The tools that we are learning are of a great help to any CEO, board member, middle manager and for any person who is keen to understand people better and make this world slightly better.
Can you tell us a little bit about your professional and personal background?
I have lived in five cities in the United States, Spain and Saudi Arabia. Growing up and living in multiple cities gave me the flexibility from an early age to build friendships and an understanding of others regardless of their looks, different authenticity and cultural backgrounds.
Academically, I hold an MBA from IE Business School in Madrid, a bachelor in Business Marketing from King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals and a diploma in Corporate Banking.
Professionally, I have worked for the previous 20 years in multiple sectors, such as retail, corporate banking, capital market regulations and operations with both the stock exchange and the regulator. Later, I moved on to manage investor relations and corporate governance for listed companies and then became the CEO of the digital subsidiary for the biggest telco in MEA for Saudi.
In parallel, I have co-started several startups in multiple sectors in Saudi, GCC and Europe. In addition, I am participating on several boards on multiple listed and private companies.
A common factor I like in all I do is that it includes the purpose of building and transforming.
In Etisalat, digital and building a digital infrastructure and playing a role in transforming a country digitally. In Leejam I am helping people transform their lifestyle and make an impact in the society as we have a base of over 1.2 million members including more than 300K active gym members.
In Tabuk Cement, I am contributing to the building and construction of NEOM city and transforming a cement factory to become green. Finally, with IE I am building peoples' capabilities and transforming them and their careers.
I have always been blessed to have more than one mentor and several coaches in several stages of my life. I have always appreciated the advice they gave me. Currently i am volunteering with multiple entities to help mentor and coach mid managers in Saudi.
What is a fun fact or something unexpected about you?
My daughter is 18 years old and I still enjoy going to theme parks whenever I can with her.
I enjoy attending the very local festivals in small villages in Europe, especially Spain. I track them on a calendar and enjoy great times with locals (mainly older people). It’s also a fun way to maintain my Spanish as I used to help Saudi students in Madrid kickstart their life in Spain with some basic Spanish “survival kit”.
What made you decide to pursue the EMC at INSEAD?
I see myself transforming to become a change agent. I have been contributing to positive change in my personal and professional life, yet I believe I have reached a level where I need to learn more tools from professional experts and other peers to move this to the next level and to unleash all what I have learned and what I can do make a bigger impact.
I have done many personal assessments in my professional and personal experience, yet I have the desire to know myself more on how to use this knowledge to understand others and play a role in a positive change in myself first and in others.
I am deeply interested in all the modules of the curriculum, it intrigued my curiosity to learn about all the eight modules. Starting from learning how to use psychodynamic and other psychological concepts to explore the hidden dimensions of myself and the organisations I am involved with.
In addition to discovering techniques to regulate my emotions and gaining an understanding of the unique business and interpersonal challenges of advising family-owned businesses. In a board room, I feel that I need to increase my understanding of group decision-making and how to influence processes and multi-party team dynamics.
Diagnosing behaviours in organisations is one of the major things I try to do in the organisation I get involved in. Usually I do that using tools I find through my readings but I would like to learn more about that from INSEAD experts and my fellow classmates.
In 2012, I was in an exchange programme with the Yale School of Business to learn about behavioural economics. Since then I was intrigued about the major impact of human behaviour in the macro perspective. Seeing this content as part of the seventh EMC module in regards to organisational dynamics such as power and politics, social networks, and organisational culture excited me very much.
I always ask my self 'What’s next?' How can I play a bigger role and make a major impact, add value to myself, society, my country and the world. I believe going through the eight modules of the programme will increase my understanding.
The EMC will allow me to have a scientific and structural base to implement change in my professional and personal life. Professionally, change and transformation is in the CORE of what I do through the multiple roles I am involved in:
- As CEO of a digital transformation entity that has a broarder role to transform a country digitally, the EMC will provide me with the tools to understand and implement this change.
- As an investor, a board and executive committee member in the biggest health and wellness company in MEA, that has the objective to transform peoples' bodies and minds, the EMC will provide me with the tools to scale up the change and transformation we want to have to the communities bodies and minds.
- As a country director for IE business school in Saudi, I work closely and through my team with candidates and corporates to transform them through skilling and reskilling them to be able to become change agents in their societies and organisations.
- As an investor, board member in Tabuk cement company, the modules of this programme will help me in navigating the board room, working with the committees and management to transform the organisation. One of the major challenges that will require core changes is the environmental part of a cement factory and how to align it with the green initiatives that are taking place in Saudi.
- As an investor in several startups in Saudi, UAE, Egypt and Europe, I also try to play a role of an advisor and coach with the entities I get involved in. This programme will provide me with the tools to reach and scale up positive change.
What are your impressions of the classroom atmosphere, the content, professors and your classmates so far?
The Class: What a pleasant surprise, outstanding people! Their bravery in sharing made me feel safe. Inspiring stories by amazing people. I tried to take the opportunity to get closer to most of them. The sessions I had with my group were nothing less then inspiring. All are from very diverse backgrounds and went through very different challenges, yet there was so much in common. The experiences I shared within the group are still in my mind.
The content: The content of the programme was entirely new to me. Despite reading all the pre-reading material – including the optional ones - it was all new. Very far from what I learned in my undergrad and other masters, which were mainly in business with only two organisational behaviour courses. At some moment, I felt lost. Had to go online for some further reading. Yet it was very interesting and made me very intrigued to learn more.
The programme and the professors: I can’t express enough how privileged and lucky I feel about attending this programme with the full attention of three experts in psychoanalysis and organisational behaviour. Everyone was very kind and supportive, and that stuck in my mind. The safety and peace I felt from the professors and programme directors was very motivating. I already feel a lot of gratitude to all them.
Please share some examples of new insights / tools that you have gained through the EMC and how you’ve been able to implement them in your professional life?
We are still in the middle of the programme, Yet, learning in depth about defense mechanisms was very interesting.
I printed the handout that was prepared and started to review and reflect on myself first, then on the people close to me. The organisational role analysis exercise was interesting. I work with multiple organisations, and some are very complex. I went through the exercise on my own, and it gave me a better understanding of my role in each and in between them. I am looking forward to what will come next in this area.
Lastly, what advice do you have for people out there who may be currently reading about the programme or considering whether this is the right programme for them?
I believe this is a very different programme. Very unique and can’t be compared with any other. It’s a transformation journey.
Yet, it's not for everyone. You need to have your own reasons for taking this master. Some colleagues want to change their careers and become coaches.
I have a very different reason. My reasons are very personal. I want to know myself better, become a better person and be able to make a difference wherever I am. The tools that we are learning are of a great help to any CEO, board member, middle manager and for any person who is keen to understand people better and make this world slightly better.