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Casablanca, Stanford, Apple, TedX and more: Lamiaa Laurène Daif's Inside-Out Journey

Lamiaa, you are a shining star role model ! I am absolutely so delighted to have met you personally ! If we take the time back to your childhood, growing up, what did you want to do in your career? It was such a pleasure to connect with you, and I’m equally inspired by your own journey!

I grew up in Casablanca, Morocco, and my dream was to become a professional dancer and a school teacher. I spent countless hours each week dancing. Essentially, if I wasn’t in school (where I was admittedly a bit of a nerd), you’d find me on the dance floor, rehearsing for a dance show.

Sadly, I reached a point where I had to choose between dancing professionally and pursuing a more traditional academic path in finance. It felt like a choice between my heart and my mind. Ultimately, I chose the path of finance, but let me tell you, the story doesn't end there.

Fast forward about 15 years, and guess what? I found a way to marry my two loves—dance and business. Today, I teach dance, reigniting that same passion in others, while also thriving in a business career. This twist in my journey shows that it's truly never too late to chase those dreams.

So, if there's a dream in your heart, never count it out!

How did you get into tech industry? What do you feel was different from your previous job in finance in terms of diversity and inclusion?

After spending a decade in Private Equity, I took a transformative step back and decided to enroll at Stanford for my MBA. This decision immersed me in a world brimming with innovation and technology.

In finance, our focus was often on investing in large, established businesses, viewing anything emerging from Silicon Valley as a potential threat. But I saw it differently—I viewed it as a thrilling opportunity to disrupt the status quo, to change lives for the better, and to embrace both evolution and growth.

During my time at Stanford, I embarked on a deep journey of self-discovery, exploration, and experimentation. It became clear to me that my next step in this career pivot was to join a company like Apple—a company I deeply admire, known for products I love, and that truly embodies the values it communicates.

The difference in culture between finance and tech became apparent even during the interview process.

The tech industry was noticeably more welcoming, with a larger presence of women who weren’t trying to fit into a predetermined mold.

These women shared their passions during our interviews, displayed a balance between their professional and personal lives, and exuded a sense of harmony that I hadn’t experienced in finance.

In finance, many women, including myself, felt the pressure to conform, often adopting tools and strategies that weren't necessarily authentic to who we were.

In tech, perhaps due to its emphasis on innovation, fresh perspectives and new ideas are not just accepted—they are encouraged. Once I joined the industry, this feeling was only reinforced. As a woman, I never felt that my gender was a handicap. My voice is heard, my perspective is valued, and I see proactive diversity and inclusion initiatives that promise to further expand these values.

What was your proudest moment in your life?

My proudest moment? Without a doubt, it was having the courage to step away from what appeared to be a 'perfect' life on paper, to discover a path that truly aligned with my inner truth. I was one of the youngest Directors at the largest Private Equity Fund in Europe, recently married to my college sweetheart, and living what seemed like an incredible life in Paris—a life that, by society’s standards, should have made me the epitome of happiness. Everyone around me often reminded me of how lucky I was and how happy I should feel. But internally, it was a completely different story.

It all started with subtle yet persistent body signals—chronic fatigue, anxiety, sleep disturbances, gut issues—that grew progressively louder over time. Eventually, these whispers turned into shouts. My body reached its limit, developing an autoimmune disease as a stark proclamation that something was deeply wrong.

It took years for me to start understanding what was happening and to gather the courage and honesty to face this daunting reality. Leaving that life behind was terrifying. I had so deeply identified with my achievements and external successes that I had no idea what lay ahead without them.

Yet, taking that leap was the most necessary action I’ve ever taken.

In losing everything I thought defined me, I found something truly priceless—myself.

And for that, I am immensely proud. I embraced living from the Inside-Out, a journey of self-discovery that has been both challenging and profoundly rewarding.

I've shared the full details of this transformative experience in a TEDx Talk titled ‘What Your Body Knows and Your Mind Ignores,’ which you can find on YouTube. It's a deep dive into the importance of listening to our inner signals and finding the courage to act on them.

Apart from your successful career, you are also passionate about wellness and finding meaning in life. Has this always been a priority for you?

While wellness and finding meaning in life have always held a special place in my heart, I admit there was a time when I put these priorities on the back burner. I learned this lesson the hard way. For years, I lived by others' expectations, seeking their validation, approval, and love, only to find myself feeling lost—and physically unwell. It felt as though I had lost my compass. But today, wellness isn't just a priority; it's my way of living. Finding that alignment between my actions, thoughts, and feelings has become crucial.

Moreover, I've always had a passion for supporting others and helping them unlock their potential. This began in my finance days, where I trained and mentored analysts, and extended to supporting friends with their businesses. Now, as a certified coach, I'm dedicated to helping high-achieving professionals align their external success with their inner truth.

After navigating my own challenges and journey, I realised that success doesn't have to come at the expense of our health, inner peace, or authentic selves. There's a way to achieve both, and they actually empower one another when they stem from within. This insight led me to develop my proprietary transformation model, the Inside-Out Model™️, which supports my clients—and myself!—in creating the holistic changes they desire, both professionally and personally.

I firmly believe that true change isn't about reacting to the outside world or letting external factors dictate our choices and moves. Real and lasting transformation happens when it emanates from within. This philosophy isn't just my career; it's my life mission. It influences everything I do, whether I'm teaching dance, leading workshops, or helping businesses grow their revenue.

On the wellness side, I became a true wellness junkie after my battle with an autoimmune disease. I delved deeply into understanding the mind-body connection and how our emotions, thoughts, and actions are interlinked. This exploration helped me understand why my body reacted as it did years ago and how it has become my true guide and accountability partner today. We are whole beings, and everything is connected.

Tuning in and caring for our mind, body, and soul is the key to finding the alignment and fulfilment we all seek.

If you were to give one piece of advice to our readers, what would that be?

If I could share just one piece of advice that has profoundly transformed my life, it would be this:

Trust in the wisdom of your body. Think about those times when you've experienced sensations or symptoms like fatigue, tension, or pain. These signals are not mere coincidences; they are your body's way of drawing your attention—urging you to listen and guiding you towards what you truly want and need.

Everything you need to lead a fulfilling life is already within you. I encourage you to listen closely, to truly tap into your body as a profound inner guide, a truth-teller, and a powerful partner on your journey. By tuning in and embracing this wisdom, you can navigate life with a deeper sense of purpose and fulfilment, where success doesn’t cost you your health, inner peace, or authentic expression.

How can our readers find you?

Social media and my website are a great place to connect.

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