Transform Partner Muna AbuSulayman featured on Forbes where she talked about female leadership and her journey as a serial entrepreneur, investor, partner, founder, and philanthropist.
Angela Chan, Forbes, Sep 5, 2022
I met Muna AbuSulayman in 2006 when she was the co-founding host of the No.1 and longest-running Arab TV show on social issues.
At the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan, she interviewed me to consult with her apparel startup, a celebrity-pioneered brand targeted at modest fashion women. During my interview, I talked about the intensive capital a startup requires, the lengthy logistics, global sourcing, and the production process. The constant changing and demanding compliance requirements, fit and styling problems, and customer returns all lead to markdowns, over-inventory, paper-thin margin, fierce competition, and ultimately, a write-off if you are fortunate, or, for the not-so-lucky, personal bankruptcies. I thought it was my duty to warn anyone who wants to dip their toe into this industry, especially someone with no prior retail experience.
The old joke comes to mind: How do you make a small fortune in the fashion industry? Answer: Start with a larger one.
Post-pandemic, I decided to catch up with Muna over Zoom. In the last 16 years, Muna AbuSulayman has become a serial entrepreneur, investor, partner, founder, and philanthropist. She is the partner of Transform VC (Tonal is one of their investments, https://transform.vc) and the co-founder of Healthkey Technologies. She serves on multiple boards, including the Global Equity Board of Gucci, a Board member for CPSL at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and was the first female Saudi UNDP Goodwill Ambassador. She has received numerous global awards and recognitions, such as the Morley Colin award from The Medinge Group, which stands for a Brand with a Conscience. AbuSulayman is a Yale World Fellow and The Aspen Institute Middle East Fellow. She was also the former Secretary-General of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation. She supports innovation and strategic initiatives to combat poverty, empower women and reframe the Islam-West dialogue. AbuSulayman is one of the 500 most influential Muslims worldwide for her work in media, gender, leadership, and education and as an iconic Arab media personality and humanitarian, according to The World Economic Forum.