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Humans Over Number; Dina El Hifnawi #14

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

At Carousel Fitness, pole dancing and aerial yoga are taught by the company's founder, Dina El Hifnawi. She is currently establishing a community of self-assured women through her work. The people she meets and helps become more confident matter more than the numbers. The conversation with Dina El Hifnawi covered topics such as empowering women, starting and growing a business, and being content without building an empire.

Meeting and getting to know positive women like Dina is a wonderful opportunity to gain insight into the women who will shape a better future for the world. What she teaches (being a pole dance instructor) and the way she conducts her business may be unconventional—refusing to expand her franchise, hiring internally, taking things slow and steady—but they both teach a lot about her ethics and moral code. So, based on the conversation, here are a few things you can learn from her:

Building a Community

From being an instructor in Egypt to moving to Bahrain to be with her husband, Dina has had an interesting journey. She arrived in Bahrain with no friends, no contacts, and the only people she knew were her husband and his parents. Slowly, after the beginning of Carousel, her students became her friends. And she became the founder of a community of women, old and young, all united to learn the same things and empower each other.

Since her students are her friends, she makes an effort to socialize with them outside of Carousel and ensures that there are fun activities involved. She has organized events during the month of Ramadan when the women came together and ate Suhoor together or broke the fast together as well. She visits parks with them and other famous spots across the country.

Choosing Quality Over Quantity

It was suggested to Dina that she open a number of studios in various locations across the Gulf; perhaps one of the studios would focus on teaching pole dancing to men, or perhaps it would offer a mixed class. She was also advised to work on expanding her business aggressively before a stronger competitor comes up and she loses the monopoly she has over it at the moment.

However, Dina refused to consider expanding, highlighting the fact that she wants the quality of Carousel to be excellent and that aggressively expanding may prevent her from ensuring the level of quality of new studios. She wants every Carousel studio to deliver a service that's exactly like the original.

Dina responded that she wouldn't want to jeopardize her students' comfort when asked about possibly mixing the classes and appealing to the male audience who might be interested in learning pole dance. She has considered offering family classes and possibly experimenting with a mixed-class day to see how everyone reacts before making a decision. Nonetheless, she emphasized that her student's comfort is her top priority.

She has children as young as 6 years old and women as old as 59, coming up and learning from her. She has women from all walks of life and of different shapes and sizes coming to her, and they are her top priority. So, to her, providing the best learning experience possible is more important than aggressive expansion.

Be Content with the Now

With investors from Saudi and Kuwait rushing towards Dina to start a franchise of Carousel in their respective countries, she politely declined. Having multiple investors approach her with different ideas and starting a franchise in different countries, she still refused to compromise on the quality of her services. Despite intense discussions about expanding the business and building an empire, Dina repeatedly refused. For her, having two studios in Bahrain and providing quality training to her students is enough. She believes that building an empire is unnecessary and that she is happy and content with what she has right now. What she really enjoys is interacting with her students, making them feel at ease, and assisting them in developing their physicality and flexibility. It teaches us that no matter how ambitious some people can be, we should learn to be happy and content at every stage of growth we’re in.

Humans Over Numbers

The main takeaway from the entire conversation was that the people, the community Dina has slowly built, are more important to her than anything else. From being an outsider, an Egyptian in Bahrain, to becoming a qualified instructor with students coming from all across the Middle East to learn from her, it could be said that she has made it. Yet when the choice between numbers and humans came, she chose humans, specifically women.

Despite not having a focus on making money, she has succeeded and amassed wealth by pursuing her passion. Dina, along with her thirteen instructors, is providing a pristine education to her innumerable students at Carousel.

The conversation with Dina was enlightening and lighthearted at the same time. To learn more about the world of pole dancing and Dina, watch the entire episode with Dina.

The episode is Now available from apple podcast, Spotify and even YouTube;

YouTube: Spotify: iTunes:


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