- Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.
Moving to the Middle East was never part of the plan but looking back I am glad it transpired that way. I arrived 22 years back, right at the cusp of an economic boom, to a region that was a perfect blend of tradition, modernity, diversity & opportunity. Then followed a long & successful career with a large multinational bank, during which I stumbled upon the learning arena quite by accident. Haven’t looked back since!
I am truly passionate about the work we do. It is an exciting and constantly developing area that allows me to indulge my dual passions of people and constant personal growth. As a learning practitioner I have found it critical that we stay current and informed, and that has been a tremendous driver of my professional development. It has also been exciting to see L&D develop and mature over the years as organisational leaders and HR functions understand the value of investing in their people. I currently work with a niche set of clients assisting with their goals around people development, organisational behavior, and skills, both technical and interpersonal.
In my personal time, I read, cook, learn dance & travel (used to at any rate!). I am also the proud mother of a lovely and accomplished young lady who is all set to go off to university next summer.
2. How would you describe the culture of your business?
We are part of a boutique learning consultancy. We primarily leverage on two things, our long experience in this region, which between us spans 40+ years, and our network which (I believe) is extremely important in this region. We operate in a client and future focused culture with a strong emphasis on values of transparency, trust & reliability in the delivery of our solutions.
3. What are some of the biggest challenges in the next 5 years?
The economic and geopolitical consequences of the pandemic will definitely be a huge one to look out for in the short to midterm. The far sightedness of the UAE leadership in easing up regulations and thereby the ease of doing business will bolster the investments in the country, helping to ease off the strain of aforesaid consequences. From a purely learning perspective, I would say the pandemic has set back the learning industry in the region a bit. With a preference, largely, of doing things traditionally, the “online” storm has taken organisations and people by surprise. There is also the challenge that learning could be neglected as a “non-essential” or “luxury” element of people development. Finally, I see a real disadvantage and possibly impact in people not having the opportunity to interact in a classroom environment. While the proliferation on online learning methodology has helped, it is no substitute for engagement in real time and the onus is on the learning community to ensure virtual learning is made as engaging and impactful as possible.
4. What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet the regions talent requirements.?
Right off the bat one must keep in mind that investing in people and their potential is a long-term commitment. The region is extremely attractive to a huge expatriate population with varying goals, some transient in nature. The workforce also represents that diversity and that would need to be kept in mind when suggesting learning solutions. There is also a huge focus, quite rightly, on the young national workforce in each country which needs to be catered to as well. With that as the overarching viewpoint, I would think that on the skills side the key areas of focus would be areas around Resilience, Change Management, Leading through challenging times, Virtual Sales Techniques, Emotional Intelligence Mindfulness and Wellbeing. From a competency perspective, I think organisations should start to focus on building a digitally enabled workforce who are commercially aware and skilled at leveraging the technology that will help them future proof their business model and manage risk better. Most of all the learning function must innovate and adapt in finding creative methods in partnering with their clients. We are in unprecedented times and what better time than now, to take stock and refocus efforts. It a pivot to the new normal for all of us !
Senior Learning and Development Consultant
Credibiz Consultants FZE
SAIF Zone, P O Box 8628