Sept. 14, 2021

10. Dr Hynd


Hear from Hynd Bouhia PhD, Founder and CEO of consulting firm Strategica. Dr Hynd is the author of an inspirational book about female empowerment, African Girl, African Woman. You will hear about her journey in which she followed a rare path as a North African woman in getting an engineering degree in France and a PhD from Harvard. She went to to work with the World Bank, the Prime Minister of Morocco and was the managing director of the Casablanca Stock Exchange. Be sure to listen to the very end of the episode for bonus material.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hynd-bouhia-phd-0289a3a3/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hayahynd.bouhia/
Book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08Z8FQ6H5?notRedirectToSDP=1&ref_=dbs_mng_calw_0&storeType=ebooks
Website: http://www.strategica.ma/

A transcription of each episode, as well as guest profiles and much more, is available on our website www.sondership.com

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Transcript

Hynd:

Hynd is perfect, Bouhia. It's easy. You know what to say Dr. Hynd. Okay, let me grab a copy of my book so that if I have to talk about it, I have it, okay, here I am.

Danny:

Welcome to the Sondership podcast, I'm your host, Danny Attias. The Sondership podcast is all about hearing inspiring stories from people, with purpose. Hynd is currently the CEO of Strategica an international firm, specializing in strategic studies and economic intelligence in Africa and also the Middle East. During her career, she has worked in the World Bank, been an economic advisor to the Prime Minister of Morocco, been the Director General of the Casablanca Stock Exchange and a Professor of sustainable development, climate change and economic growth Dr. Hynd has a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University, as well as a PhD in environmental engineering and economic development from Harvard university. As if that wasn't enough to keep her busy, Hynd is a mother of four and she has a strong desire to serve, to share her knowledge and experience with a billion women around the world. She has published two motivational books, "African Girl, African Women" and Filles et Femmes de lAfrique Moderne as an inspiration to every young woman to show them how agile empowered and tech savvy females will transform the continent of Africa for good. Dr. Hynd is on a mission to empower women, to grow confident, resilient, tech savvy, and financially free

Hynd:

Thank you Danny. so nice to see you to talk with you. What an amazing introduction. I'm impressed myself.

Danny:

The Sondership podcast is based on this concept of sonder. It's that realization that everyone has their own story playing in their heads, their highs, their lows, their aspirations, and their dreams. Just like you have your own story. It's that realization that there are so many other stories as well as your own. So Hynd, tell us your earliest or most impactful sonder moment.

Hynd:

I love that. I love the sound, you know, it sounds so scientific. So it puts me back to my real environment I grew up as a girl in science and loving engineering and tech and in the seventies, and eighties, where you had very few girls go into those fields and even aspiring to do anything in those fields. My whole life and all my stories are built in me to become somebody who contributes to development and contributes to bettering life of people around me. And this has been the case from the youngest age. I traveled the world and I looked around and I'm always mesmerized and amazed about what a difference you make in people's life when you come with the projects on water, you come on a project on electricity. My life has been this images of children, smiling and happy because something, you came up to them either in a rural area on the top of a mountain. and you've seen that any just, you cannot not affect your life and transform you inside. So I, I mean, I, if anybody, I urge everyone. In fact, I mean, I'll always say to people, just travel, look around, go discover how people are around the world. Making people happy and seeing a smile in a face is just priceless. And that comes with, um, the law for development, for inclusion, for equity, for providing access to the basics to everyone around the world. Whenever I go anywhere, I love to walk, I love to see what's happening in the far away places, where they don't even have the access to infrastructure or access to basics. And, um, and that changes me every time I go out, it just makes me happy.

Danny:

What a wonderful opportunity to be able to see the direct impact of the work that you're doing. In all of your travels and all of your experiences do any of those specific instances really jump out and stand in your mind?

Hynd:

Yes, I do. I remember, um, when I was working at the World Bank and I joined the World Bank because of my love and my passion for development and what is my passion coming from is being in from Morocco, which is an immersion country. We grew up knowing that there is a developed world and there is us, the other part of the world. And so this, I don't want to say it as a discrimination, but it just not the right balance of economic and financial power and geostrategic power. Yeah. You know, make me realize that I want to learn more so that I can transfer the technology and transfer to know-how so that my country reached that level. That's what had motivated me. So the image that had really striked me, I remember I was at the World Bank, I was young because I joined word bank quite young just after my PhD. And I, I was working on, uh, development projects, so we actually go to the field to see what we do in, and I was working on project on water infrastructure and it. was the, um, during the late nineties so a lot of country strategies were based on getting a hundred percent electrification and getting access to potable water to every, every side of a country. So I say even the most remote areas and so we went to, I was with the vice-president to visit some of the villages where we were inaugurating a water pump, getting potable water, and it just, I could not, I mean, after now I see the kids around it and chanting and just so happy. To see how it makes a difference and you, you know, when you ask them, you're like, my life changed because they didn't have an electricity and now they have. They didn't have water pumps and now, they have it. So, you know, the basics, people don't realize when you're far away in your beautiful office, in the best city that anything could make, you can do as small as just, you know, this is nothing investment compared to big things can make a whole difference in someone's life. And that's smile of kids and if a woman that is so happy that she can actually cook nicely in her house, have lights, have the children's study around the lights. There was nothing you can describe that could be more powerful than that.

Danny:

That's a really wonderful image to have, in fact, it brings to mind the front cover of your book, African girl, African woman, which we'll we'll talk about later.

Hynd:

Absolutely

Danny:

And Hynd you're based in Morocco and you talk about bringing a hundred percent electrification and what springs to mind is the incredible work that Morocco is doing right now on solar energy and really is trying to be one of the world's leaders in, the production of renewable energy through solar power and that's a huge change in, in just a 20 year period.

Hynd:

So yes, a lot of big big development, and jumps I would say it's really springboarding access to renewable to water has been realized a Morocco and in Africa and I think it's amazing. Right now I like to focus more on the access to health and education. What we have gone through made us realize how much investment we still need in terms of health infrastructure, and access to health, to everyone and so the struggle is not over. I think, you know, it's an ongoing fight to reach uh sustainability, and that's not just for Maroc. It's all around the word and education. and that's what bring, I mean, you mentioned the book and the book is really emphasizing on how it is just not acceptable today that we still have 60 million girls not going to school. It's just not acceptable. I mean, we cannot be in 2021 and we still have know that, you know, there are some girls sitting at home and not having that chance to create a life that they are born deserving and just having the rights to do that.

Danny:

And this is so prominent right now across the world in terms of visibility of everything that's happening in Afghanistan and the return of a Taliban into control. And it's really at the front of people's minds, this access to education, particularly for girls is so crucially important. So Hynd you're from Morocco. Uh, I assume your parents are

Hynd:

Yes, they are Tunisia and Morocco.

Danny:

okay. So my parents actually are also from Tunisia and

Hynd:

Yeah.

Danny:

So we have, we have, uh, another connection.

Hynd:

you go back there, have you gone back?

Danny:

Have not been to Tunisia, but I have visited Egypt. In fact I visited Morocco around 20 years ago in 2001. Uh, and I was mountain biking for a week and it was just absolutely incredible. We got time to spend in the Atlas mountains. And we rode through the small villages. We got time to spend with those families and, and eat with them and lodge with them. It was just a wonderful experience of such a beautiful country. And so coming back to your education Hynd, when did you first travel abroad?

Hynd:

I went abroad when I was accepted in the top engineering school in France. It was not an easy thing because at the time we don't really let girls go study abroad. Usually you just stay home and you get married and, you know, you have a very clear life that you need to follow. But, um with the help of my professors and they kind of convinced my parents to let me go and I went to Paris to do my industrial engineering in focusing again on technology and development, how you transfer that and how you make that happen in at the first of the word and then I went on to Harvard after that.

Danny:

What a great opportunity and as you say, very rare for women in engineering, specifically, North African women in engineering. How did that feel? You must've been very much in the minority when you're in these courses, when you were doing these degrees. As an international woman, studying engineering, how did that feel and what does that, how did that make you think?

Hynd:

Well, you always feel you're the only one, or maybe you have two or three other girls with you. So, and that means you have more pressure to work harder to do. And yourself more and not to let them anyone down, because it's almost, you know, that if you don't do well, you'd have someone telling you, oh, I told you, you, knew that so that I told you that makes you carry a guilt and, and a big luggage. That frankly, if you don't understand how spirits work And, the mind work, that will always be there holding you down as a ceiling that you've set to yourself because of culture and traditions and society and family. So you work harder, you prove yourself more and you just put more, more pressure on you. I mean, I th luckily things have changed. I mean, you know, to them today, the word is global. You know, everybody is going to study abroad. There are more girls into engineering, into science and, and that's, that's the trend we want to. We want to accelerate, uh, and see more happen, uh, everywhere. Um, so, but, and the funny part is that when they look at the analysis of grades and studies, girls are doing really well, even better than uh, boys or men in the scientific world yet uh, we still don't have a completely equal opportunities and equal places.

Danny:

And that's something that you're trying to do something about.

Hynd:

That's what I'm working on. I want to tell girls, you know, to choose STEM, you want to be powered leader. You need to go into tech because that's the way you will be part of the digital transition and the world is living and we saw that more with COVID and now in Africa, you see it happening. So they have to jump into this trend and be a full part of it. When you don't want to disappoint anyone and you have everybody watching you just to say, okay, she didn't do it. You know, we told her we weren't and that little voice, it just with you forever and that's why you want to do more, you want to prove more, you want to help more and you feel guilty and you feel, you want to give more in return as well to have everybody, uh, happy with your achievements and what you've reached. I don't think when we are young, we realize that, but after having gone through many experiences and challenges that, you understand that after all you didn't have to put that much pressure on yourself because everything is okay.

Danny:

So after you finished your education. You then move to the World Bank. Is that right? You specifically focusing around finance and strategy. Tell us a little bit about that.

Hynd:

Well, after my PhD, I went to the World Bank in Washington, so actually we lived in Washington for a few years and it was working on development projects in Latin America and Southeast asia, it was very interested in, um, looking into what the World Bank does to help the poorest areas. And so I was doing a project on poverty in Laos and also in other countries. and I was intrigued by, um, you know, the the mission is so honorable and is so needed, what is it that, that, how do they do it? And so that was my, my, focus. So I throughout in my career, I mean, you can see it. I was always driven by what I love really and what I love to learn and how I can contribute to more. So development have been the tread that goes from the beginning to the end and I started by understanding how we defined strategies, uh, the government level, a local level, and also how to implement that, um, and see the projects being realized and how you account for that. So, so I, you know, that was in, in Washington. And then I came back home back to Morocco where I joined the Prime Minister's office. Working on the higher level strategies, because that's what I learned how to do for many years at the World Bank and because I understand, and once you set up the right vision, the right perspective, you can translate that into actions,at the national level, at the local level and, at the micro level. And, uh, once you realize that it's not just the public sector that provide and do the changes on its own, the private sector needs to come in and so I went And stood. How does the private sector come in. What's missing in this whole equation is money, if you don't have finance, you don't know how to raise funds and how can you make any change. And that's how you find my in finance in trying to understand how investment works, how the financial flows function and what is it that drives all this amazing sphere, because, but ultimately what's intrigues me is when you walk in Vietnam and you see a smiling face of somebody who has just has a minimum of, you know, just being able to have his land and sell the rice or someone in Brazil or anywhere, you know, Making a difference in, someone's life and that's just priceless. Priceless.

Danny:

Ah, these smiling faces again, you, you keep coming back to these smiling faces, which is just so wonderful.

Hynd:

Yes, isn't that amazing? See it in their eyes, it's just mesmerizing, that's energy, that power. And it's all related, tell how you worked in Washington on a strategy and how the government did it and how the private sector got involved and how the finance made it all happen so that you can see that smile in that person's face.

Danny:

I'm just in awe about how you're in this position where you're helping a country define their strategy and you're able to, see through that strategy all the way down to that smiling child or that smiling family and really making a difference.

Hynd:

You know why, you know why Danny, because if you don't know, what's your goal, you don't even know how to get to that. That's how you really define your inner mission and when you do what you really love and you visualize it, it just makes it easier, effortless.

Danny:

So as a young lady, you're being driven because you're in the minority, and your ambition is fueling your success in these fields. And, and clearly you have succeeded. So I'm hearing amazing opportunities, amazing education, amazing job. Where, where are the low points? Where are the, where are the hard points? Because it, it almost sounds too easy.

Hynd:

Danny, it's all hard points, it's all tough, it's all sitting and now when you're women and nobody's listening to you, but you're still there and you believe in yourself so that you don't not let them hitch your self-image inside you. That is this resilience and what I wrote through this books that I wrote it's because I have gone through so many struggles and my own pain, being in a finance world with sharks that are just, you know, they're just there to destroy and grow and you have to be in it and to grow. So I came back home one day when it was just the lowest part uh, net tech. I mean, just the toughest, uh, thing you can imagine in any profession or anywhere in fact, we go through, uh, obstacles, challenges, uh, failures, pain in anything. Every one of us have gone through something that just it's a setback. And it's either you let that setback take you in a vicious circle, down to the deepest of a well, and what have helped me come up, come back up again is when I came home and I looked at my girls and I'm like, I will not give up because I want a better life for my children and for every girl in the world. And that's how I wrote this book. It's really a message. I wrote it from my heart to every girl to tell her that no matter what happens, keep your, uh, your head up and carry on working towards her dream and her goal and believe in what she, her mission is and whatever she loves doing because when you believe it's so well and you get the skills and you have the tools, there is nothing to stop you. And it's all about building that resilience inside you. Which is great because I can tell you now why I have embarked in the mission to really reach out a billion girls and women and to give them that strength, that little something that they need so that they can carry on. And this is not what they learn at the universities or at the schools. It's just the tools I put together and I'm doing that as a masterminds for women using a method that I set up, which is to believe in themselves, to act on what they believe in using access to financial intelligence, to strategic tools, to strategic skills, to empowering their, their selves.

Danny:

And when you say mastermind, is that a kind of masterclass

Hynd:

Yes, it is masterclass for accomplished woman who are looking to get empowered and become empowered leaders and build their legacy. But in the same time, stay aligned where with their, in their calm and center. And it's easy because when you are able to find the power from within, you can reach, create, and design the life of your dream and reach the mission that you have.

Danny:

That's wonderful, and when you said earlier that you are, you're working as an advisor to the Prime Minister, how, how do you operate in that really male dominated environment? Assuming it is male dominated.

Hynd:

Well, it's like everywhere in the world, really. I mean, things are getting better now, hey, we still have, well, there's still some work to be done, but you know, we are, it's always encouraging. I mean, we need some more of this woman models and role models and I talk about that a lot in the book and the book is amazing because you'll be surprised how many role models are out there. And it just for women too, to see them to see how they go through their lives, it has not been easy. They all have gone through, challenges struggles, but they kept on believing, and what they do because their objective is genuine is to make the world a better place and when you understand that, then, you know, you're unstoppable really

Danny:

I really liked the voice that you write in, in your book. It really, it really speaks to, to me, uh, and maybe I'm not the, the, the target audience.

Hynd:

Well, it is really, we want that. It is, it is, it is really, we want men to contribute to the mission. It is talking to you, no it is, we do want to be part of the mission. It's not a movement. It's a whole word.

Danny:

You're you're absolutely right. And this is something that I've spoken about a few times on this podcast. It's a lot about now allyship it's about people who are in positions of privilege using that privilege. Not, not being embarrassed by it, but using it to get out, to reach and help other people to, give them a similar opportunity. I mean, we are all global citizens, we are sharing society, we are sharing the same planet and we've got to help each other.

Hynd:

Just it's so nice talking with you and it's so nice to find someone who really genuinelly wants to understand, this, the importance of, uh, women empowerment and, and preparing young girls and young women to become tomorrow's leaders and be part of the whole tech transition and the transformation that the world is going through. I mean, we do need free women to be part of it and every woman to help herself and to help another woman. I think that that's also another aspect that is extremely important is just to, just to feel that we are all part of a whole same mission to make the world a better place and there is room for everyone. It's, it's the spirit of abundance that needs to be more generalized.

Danny:

Thank you so much, Dr. Hynd for making the time to be on the Sondership Podcast. Tell our listeners how can they find out more about what you're doing and how can they, how can they get in touch with you or follow your work?

Hynd:

You can reach me through LinkedIn, the book is available on Amazon, "African girl, African women". I welcome in any women who feels like she needs just a little something to, to empower her, herself as a leader. Thank you so much Danny for this has been a pleasure and a delight chatting with you this morning and, uh, and I just love Sondership, it puts me back to a course that I had when I was growing up and I, I think it's amazing. I have a boy who's 14 and three girls, so I have a 12, nine and four and a half. So it's a fun, fun crew that I have at home I needed the love, you know, I needed the love, So I had to surround myself, but so much love we given, you know, how we feel good when we give and that's what people often miss is that we feel good because we give love. People think that, oh, she doesn't love me. She doesn't like me. That's not, I mean, you need to love yourself and give love, and it just, it's more kind of gifts, more. It comes back to you, that's how the universe work. So we share the law with everything, with everyone, through your podcast, through what you do, you just, we need more of that. We need more of, um, that's, you know, those positive vibes to embrace the whole world and embrace all of us. Yeah.

Dr. Hynd

Founder, Author & CEO

Dr. Hynd Bouhia has cumulated more than 20 years of professional experience in high-level leadership positions. She was nominated by Forbes among the 100 most influential women and most influential Arab women in Business (2015), and honored as a member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars (2018).

With a Harvard PhD, an Engineering degree from Centrale Paris, Hynd started her career at the World Bank in Washington before joining Morocco’s Prime Minister and Casablanca Stock Exchange as the Managing Director. She structured several investment funds before launching the consulting firm Strategica, and just published the inspirational and women empowerment book Africa Girl, African Woman.