- We wonder, Who is Saana Azzam?
Saana Azzam is the founder of MENA Speakers, whose life mission and purpose is to create an improved state of the world through dialogue. Having graduated from the esteemed Stockholm School of Economics with a Masters in Economics, her adept skills and knowledge in market analysis, investments, research and finance has not only given her the advantageous position of knowing her market well and through, but has also earned her the prestigious title “Female Economist of the Year”.
Saana’s exemplary expertise lies in the Art of Public Speaking. Trained by international Journalists and media Experts from CNBC and MBC amongst others, Saana encompasses holistic qualities that really distinguish her from the rest. She has undertaken public speaking assignments in Europe on leadership and leading Generation Y and is listed as one of Sweden’s 101 Super talents in 2012, and recognized as a “Top 30 Under 30 influencers” in 2015. Her speaking engagements have covered audience sizes up to 1000 people, all across Europe and the Middle East. Saana’s biggest clients include Ericsson, Spotify, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, RTA, Del Monte not to mention having worked with official functions in front of Royalties, Dignitaries and more.
As an expert headhunter of top of the line speaker, Saana Azzam spends a significant amount of time with the best speakers in the world. She is classically trained in Better Presentation skills by an Austrian school but believes in the individual approach once presenting. She uses NLP techniques, business strategies and has a particular focus on subliminal and non-verbal communication to ensure that her clients are power communicating. She has worked with accomplished leaders in positioning them as the leading authority in their field and is dubbed as the Experts’ Expert.
- How would you describe the culture of your business?
Like an elephant. We have big ears and a small mouth. Despite being in the speakers’ business then our job is actually to pay close attention and to listen mindfully to our clients, to our speakers and the market. We have that same type of care and compassion amongst each other too and our unofficial motto is that we rise together as a team, with our partners and our clients. Typical to the UAE and Arab culture, we love being of service and specially for a cause that is much greater than ourselves.
- How easy is it for you to get direct access to the decision makers in your company? Companies here (am a decision maker so phrasing it differently). How easy is it for you to get direct access to the decision makers in your Companies here?
Very easy. People are incredibly generous with their contacts and decision makers are incredibly available and collaborative. To date we have requested meetings with royalties, dignitaries, country heads and MNC CEO’s. We are always met with grace and compassion. Our business development team set up meetings based on 1 email or phone quite often. Many other decision-makers are available at VIP events and there is an abundance of that type of opportunities in the UAE.
- What are your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?
Managing a good transition through the numerous expected legal changes. Next one in line being VAT.
Being in a state of agility and profitability is a challenge for any MENA based corporation. The market is ever evolving and transitioning and so switching between eyes on the bottom line and then the macro perspective is an extra interesting dynamic.
In 5 years most businesses will also expect that technology and AI is there to remove manual and -repetitive labor and that the demand for certain type of tech-savvy labour is in some cases still not defined. All I anticipate is that we will require roles whose job description will be created as we learn on the go and that very few organizations that exist today will look the same in 5 years. The exponential evolution of technology will be encouraging leading businesses to innovate or die.
- What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train others in order to meet the regions talent requirements.
One skill that is and will always be in demand is communication skills and public speaking. New recruits just as well as top CEOs will always require communication skills. It is a skill that is linked to your job, private life and every human interaction. Being a great speaker often trickles down to being a great conversationalist and communicator which impacts all domains.
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