If you want to see change in the world, you have to be that change first – Sara Al Madani

Category: Asia Events

SiGMA and AIBC ambassador, Dr Sara Al Madani took to the AIBC Asia stage at the SMX Convention Centre today to discuss the importance of social change and the long-term journey towards creating real impact. 

Sara initiates her keynote with an introduction to social change, sharing her nearly 20 year personal journey on social media as a change maker. She highlighted the awkwardness of taking a group of people out of their culture, away from their everyday norms that they ‘have been marinating in for such a long time.’

“A lot of people who want to create social change and social impact expect that actions will lead to instant results. They get upset and they give up when the change doesn’t happen immediately,” she suggests.

She explains that when she first got started, she was focused exclusively on entrepreneurship – how to start a business, how to invest, how to raise capital – but six years ago her message changed into a deeper conversation. The truth is, she says, what’s needed is not an external factor, but internal.

“I speak about deeper things rooted internally within us.  How to take care of your mind, body, and soul, how to take care of your spirit so you can be better at business, so you can be better at all the things that happen around you.”

Passion, she highlights, is the first thing you need to do when you want to create a social impact. “You need to know what you are into, what you love, what you want to change”

My mission was to show people that they’re not hostages of their own culture and that they should break out of their culture so they can be free. The permission they need to do such a thing is not an external permission from society – it’s a permission that you need to give yourselves.”

She emphasises that everything she now does on social media is about this. Teaching people the value of freedom,  the value of being an open minded person, that, as she puts it – you’re just a hostage of your own thoughts. 

“Culture is just peer pressure from the grave. We are serving and we are following rules created by a certain group of people that no longer exist, who lived in a different lifetime. I’m going to show everyone that it’s okay to be an Arab from Dubai and to be completely different and an individual of your own. And I wanted that to be my social impact.” 

Nonetheless, it wasn’t easy. She was attacked a lot, with many challenging what she stood for, what she did. Many were women who took umbrage with her alternative choice, criticising her for not representing her culture. However, she is adamant that you shouldn’t be discouraged – despite hurdles from people who may try to stand in your way.

“But I kept on going on and on and on, until the people who attacked me are now embracing my message. So, when you want to create a social impact, you have to be patient. You can’t give up. You have to keep going and going until you bring the result you need.” 

How do you do it? Pick something you believe in and that you love and search out other individuals who are like minded and share your perspective, she recommends. 

“Make plans and don’t give up on these plans. Now I surround myself with like minded people who think the same way, so we can all create a social impact together.” 

She goes on to explain that this is something which can be applied to organisations as well. Although many ‘talk the talk, but don’t want to walk the walk’. 

“We’re the cool kids on the block, you know, but the truth is, the only way an organisation can actually create social impact is by embedding this message in the company’s DNA, which means if you want your employees, your management to embody this, it has to be an integral part of your company’s identity.”

She concludes by emphasising how vital it is to cherish your values and morals. For Sara, social media is her gateway to create social impact and educate the people around her.

“If we’re not impacting the world, if we’re not changing the world, why are we existing? You have to keep fighting for it. Don’t give up. And you will slowly see change happen. Because if change happens fast, people will fight you. There will be a conflict.”

“If you want to see change in the world, you have to be that change first. So the first question you ask yourself is, the change I want to create or influence, am I that change? Do I represent that change?”

Budapest, Hungary event


Budapest, Hungary

02 - 04 September 2024