Speaker & Author
Soulaima Gourani is a sought after speaker, author, board member and special adviser to ministers, task forces, government think tanks and demanding private companies all over the World. One2Speak elected Gourani to be one of the best Danish keynote speakers in 2010. In 2012 she was announced as one of the Young Global Leaders by World Economic Forum and later that year named to be the chairwoman of the non-profit organisation Global Dignity. In 2013 she was announced as one of the greatest thinkers in the Nordic by Nordic Business Forum and in 2014 chosen as one of the “40 under 40” European young leaders.She was elected as a TED mentor in 2016 and was later that same year announced as one of the “Inspiring 50 Nordics” women in the tech-sector. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and their two kids.
What do you love most about Your City?
I have lived in 4 countries now, and moved more that 10 times. I now live in Palo Alto, CA. We moved her 6 months ago to open my CA office. We love it here. It is such a bubble, but a very nice one. It is clean, tidy, friendly and very smart people, good schools, great nature/hikes and an amazing university (Stanford) and as a Dane I really like I can walk or bike, no need for a car really. This city smells so nice from all the gardens and thousands of flowers.
Favorite breakfast meal& restaurant?
I started fasting a month ago so I skip breakfast. I would otherwise have said breakfast as my favorite meal. But now it is brunch. I love Italian food so I go to Osteria. It is a good and family friendly working lunch place.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM–I do sports – I go every morning around 5amish.
Since I was 15 years old I have been training early mornings. This is the best way for my to kick off my day. I run, do yoga or spinning. I NEED my exercise.
10:00 AM–I eat “breakfast”
As I am fasting 6 days a week – I eat late. I read the news, listen to a 15 minutes piano soundtrack or something while I eat healthy and in silence, unless I am in a board meeting, of course.
12:00 PM – Favorite Power Lunch spot/meal?
I eat lunch around 2 pm. I go out for lunch and combine it with meetings. I also travel a lot so it could be on a flight as well. But if I do not travel I go to downtown Palo Alto and eat Italian, Greek or simply something vegetarian.
7:00 PM – I have two kids ages 8 and 10 so around 7pm we sit down and eat a home cooked meal. We sit for 30-40 min and talk while we eat. We are Danish therefore I guess dinner is a big deal. It is a family setting with candle- light and conversations. We are a family of 4 with a lot on our minds, so we talk and communicate a lot over dinner.
It really is the favorite part of my day.
11:00 PM–I am a big fan of planning “Planning Today for Success Tomorrow” meaning at 10-11pm, I write my Personal Assistant and ask for details, instructions etc. She lives in Texas so when I get to work, she has already sent all details for the day to me in my inbox. I prefer structure and to be very well organized, thanks to her.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
I drink water as the first thing 5 am and 2-3 good coffees during the day, and then more water. I try to only drink wine on Fridays or on the weekend. I have so many social events and dinners that sometimes I do get 1 -3 drinks in a week.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
Well Facebook is my favorite app, I have to admit. But I do love Instagram. I like pictures since I am very visual. I feel like the world has become so much smaller thanks to social media. It is really is my guilty pleasure.
What should everyone try at least once?
To move to another country, if possible. It put so much into perspective. But if you cannot move, challenge your comfort zone and brains and remember your comfort zone and brain is like a muscle. You have to train it. And if you do not use it you will “lose” it.
Play chess, learn a new language – whatever challenge your brain and your assumptions every day. I moved to the USA 2.5 years ago to give my brain a deep dive into English and to learn the culture. Do not let your life be on autopilot. Give yourself some challenges every day.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
I don’t like to get lost if I am in a hurry, but if not in a hurry I really love going to new places – and to get lost – in Italy and Spain for sure. All those small old towns, I love. And of course I like to get lost in life, cause I know I will learn from it and I know my way back!