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Interview An Interview with Sahar Hashemi

An Interview with Sahar Hashemi

Co-Founder of Coffee Republic, Sahar Hashemi is an entrepreneur with an extraordinary and inspirational tale of turning an idea into a reality.

Sahar Hashemi

Who would you most like to share a platform with?

I have shared a stage with the late Dame Anita Roddick, Colin Powell, Neil Armstrong – that was all pretty memorable!

How did the corporate speaking start?

When I wrote my first book 'Anyone Can Do It' back in 2003.

Can you remember your first speaking engagement?

Yes, it was at London Business School, I had no experience and was so terrified that I had complete white knuckles I was clutching the table so hard.

And your last event?

I was speaking to sixth form students at Wycombe Abbey school who were choosing their career trajectory – so it was very fulfilling as I could feel I might be making a decision in their future choices.

Which event has been your favourite and why?

I enjoy all the events- as there is always excitement around them- a healthy sense of nervous anticipation- and I meet people from walks of life I would never otherwise meet. My speaking exposes me to so many current issues, which is where my book 'Switched On' arose from.

If you could speak at any event, past or future, what would it be?

Every speech is special in its own way- a small audience of 15 can be just as fulfilling as a huge conference sharing stage with high profile statesmen.

On average, how many times a year do you speak at corporate events?

Ideally, I’d like to do one every day!

Are you as happy speaking to 50 as to 1,000 people?

Yes, and I think larger audiences give you incredible energy

How do you like to be introduced?

We are pleased to introduce Sahar Hashemi - who with her brother Bobby founded Coffee Republic in November 1995 and in 5 years built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with 100 bars and turnover of £30m. Sahar left the day to day management of Coffee Republic in 2001 and wrote a book about her journey of entrepreneurship. Sahar believes if she did it, anyone can do it.

Do you always like to do a briefing call before the event?

Yes, but I like it as close to the event as possible.

What are the most asked for topics?

How to behave entrepreneurially, how to welcome and not resist change.

Is your speech at all interactive with audience participation?

No, but I have a good sense of how they are enjoying it.

Do you have any funny/embarrassing speaking anecdotes you care to share?

I once gave a speech in French to a network marketing company - I wrote my speech down and read off it- but I read it all so quickly I was so nervous that I finished in 15 minutes although I had a 45 minute slot!!!

Your favourite film?

Thomas Crown Affair- Just saw ‘Up in the Air’ which I loved.

Favourite book?

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

Favourite holiday destination?

Courchevel for winter and Sandwich in Kent for lazy summer days.

What’s your tipple?

Huge class of red wine.

Country or townie?

Very townie.

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