Fatma & Aulona – The power of women to change the world
By Megi Hodo
Fatma and Aulona are two of the most successful journalists in Albania. They have achieved so much not only on television and their careers but also in business and their personal life. During the last years they have established a great profile in social media as influencers. They have access to a huge audience and attract many viewers consistently and motivate others to be successful. They have been included in many social initiatives , especially the ones focused on women’s rights. They believe that the power of successful women comes from self-esteem, freedom, and the ability to create a success step by step. Read their interview and be inspired!
Fatma and Aulona, two of the most successful journalists, not only on television but also in business and they personal life. Do you consider yourselves as powerful women?
Aulona : First of all, thank you for your appreciation and the kind words. In this moment of my life, I can definitely say that I consider myself a strong woman, bearing in mind my achievement in personal and professional life. I think that the most important thing that makes a woman strong is freedom: freedom of thought, expression, action. Freedom brings independence and an independent woman is always powerful.
All my life I have fought hard to be independent: from adolescence and early youth, I have been at “war” and constantly struggling to gain independence from my family. I started working at the age of 20, even though I lived in a family that could satisfy my every need. I had a big desire and joy to earn my own income, overwhelmed with the mentality that existed in our country that “when your family has a good income you do not have to work”.
All my life I have tried to grow and develop as a person, first mentally and spiritually, and then obviously as a professional journalist. I had the principle that I should always do the things I want, without compromising: that would alienate me and make my life unhappy.
Today I have everything I want: a wonderful family, which is the thing that gives me happiness, a job that I love and work with all my passion.
I have the opportunity to pursue my hobbies and passions, which now are also the source of income. I have created a broad community of girls, women, but also boys who follow me, love and believe in things that I say, do,and I am a role- model for them.
So to give the answer in the short way: Yes, I’m a powerful woman!
Fatma :I am grateful for the above specifications. I think that to be a successful woman, it’s not necessarily to be a businesswoman or to be a public figure or have a lot of millions in your bank account. No!
I know women with successful careers, with lots of money, wearing expensive clothes and accessories, but not in peace with themselves. The power of successful women comes from self-esteem, freedom, and the ability to create a success after every failure.
For me, a successful women is also a woman who has Priority only to take care of her family. Sincerely taking care for your family is a constant, endless commitment, but in fact “undervalued” and taken for granted as a good service because it is not paid in material value.To be honest, at this point of my life I am a successful women but still have a lot to achieve.
What do you think makes a successful leader? And in particular women leaders?
Aulona : For me communication is the key of any successful relationship. I had the good fortune, but also the bad luck, to become a leader at a very young age. At the age of 22 I took on the role of editor-in-chief for one of the largest newspapers in the country at that time, called “Paloma”. It was a very big responsibility, but I’m glad I succeeded. From day one to now, my principle has been the same: a successful leader holds around people who share the same philosophy. People growing up together, people learning from each other. A successful leader does not suffer from inferiority complex and does not need at any time to tell his employees that he knows more than they do, that he is superior to them, that he is worth more than them. To me, a leader must know how to be empathetic, maintain his position as a leader, but not turn his back on his employees when they need him/her. I am happy to hear my ex-employees saying: “Best boss ever! It was a big pleasure working with you!”
Fatma : Respect for yourself and for others! When you have this status, the responsibility is also heightened. Automatically, you are not only a job leader but also a role model. I am very glad that in our newsroom we hire young boys and girls and now they have outstanding careers across the most famous broadcasters in Albania.
A successful leader, besides growing himself constantly, has the responsibility to improve the staff not only professionally but – why not – to be better people in their communities.
Have you had a ‘role model’ that helped you build what you are today?
Aulona: I think this may seem like a cliché answer, but the only “role model” for me has been my mother. I think every good characteristic I holdcomes from her. I have always adored her love for freedom and independence. She has always been an open-minded woman, when in our country it was not easy to be such. But at the same time there were some strong rules and values that brought me up, and I am thankful for this. I have always admired her. Even now that she is 60 years old, you can always find her with a book in her hands, because she thinks that there is always something new to learn and study. Certainly she is the example that inspired me and she will inspire me until in the end of my life.
Fatma: Definitely my mother! For me she has been, and will be, the person who inspires me in every moment of my life. She was in the same time, a women in career, (as a head chef at our restaurant), and always present in family, as a devoted wife and a lady who respected everyone. My mom taught me to share my goodness with others; she taught me modesty, perseverance, ambition and love for myself. But I can’t leave without mentioning my father,who is my hero. He has sacrificed his life dozens of times for us to have a pleasant livelihood. Definitely he is a born like a risk taker; he is an artist and in the art world I am thankful for his genes. He has taught me not to be afraid of the unknown, of new possibilities and above all to respect everyone from the woman who maintains the streets of the city to the President. Work is sacred and whoever works is honored regardless of income.
Is everything that you gave today, all that you have dreamt of in your childhood?
Aulona: Not really. Sincerely, I can’t remember clearly what I dreamt of during in my childhood. I think all I wanted at that time was to have lots of Barbies until in the end of my life (hahaha). Then in my teens I started to love the screen and the spectacle world, but I was too shy to be part of this world.Yet my inner voice convinced me that I belong to this world. Thanks to the freedom, and everything that my mother gave to me, now I have realised my dream.
Fatma: Partially. I dream every day, so every day starts with new goals to be achieved. People should not only dream in childhood, but always.
If you tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?
Aulona : Don’t be afraid to take the risks! I am a little bit shy, and the idea of being part of the business world scared me.
But in the last few years things have changed, and I have learned how to use all my potential and skills in business, eventually making me happy.
Fatma:You deserve the best! In the world of television, you every day you meet people who try to downplay you, and to maintain a high self-esteem level you need to be strong. Everything starts with appreciating yourself and saving your energy! Don’t let anyone take your energy for granted and say you’re not able to do what you love. If this happens, don’t worry: you must know that your responsibility is just to follow your dreams.
What would be your advice for women who are building careers and aspire being successful in television?
Aulona: It’s never too late to realise your dreams!
This is a message not only for girls and women who aspire television.
Every girl and woman, in every age, should not give up their dreams and doing what they love to do.
For the girls and women who aspire television and journalism, I have to say that the most important thing is to be smart.
We live in a world where every day the marketing industry serve us models of girls and women who have prioritise appearance. For me, being successful is to know how to be balanced in everything.
This does not mean that the appearance should be neglected: on the contrary.However, balance is the key. This is my motto in life. I think a woman doesn’t have to choose to be beautiful, or smart. I think a woman should choose to be both beautiful and smart, but also many other things together, sexually, humorously, seductively, independently, nonchalantly, but also very responsive at the same time… a woman must be free to choose whatever she wants!
Fatma: One of my tips of being a successful woman in professional life is ‘balance’. A successful woman must know how to keep her balance in life by giving the same importance to work, society, parents, colleagues, passions, etc.
Of course we have moments when one responsibility takes more priority than the others, but it is still important to be vigilant not to break the balance.
What do you think is key to finding a successful work-life balance?
Aulona: Exactly what I said above: Balance! To know how to organise your day in such a way as to make things easier for yourself. I think good organisation is the key to everything. We organise time for ourselves, for family, for work, for society. (Sometimes I would like to have a clone but this is another issue).
Fatma: Vigilance!To keep the key of balance you must be vigilant in very moment. If you have a situation that takes you a lot of time and this time does not translate into productivity, it’s better to skip that situation. Don’t be surrounded by people who are not giving you positive energy. This is not selfishness or arrogance, it is just an appreciation to conserve your energy. Negative energy obviously brings a lot of problems, even related to health.Save your energy! If you are surrounded by people who help you grow and share your positive energy, then consider yourself a lucky person!
During your career, has there been moments when you thought that being a man would make things easier? Have you encountered gender discrimination?
Aulona : Hmmm look, in a country like Albania I think there is no woman who has not thought of this at least once in their life; if I were a boy I would have had it easier. However I have always been a feminist and very proud to be a woman, so even in those cases where I may be prejudiced about this fact, I have done my best to show them that they were wrong.
Fatma: In fact, in a distinctly patriarchal country like Albania it is difficult to be a girl. I have never wanted to be a boy and have never dreamed of the power, physicality or freedom of a boy. I wanted to fight to reach my heights as a girl and I got it. I think it doesn’t matter what genitalia you have; we decide with our heads and hearts. The sooner we set the excuses aside, the sooner we will take the power to direct our lives, even in a masculine and patriarchal country like Albania. But I’m sorry for something, and maybe this is the only moment I don’t feel comfortable “as a girl”. It’s the moment when we go back home alone at night, or somewhere where there are no people. It is a pity that all over the world, not only in my country. In 2019 girls still do not have the necessary security to return home at night alone.
Where there is success there is also failure. How did you react to a failure situation?
Aulona: If failure comes to my fault, I admit. I analyse what has gone wrong, what needs to be improved, learn lessons and try to do better next time. If failure comes from external circumstances, or because of other people, I don’t deny that there are times I feel powerless, bored or even angry, but overall I’m very optimistic so at the end of the day I always think that after every failure, comes success.
Fatma : For me failures are part of the path to success. We make a mistake of calling them failures: I think of them as lessons. Of course when you’re new to something and don’t know it properly, wrong choices could lead to blow up of the work of many years. But this is the beauty of life: the suspense, the unexpected. I think the “failures” are the right adrenaline to step up again and get to success, so don’t be afraid. Whenever you fail, remember that you are very close to success,so never give up.
What’s your own personal mantra which you would like to share with our readers
Aulona: I think girls and women should never give up their freedoms. They should not be afraid to say their opinion, express, or act, just because they are women. Mothers should raise girls embracing the idea of equality, with the idea that being a woman doesn’t make you less powerful than a man.
Fatma: My mantra is: “Handle it like a woman”.
We know as standard expression “Handle it like a man” but handle it like a woman, it’s more powerful, more classy, gentle, with all your passion and all the commitment a woman can afford. Handle it like a real woman, lady: in lipstick, chopstick; high heels, sneakers, or whatever. These things do not identify us, we are beyond that, we are magic that is why every time we do what we love, we create magic!