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By having more women in position of leadership we are changing the way business is done


Cambridge University Judge Business School  Executive MBA alumni, Gulnar Hasanova has been  awarded a silver Stevie International Business Award as Woman of the Year. As CEO of Azerbaijani’s Gilan Holding’s Retail Group, Gulnar Hasanova’s win was not just for her success in her professional space but for her courage and inspirational leadership in a business world dominated by men.


In Azerbaijan, women are underrepresented in high level jobs. However, in the past 18 months, women are, more and more, being better represented at the seat of decision making. Ms Hasanova is an example of a woman in a leadership role, who has paid her dues and is paving the way for more women leaders in Gilan Holding. She said, “being a leader is more than looking after a portfolio but stepping up to show others the way.

“I have 500 employees looking up to me. I want them to be inspired by what they can achieve when they put their mind to achieving their goals.

A great leader should be just as familiar with, and focused on, their people as the company’s finances.”

Last year, Gulnar Hasanova entered the Cambridge Executive MBA. While this decision adds to her professional credentials, she undertook this study to also set an example to all her employees.


“I want to create teams of people who love working together, the right people for the right task ultimately create a workplace culture that ensures staff are fully motivated to achieving their goals and the organisation’s goals,” she said.


“Our team has achieved a lot this year. By having more women in position of leadership we are changing the way business is done. We are showing that women can and do excel in business. “This year, I have mentored five women moving into senior leadership roles and with the team’s focus and help, we have increased the revenues across multiple businesses.”


“I have also motivated many other female employees across the holding. It has been exciting to watch these women excel in their roles and be promoted into leadership positions.”


Gulnar Hasanova’s achievement is because of her passion for people. With a background in human resources, her approach to building teams is sometime in conflict with the status quo. “You cannot have success without the team behind you. I am only one person and I need the right people to support me,” she said.

Read original interview here

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