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When Women Win is a podcast where female role models and boss ladies from around the world share their inspirational stories and practical tools and strategies they used to succeed. It is currently the number 1 most listened to podcast in the Middle East.


On each episode, host and creator Rana Nawas finds out the stories and deconstructs the tools and strategies of what is a remarkable lineup of boss ladies: Kristina Kuzmic, Afra Atiq, HRH Princess Tessy Antony, Dr. Auma Obama, and many more.

Feb 19, 2018

Isobel Abuhoul left Cambridge for Dubai in 1968 and has been here ever since. In 1975, Isobel set up Al Ittehad Private School and Magrudy's bookshop - both of which are still thriving today. In 2008 Isobel founded the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the Arab Worldís largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and reading. The festival won the Best Festival title at the Middle East Event Awards in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

In this episode we explored Isobel's "why?", what drove her to establish one enterprise after another. Isobel walked me through some of the challenges she faced and what tools she used to overcome them - the value of her network came up a couple of times. We also discussed how she has managed to keep her enterprises alive 40 years on, in the face of fierce competition - by putting herself in the shoes of a demanding and impatient customer! Finally, Isobel gave us a sneak preview of the upcoming Emirates Lit Fest - I've bought tickets to 6 sessions and I cannot wait to attend!

The 2018 Emirates Literature Festival is running March 1-10. Tickets are available online at, but do hurry up as the sessions are selling out fast. You can also get in touch with and follow Isobel on Twitter @UmmMansour