April Spotlight: Arjun Aiyar – StepUp Solutions Dubai

  1. Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.

I’m a Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Corporate Trainer, and I’ve been in the UAE since 2007. I am an ex- corporate banker, with an MBA from Australia. I’m passionate about Human Psychology, Quantum Physics, Tao Philosophy, the Law of Attraction, and Esoteric Symbolism

2. How would you describe the culture of your business

I’d use three words: Abundance, Synergy & Flow.

I do what I love, and I love what I do.., and I do it with people whom I love. Every proposal, every project, is based on a sense of Purpose – Fullness.

Every Training, Speaking or Coaching – is an expressing of my Being.

All the people I work with, mirror these tenets.

3. How easy is it for you to get direct access to the decision makers in your company.

Being the owner of my business, and the only one in my business it allows me to partner with Like – Hearted people – for various projects.

4. What are your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?

I believe they will be:

  1. Equipping Leaders with ‘Mindsets’ and ‘Heart-sets’. .
  2. Teaching Change Resilience.
  3. Exploring Innovative Channels to reach those who seek the information (and inspiration) that I share.
  4. Continuing my personal momentum of Self Growth.
  5. Staying True to my Values.

5.What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet the regions talent requirements?

a. Emotional Intelligence – aka Self Leadership.

b. Purpose Based Living.

c. Compassionate Capitalism.

Arjun Aiyar

Director – StepUP Management Solutions FZ-LLC

RAK, United Arab Emirates

Tel: +971 50 282 4857



April Spotlight Julie Anne Odell Jupiter Eclipse Training

  1. Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East

I like to think of myself as a Citizen of Planet Earth.  I was born in the UK, brought up in New Zealand and came to the Middle East originally in 1977.  I spent 18 years in Egypt and moved to Dubai in 1994 where I have been ever since.  So as you can imagine, I have seen a lot of change happen in the past 41 years.  Not just in Dubai, where it has been exponential, but also the entire region. I love the values of family that exist in the Middle East which, apart from the fact that I have my own family of half Egyptian kids and grandsons, is why I love living in this part of the world.  It has definitely become home to me and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

It was very exciting for me in 2002 when Dubai Media City opened its doors to  entrepreneurs and that is when I took the leap of faith and started my own business. Dubai Drums was born then and has grown from strength to strength ever since. Interestingly enough, I started it in my back garden as a passion and a desire to help  people unite and be happy, so it’s amazing to see where passion and purpose can take you. In 2006 I embarked on a journey to bring deeper change to people and help them with their personal growth and self- worth and I have been a coach since then which is adding to my purpose of “leaving a positive footprint”.  I help people change from the inside out and upgrade their lives – it is incredibly empowering for me to help people evolve and witness their growth.

  1. How would you describe the culture of your business?

As well as being a professional entrepreneur and company owner there is definitely a strong spiritual aspect to me.  I believe that businesses are also holistic and need a mind, body, spirit element, just like humans, to be included in their culture.  This is why I chose the acronym of S.P.I.R.I.T for my company:

S – Success

P –  Passion

I –   Inspiration

R    Respect

I –  Intuition

T – Teamwork

3.What are the biggest challenges in the next five years?. .

The rapid growth of Technology! Personally, I think the biggest challenge in the next five years will be keeping up with technology; and finding ways to incorporate it into your business model; especially AI.   Change is something that humans tend to resist and as they say:  It isn’t the strongest of the species that will survive but the ones that are the most adaptable.

The other challenge is competition, Dubai being such a melting pot and  attracting  so many people from so many places  – competition.  As obviously, each comes  with their new ideas and sadly, others ready to copy your existing ones.  So it’s all about diversification, as you are either the innovator or the imitator!

4). What are the skills and competencies that are needed in order to meet the region’s talent requirements?

Resilience, change management, Inspirational Leadership, Emotional Intelligence –  EI, Relationship Management, Teamwork and Cultural Awareness.

5. What is your Philosophy

Follow your heart and trust your intuition and keep connected to “source” for spiritual growth.Bring the values of respect, integrity and trust into all relationships and be authentic no matter what, “ Walk the talk, “ light the path” and have the courage to “ Blaze Trails” and go where no leader has gone before so that others will confidently follow.





April Spotlight Amr Selim Internet, CRM & Digital Marketing Expert, and Entrepreneur


  1. Tell us about your time in the Middle East

I am a customer’s advocate on a mission to improve the customer experience that businesses and government departments deliver to their customers or to the public!
There are many benefits from improving customer experience such as: increased sales, profitability and retention of customers and employees.

Customer experience A.K.A “CX”, is 75% to 80% a result of a “Human” interaction, so there is no way to improve it without improving employee engagement and performance, we call it the CX supply chain!
Using a mix of leadership + technology & innovation maintains a strong CX supply chain.

If you deliver services of any kind, improving CX is the best thing to do for your business, Imagine enhancing your staff motivation, engagement, performance and customer experience all at the same time! What impact would it have on your business or organization and its growth

I love the Middle East and Dubai in particular because of its multiculturalism, business friendly environment and its huge appetite for growth, in-fact after moving to Canada from Dubai I was told that I need to “slow down” !

2. How would you describe the culture of your business?

We “Eat our own dog food!” and strive to provide the best possible CX to our clients, in order to do that we focus on:

  1. Listening to our customers:
    Getting constant, real time feedback (good or not!) helps us to know what our clients need and give it to them, it also enables us to take quick & corrective action when things aren’t going the right way.
  2. Listening and looking after our staff:
    It is almost impossible to have happy clients if we don’t have happy employees! They are our “internal customers”
    We listen to (and apply) their suggestions whenever possible and we promote a friendly environment where people are recognized and rewarded for their good work not just in their own job role but in helping others too.
  3. Customer Success:
    Our clients or customers come to us in order to make things better, we don’t just give them a product or a software tool, we work with them for the length of that engagement and team up in order to achieve those goals.
    This can involve tasks like: solving some internal issues, dealing with workplace politics or tweaking some processes, provide training / coaching. Whatever it takes to help our client success
  4. 3. What are the biggest challenges in the next 5 years?

Growth and profitability!

As a new business we face tough competition and have to over stretch our limited resources to serve our clients and meet their expectations. We believe in this long-term relation building & service strategy, but it takes time for a brand to become synonymous with service excellence.
This puts us in some “catch 22” situation: Should we wait to be more profitable in order to hire more consultants, or hire more consultants to make us more profitable?
Not to mention the time it takes to find, acquire and on-board the right talent!

4.What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet the region’s talent requirements?

Leadership, Motivation, Problem Solving, Emotional Intelligence – EI, Relationship Management, Teamwork and Cultural Awareness.

5. What is your Philosophy?

Always seek Excellence in what you do! Be a star performer.

It does not matter what it is ! If you are a burger flipper at a local McDonald’s’ try to be the best burger flipper in your city / country, believe me the world will take notice!

April Spotlight: Steve Allinson CW International Dubai


Steve on 25-2-15 at 08.17





1. Tell us about your experience in the Middle East

I first arrived in the middle east on a cargo ship in 1973 as an apprentice marine engineer.  Things were somewhat different in those days, cholera was endemic in Doha and we couldn’t go ashore, Oman was virtually a closed state and Dubai….well Dubai was mainly the creek area but there was the WT centre and trade centre roundabout.  After that the SZ road  went into the desert.  However Dubai even then was good for gold and as our next stop was Bombay (it was called that then) we all stocked up to sell on the black market.


The next time I came across “the sand pit” was in 1984 when I was an operations manager for an oil field service company based in Muscat. This was a great time, hard work but excellent wadi bashing and exploring in the days before all the worthwhile places to visit were commercialised.  Jebel Ali was in its nascent stages and there were no speed cameras on the roads :-). Life was good and in Dubai it was much less frenetic than today.  Emirates airline had one or two aircraft and it was rumoured that the cabin crew were “emptied out of the bars” and press ganged into service, however I suspect this story was seriously embellished with time so apologies to Emirates Airlines. I spent three very good years in Oman and have fond memories of my time.


Finally today….and what a change, not all for the good from my perspective.  I returned to Oman in 2001 to 2004.  Oman had not changed drastically but when I crossed the border to live in Dubai in 2004 little did I know that I was about to observe at close quarters the infrastructure revolution that has brought the city state to where it is today.  It has been a fantastic achievement but at the same time a little sad.  Sad that so much older character has been lost and we have to require multiple seven lane highways to get us to work.  Enough said – Dubai is dynamic, I believe it is here to stay unlike some other voices that, to use a German word as we do not have the equivalent in English, revelled in schadenfreude in 2009 at the beginning of the big crash.  Yet here we are today and things are actually busier than they were then.  On balance …I LIKE…if I didn’t, I would not still be here after 10 years.

2. How would you describe the culture of your business?

In a word ‘Oilfield’. Anywhere, anytime, little choice….get after it. The oil industry has been good to me over the years.  It is dynamic, exciting, innovative and technically relatively advanced.  I have met many great friends and countless expatriate acquaintances over the years.  In fact I have been expatriate so long that I call “home`” wherever it is that I am currently living.  

The prevailing values in the industry vary widely.  While working practices have changed considerably since I joined the industry in 1977, values still vary widely between national and private operators and are influenced by the countries of origin of the operator sing companies  In general though, the desire to learn is always present.  I usually draw an analogy of myself to what a bumble bee does.  I try to cherry pick the best practices from different operators and introduce them across my other clients.

3. How easy is it for you to get direct access to decision makers of companies?

I am one of the two decision makers!  The other one is so understanding, open and cooperative that we have no problem working together.  So I shall refer the question to the “decision makers of the companies that I work for”.  Depends and various widely….from smaller private Oil and Gas organisations where access is easy to larger national organisations where it is similar to working for government and I believe in these cases, anywhere in the world, in any industry, it is not so easy.

  1. What are your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?

Not work or career development!. Deciding what I am going to do in retirement.  I have two fantastic adopted girls from Ethiopia of 6 and 8 years of age.  They have to be raised and sufficiently educated to compete it an increasingly challenging employment market.  So an immediate challenge is to “stay young” for them and give them a happy life.  Secondary to the girls will be me and possible retirement…………”what to do, what to do”?  I can’t live the rest of my life through the girls and so following retirement, whenever that may be, I need to find a useful personal project to invest my time in. 

  1. What is your philosophy?

The moment you stop trying to become a better person, is the moment you start to become worse than what you already are.

If you would like to hear more from Steve, ask any questions or merely want to comment please do so in the comment box below