Her Highness Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassemi was born into royalty, but that doesn’t mean she was fed with a golden spoon.
“Being from the royal family didn’t mean being rich 50 years ago,” she explains to The CEO Magazine. “If you had an education, if you had a business, you’d be well off. If you didn’t, you’d have to struggle.
“Sometimes you’d be Prince of the land, but you wouldn’t have the wealth. You’d need to have the brains to back it up.”
With two master’s degrees, courses completed at Sorbonne Business School and Harvard University, a PhD in the works and a number of businesses including her adored By Hend perfume brand, the Emirati princess is highly motivated.
With her father a pioneer medical doctor in the region and her mother the first college graduate school principal, pushing through the boundaries runs in Her Highness’s blood. But it wasn’t always the way with the women in her family.
“My mother was raised by a lady that couldn’t read,” she shares. “When she was happy that her daughters were settled and everything was fine, she taught herself to read at the age of 50 – I remember when the teacher would come to her [when I was] a child.”
Wanting to read the letters of the orphans she’d adopted all over the world, the princess’s grandmother didn’t let age stop her from learning to read or write, proving to be a powerful influence.
“It was very inspiring growing up with people like this,” she says.
Journalist, international bestselling author, a magazine published in a number of languages including Russian, Italian and Spanish, and business owner are just some of the ventures the philanthropist has explored.
“People think that businesspeople are born with a golden spoon in their mouth or they got lucky on the lottery,” she shares. “There are people that have won the lottery, spent the money and went back to being poor.
“But there are people that worked on their visions and they continue to work on their vision – that’s what makes things different.”
Just as the world’s leading family offices and private investors gathered at Sir Anthony Ritossa’s 12th Global Family Office Investment Summit under the High Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum in Dubai to discuss new opportunities for a greater world, businesspeople can have an impact simply through travel.
While international jetsetting may have come to a halt this year, Sheikha Hend believes travel is crucial to becoming a highly educated, well-rounded person.
“The UAE is a melting pot of cultures with this Bohemian vibe,” she says. “Europeans or Americans would travel to Hong Kong or Vietnam, but when they come back, they would have to stop in Arabia or Africa then go back home to the Western world.
“Living in an Eastern culture for so long leaves its fingerprints on you. You take the memories, you take the scent, you take the food, you take the interior and you become more worldly.
“People like these who travel more, have a wider vision. You become more global and you have a wider vision of tomorrow’s future. They become more innovative.”
It’s this nugget of innovation that truly sets one concept apart from the multibillion-dollar business idea.
As it becomes increasingly easier to launch companies, the Emirati princess believes entrepreneurs shouldn’t waste their time unless it helps the future of the world.
“They need to find something they love and pursue it,” she says. “But at the same time, I’m saddened how everyone’s becoming a repeat case.
“We have enough burger joints and coffee shops and fashion labels. Find a niche for yourself. Go to basic economics: demand and supply.
“It needs to be something that would better humanity, better the world.”
Just as the philanthropist’s perfume brand By Hend strives to make you feel stronger, it’s Sheikha Hend’s way of making a positive impact on the world.
“When you smell that perfume, you feel stronger, more confident, more energetic,” she says. “You can feel your confidence growing when you’re nervous.
“When you are strong, you glow. You know what you are, you know exactly what you don’t want. People respect that.”