadership crisis in the world.. I would recommend my Mom as she always means what she says, she likes to help others with no financial gain and she is persistent to make things better for the wellbeing of all.