1.Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.
I am originally from New York USA, yet have spent most of my career in the Arab Gulf region, first in Saudi Arabia and then in the UAE During this time I have taken on a very diverse range of jobs centered around Learning and Development. These include teaching courses in English, customer service, problem solving and MBTI, serving as a head of training departments across five different business sectors, developing training curricula, training event management, corporate induction programs, and designing and implementing knowledge-sharing programs between senior expatriate staff and Emirati new joiners.
Before coming to the Gulf region, I had worked in Morocco as an electrical instructor. Since my students did not know either French or English, I had to learn the Moroccan Arabic dialect in order to communicate with them. During my tenure abroad I have obtained two MSc degrees from UK universities, the first in Teaching English for Specific Purposes, and the second in Human Resources and Training. Currently I am in the last stages of doing my doctorate in Social Sciences from Leicester University. I have already submitted my thesis (on Emiratization in the public sector) and am awaiting to defend the thesis in March 2016.
2. How would you describe the culture of your business?
The culture of my business is best characterized as patriarchal with decision making taking place top down. Further, each department has its own sub-culture, which is often a result of people’s professions coupled with the expression of their own national cultures. As in most UAE companies, the workforce is diverse comprising people from many different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.
3. How easy is it for you to get direct access to the decision makers in your company
Unfortunately, it is not easy. To reach a major decision maker, you usually need to have a key business point to make, or to be courageous, take the initiative and ask for a meeting bearing in mind that an agenda needs to be forwarded beforehand.
4. What are your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?
Aside from reaching my financial goals, my biggest challenges are to top off my career by writing articles for scholarly journals and national newspapers on my experiences and lessons learned from my work and studies. In particular, I believe there is a huge need to write about the complex and multidimensional topic of Emiratization.
5. What is your philosophy?
My philosophy is to approach life with an open mind, to continuously and passionately seek knowledge, and simply put – to treat people as people.
To contact Younes:
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