16 May Inspiring Women: Nouf
Nouf makes me laugh. She has that uncanny ability to turn every story or anecdote into bursts of laughter and giggles.
She’s in her early 60’s, a mother of eight, a grandmother, a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, a traveler, a foodie and so much more. Every time I see her, she has new ideas, new plans, new projects. She’s very active with her family, business and community.
I find her story fascinating.
Nouf comes from a small village outside of Riyadh. She has shared with me stories of her childhood, her family and growing up in the 50’s. Her mother was illiterate yet open minded, very generous. The house was always open and welcoming.
She got married at 18, right after graduating from high school. After the children were born, she decided to start her own business and go back to school. Her husband, slightly older and a businessman himself, approved but warned her it would be at her own risk. She had to fund her studies and business. He would support her but not back her up.
So she took up the challenge. Went back to school, learned, made some mistakes and bad investments but step by step her business grew. Eventually things turned out well. She is very proud to say today she did it all by herself. She’s the owner of several boutiques, cafes and restaurants, a gym, a salon. But she’s also engaged in the community to help disabled children…she seems unstoppable.
I admire that energy, her desire to go forward and improve, to learn, and to grow. I enjoy her stories and benevolent humor about people around her. Never arrogant nor judgmental.
She can be very casual, in gym clothes and no make-up. On other occasions she can be regal in dressed up attire.
I love seeing her taste and enjoy food with gusto and then tap her belly and laugh, saying she needs to do something about that.
But mostly I love her love for her country, people, culture and religion. Her acceptance of the “new generation” as she calls it (including her children) who want a different kind of lifestyle. I love her tolerance of different choices and opinions.
She’s a lady. A real inspiration to women of all generations.