Playbook is a global learning network that connects women professionals and their dream careers. In an exclusive interview with Founder and CEO Wafa Al Obaidat, she shared details about the company’s background and the importance of digital learning tools for their target audience and provided some important advice to women who want to step into their power.
Can you please share the story behind Playbook and its primary vision?
As a successful entrepreneur, I've launched and scaled businesses in different industries. I had never ventured into tech but was excited by its ability to grow fast and drive impact. Back in 2018, after an interesting experience at the World Economic Forum, I found myself creating a summit for women to learn and be inspired through shared storytelling. We did this to start the conversation on what needs to be done for women to progress into leadership roles, gain greater financial independence and achieve their highest potential. Spearheading the Women Power Summit for three years showed us that the 6,000 women who attended our 300 live masterclasses really connected with our content and saw the value and impact that it could have on their personal and professional lives. We kept the conversation going through our podcast and reading community to test this in the digital space, and we eventually felt that the time was right to launch a platform like Playbook that would be the most powerful network and ed-tech solution for women in business. Its intention is to accelerate career growth through masterclasses, community, mentorship and more.
Why did you choose an ed-tech solution as the way of building Playbook's professional network? What is the importance of digital learning tools for your target audience?
In today’s fast-paced world, time is really valuable to every individual. Nanolearning, or microlearning, has proven to be a really effective way to increase awareness about essential skills and also retain interest. Ed-tech is a phenomenal industry that has accelerated ever since the pandemic, and it has proven effective for people to upskill at the workplace at their own pace with entertaining content that is practical and relatable. Our members at Playbook are ambitious goal setters but also occupy multiple roles. So digital learning tools allow them to network conveniently, access mentors and use learning tools that could still get them ahead of the curve.
How crucial is it to advance career progression for women? What are the skills and careers in demand currently, and how can Playbook address these both now and in the future?
Women entering the workforce encounter challenges like a lack of role models, mentors and effective soft skill training. Advancing their career progression addresses these issues and leads to better decision-making, innovation and financial performance. We've seen this to be true as firms with women CEOs and CFOs have produced better stock performance than the market average, and organizations that prioritize women's advancement report as much as 61% higher revenue growth than competitors.
A quick search can show us that careers in demand lean more towards analysis, project management, software development and other positions that require highly skilled individuals. Playbook bridges the gap between women professionals and their dream careers by providing masterclasses that give them technical expertise and the soft skills needed to succeed, even if market demand changes over time. We also provide access to mentors, job boards, resources and networking opportunities, which help women gain practical experience to progress in their careers and increase their employability.
As one of the most influential women in today's generation, how do you manage to wear so many hats? What are the key motivations you can share with other women so that they may become more empowered?
For me, understanding my values and my vision is essential to staying motivated. I love what I do, and I love seeing the impact our work has. It’s incredibly gratifying and fills me with the positive energy I need to go forward. I prioritize and delegate, but most importantly, I take care of myself. I’ve burned out twice in the past, and thankfully, I had an incredibly supportive network to help me bounce back. My advice to women who want to step into their power is to understand yourself, your strengths and your passions, and go after your goals with everything you’ve got. But most importantly, build a strong team around you that can help you execute your vision. Invest in A players, be open to new perspectives and be flexible to pivot when the need arises.
Technology is an essential part of how we live, work and play today. How do you see technology impacting Playbook's future operations, and how will this evolve your services and your customer base?
The future is very exciting. With artificial intelligence, fem-tech, fintech and edtech being growing spaces of interest, we have a lot of exciting pivots that we can’t wait to explore in the years to come and hopefully make Playbook a more immersive learning experience and a holistic ecosystem of resources that people can tap into at whatever age or level of their career that they are at.