June Spotlight Jules Lewis – Mountain High

jules lewisTell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.

I moved to Dubai from Kuwait back in 1997 and had a fabulous two years managing the Forte Grand sports and beach resort which is now Le Royal Meridien Jumeirah Beach Hotel. After 18 years in the health, fitness and sports management industry I took a sabbatical and travelled for 6 months – using the time to create a new vision map for the next chapter of my career.

On my return to Dubai I took up a post as Business Development Manager for an adventure travel company and used the time to build my experience in the field. Within months of starting the new post I had the opportunity to go to Malaysia on an educational trip through the tourism board – it was during this trip I saw Mount Kota Kinabalu and decided that I would come back and climb it the following year to celebrate my 40th birthday. To cut a long story short I climbed the mountain and managed to persuade 5 other women to climb with me . On reaching the Summit at 4095m I had my “ eureka” moment – a flash of inspiration to start my own adventure travel business with a mission to inspire and encourage more women to unlock their highest potential, connect with new cultures and challenges themselves in the great outdoors. A year after this first climb I led a team of 17 women to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Upon the teams return to Dubai I finally found the courage to leave my post and start Mountain High ( www.mountainhighme.com ) in 2003 and the rest , as they say , is history.

Over the last 13 years I have had the honor and pleasure to train and lead multi-national teams of women and men on 59 expeditions to over 20 countries to include the Arctic and Antarctica. On a personal level I have climbed 19 high altitude mountains reaching a personal best of 7000m on a peak in Tibet . During this time period I re-invested in myself and studied NLP , Mindfulness, Stress Management and Zen Leadership in order to position myself as an integrated personal leadership specialist offering a blended teaching methodology.

I had the opportunity to work in Hong Kong for two years as a result of Calin ( my husband ) been transferred there in 2010 . I established Mountain High Asia and split my time between Hong Kong and Dubai. Whilst I was in Hong Kong I developed my speaking and teaching career and have been building on this over the last 4 years. In 2012 we moved back to the UAE and settled in Abu Dhabi

This year I published my first book “ Moving Mountains” , a personal development book aimed at enabling readers to access the mountain within them , move any mountains that stand in the way of their success and be inspired to climb a real mountain in the process. The book is now the foundation for many of my talks , workshops and leadership training programmes. It’s a fusion of my story , client’s stories, inspirational quotes and lots of bright ideas to get people moving. https://www.amazon.com/Moving-Mountains-Discover-Mountain-You/dp/1784520896

Having lived in the Middle East for many years I find it a very dynamic place to live and work – and a great base to travel to and from. It’s exciting to see how personal and professional leadership has grown into an essential part of learning and development for teams and organizations of all levels. More and more organizations are placing a high priority on the overall health, wellness, and happiness of their employees and reaping the benefits from having more physically, mentally and emotionally balanced teams performing at their peak. In addition to speaking ,teaching and running expeditions I have teamed up with several venue’s to offer corporate retreats ; quality time out for teams to re-charge, re-fresh , reflect, co –create and envision a new path to success. More and more companies are tuning in to the benefits of time out in/ off site , to step out of auto-pilot into NOW, being totally present and open to new possibilities.

In 2015 I partnered with Anna Heystek, Director of Escape Events in Abu Dhabi to co-create the Women’s Peak Performance Summit www.womenspeakperformance.com to offer women( and men who support women’s advancement ) , an opportunity to network with each other and learn from a series of master classes lead by a team of experienced professionals to cover all areas of a women’s life ( physical , social, career, environment , mind, financial and emotional intelligence ) The Summit is an annual event and will be held on Saturday 20th May in 2017 .

How would you describe the culture of your business?

I set up Mountain High in 2003 and Julie Lewis Consulting in 2014 ( www.juleslewis.com Both businesses have been built on my passion for personal development using a range of methodologies that I have studied and certified in over the last 25 years.

Health, wellness , nature, personal growth, adventure , energy, peak performance , resilience, courage and a zest for life are central to both businesses. The greatest reward is seeing clients realize their own dreams and ambitions in all areas of their life. By taking inspired action you inspire and enable others to do the same . I am a great believer in leading by example and following/ offering a more Socratic leadership style ; that is asking questions and engaging in discussion rather than issuing instructions and orders. Wisdom and deep learning are gained by experiences so through my work we offer lots of valuable experiences and enable clients to keep moving forward on the journey to their own personal or professional Summit. The core culture of my business is based around constant learning through doing; blending simple ancient wisdom with the art and science of success …. and having fun in the process.

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

One of the joys of being self-employed is being able to make your own decisions about what you do , where you do it and with whom you do it. It’s much easier to adapt and change to the market when you are in the driving seat. It’s also great to be able to partner with other people and organizations with shared values on a project by project basis . Flexibility , creativity and resourcefulness are all essential when you are blazing new trails !

What are your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?

Now is the time to focus on the next chapter of my career which will involve more speaking, teaching and writing on a more global platform. Leveraging digital technology to connect with a wider audience is on the action plan – the challenge with this is being up to date with and mastering the latest technology !







Having lived as an expat in the Middle East and Asia for the last 20 years the biggest challenge ( which I am sure is a big one for all expats ! ) is deciding where to set up basecamp once we leave the UAE. One thing I know for sure is that while ever I am breathing I will be giving 100 % to whatever I do – be that taking time out , firing on full cylinders, writing more books, speaking, leading retreats / expeditions , spending time with family and friends or simply just BEING !

What is your philosophy?

You only live once so live it NOW … be happy , healthy , follow your heart , travel often , learn something new every day , be a beacon of light and love to all YOU ARE HUMAN SUNSHINE

Julie Lewis








June Spotlight: Jiten Puri Talent Manager Aujan industries Dubai







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

I am a Mathematics graduate, with Post graduate diploma in business management. From selling consumer durables, telecom services & investment products to managing a diverse team of customer service professionals for high net worth clients, I have been able to utilize my business experience to the needs of the current role of being a talent professional. I am still learning.

With an offer to work with Investment sales unit of ABN AMRO Bank, I landed in Dubai in 2005. I, my wife and my 11 year old son have truly enjoyed the last 10 years here. UAE is our second home now, and still closer to our parents back in India.

With close to 18 years of corporate experience in industries like consumer goods, telecom, banking and FMCG, I started my career with SAMSUNG Electronics and eventually moved to AIRTEL, ABN AMRO, RBS. In my current role, at AUJAN COCA COLA BEVERAGES COMPANY, I lead the Talent and Organization development agenda since Dec 2010. In addition to my responsibilities of performance management, learning & development, talent management, leadership development & engagement, I also manage the internal marketing, Communications and have the pleasure of working on different business projects. Having worked in sales, customer services and HR, I can connect the dots of the business needs to what we are required to customize and deliver for them.

Middle East market is land of opportunities. It is somewhere between the west and some of the advanced eastern markets. As a result there we have the best of the minds and technological tools which have converged here to change the Middle Eastern business landscape. I remember when I started to work here in 2005; I realized that some of the basics still need to be in place. And now after 10 years, though we have made a lot of progress, but we still need to catch up with the some of the advanced nations. So it’s a continuous journey and we are lucky enough to be a part of the changing business landscape here.

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

Well, can I really write a few solid lines about the culture in my company at this stage? Our organization has been evolving over the past few years. We are witnessing a transformation from a successful family run business into a real multinational, which now manages some of the world top brands.

Our heritage of being friendly with employees, deep knowledge of local markets, taking calculated risks, and working in difficult countries gives us the edge of executional excellence. Going forward we need to managing even bigger range of SKUs in more complex situations, with multiple stakeholders. This needs us to be even more customer focused, keeping a close eye on consumer needs which drives innovation in our products. The behaviors we expect all our colleagues is to take quick, fact based decisions, and driving continuous improvement.

At this stage I can say that we are going through massive changes in our strategy, in our leadership styles and in the market environment. The sum total of all these is the climate and the culture we create. We welcome anyone to our office and one can witness the respect, the warmth, sense of being a team and at the same time tend to be fast and efficient. I am truly enjoying this cultural transformation journey at ACCBC

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

As I have mentioned, that all employees are driven to help transform this company, our leadership team is more than inclined to make this happen. We have open door policies and anyone could meet the management team. I and my senior colleagues get all the platforms possible to share our opinions and be a part of the decision making. The only reason is the openness of the CEO and the leadership team to listen to new ideas and have the appetite to experiment new ways of doing things based on facts shared by all of us.

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

CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE. Change is a constant and we experience this every day. I did explain the journey of transformation we are going through right now. To make any change successful we need to have their emotional as well as the intellectual buy in of the team members. Our organization has a blend of teams: we have a high number of employees who proudly have been taking long service awards. At the same time we hire fresh talent from the industry who come and share the best practices and expedite the implementation of new projects.

To help us manage the capacity and capability challenges, we need to help our employees with the tools and techniques so that they can weather the storms and are equipped to make the strategy come live. We have already started on this journey through communications, learning and development as well as by involving them in various business projects.

All the other business and operational challenges are secondary. Once we see the progress on change (which is going in the right direction), our people will not only manage but lead the rest of the challenges: Whether it is managing more complexities in product range, operating in difficult conditions, managing unrest in the region, currency fluctuations, keeping up with the regulatory guidelines or anything else. The primary challenge remains: Influencing the mindset: CHANGE

5. What is your philosophy?

Being achievement oriented coupled with affiliation is the main driver for me. I believe in two main things: One is “how do I learn and grow” and second is “How do I value add to others?” It is my endeavor to take new projects as learning opportunities and my search for new challenges keep me on the toes. You and I know that we always have a set of responsibilities in our jobs, and over the past few years I have always ensured that I refresh a new approach within these so called performance objectives. At times we pass, at times we learn and then it is time to experiment something new. Infusing new ways of doing things and helping team members and colleagues grow gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Talent and Development

Aujan Industries Company
(A Member of the Aujan Coca-Cola Beverages Companies)


If you have any questions for Jiten please contact us or

Post your comments below