As some of you might know, I’m co-authoring a book with my dear friend Nadim Issa on Financial Freedom that is due to be published soon.
The book is really focused on the MENA region and has been written in a way to provide insights, techniques, suggestions and ways to reach financial freedom taking into consideration the financial systems, banking system, legal structure, and culture in the MENA region.
I’m just going to share the “Preface” of the book below as a small teaser about the book, stay tuned as I will announce when it is officially launched.
Financial freedom is an aspiration to many, if not most, individuals around the globe, yet achieving it can be rather tricky, and challenging, and needs a lot of hard work, particularly in the MENA region. This book, written by two co-authors, Afif Tabsh and Nadim Issa, aims to provide readers with practical insights, information, and real-life examples of how to gain financial freedom in the MENA region.
The idea for this book came during the authors’ morning walks in Istanbul as they discussed ways to optimize their financial status after losing most of their savings and investments in Lebanon’s financial crisis. They realized that their experiences and observations of what is happening across the region could benefit many others in the MENA region. Their discussions and brainstorming sessions culminated in a new framework for the book, which will serve as a toolkit for anyone seeking financial freedom in the MENA region.
Throughout the following chapters, readers will learn how to gain financial freedom in the MENA region, focusing on the unique challenges and opportunities specific to the region. However, lessons learned, facts, and knowledge apply to everyone wherever they live, especially in third-world countries or developing countries. This differentiation is because many techniques, resources, options, policies, and regulations in countries like the US, UK, Canada, and most European countries do not apply in the rest of the world. Thus the authors focused on making this financial freedom book MENA-Centric in its approach rather than Western/US-Centric like most of the books and resources available on this topic.
The book covers various stages of life, from university to retirement and beyond, providing practical insights and advice for novice investors, entrepreneurs, and anyone with an ambition to succeed in the region. The word success in this book refers to people’s financial freedom and not their business success, career development, and impact on the community or any other metric.
The importance of this book at this point in time lies in the fact that despite the challenges that the world is witnessing, from hyperinflation to recessions and world health crises like covid19, the MENA region continues to show impressive growth, with many countries enjoying at least a 3% year-on-year GDP growth. This growth is fueled by significant government investments in infrastructure and high demographic development of more than 2% per year. With this in mind, the authors believe that anyone in the MENA region can achieve financial freedom with the proper knowledge, mindset, and resources that this book aims to provide.
With over 35 years of combined experience, Afif and Nadim offer a wealth of knowledge and practical insights that will help readers achieve their financial goals. They have tailored their advice to the unique challenges and opportunities of the MENA region, making this book an essential resource for anyone looking to gain financial freedom in this region.
The authors hope this book inspires, informs, and motivates you to achieve financial freedom in the MENA region. Enjoy and benefit from it!
I hope 2023 is treating you well and that it brings you a lot of health, wealth, and happiness! 😀
2022, just like its predecessors, has brought with it a plethora of challenges and hits on all of us. Challenges like changes in market needs, pricing schizophrenia, logistics limitations, fluctuating global situation, and last but not least, for me, a great loss on the personal level, have made this year a tough one to handle, to say the least. Nevertheless, at times pushing against the current, and other times riding it, alongside amazing, family, friends, partners and team members, has made it an outstanding year in terms of growth and expansion and the plans ahead are even more ambitious, so I would like to share with you some updates from my end on RPS MENA, JPC Ltd, RainMakers, and the Youssef Tabsh Foundation among other things I’m currently part of.
I have a lot to say to be honest, but I will try to keep it brief, insightful, and hopefully inspire you to be optimistic and to think of growth despite everything going on in the local, regional, and global arena.
Growth and success from my perspective are not accidental but intentional. They are a deliberate effort being put day-in and day-out by all those involved. Everyone ought to be doing all they can to keep on learning, testing things, trying new ideas, being hopeful in times of despair, daring to dream of things that do not exist yet, planning for 5 and 10 years ahead when we sometimes feel we can not anticipate what is going to happen next month, and yet putting everything we have into action to make things work. Do they always work? Definitely not always from the first time! We do mistakes; we might feel we’re failing or that things are not going as planned, but building feedback loops, rapidly adapting, and pushing forward is definitely bound to make things work in the end in the given context and resources.
Here are some highlights from my end for 2022.
As many of you already know, it has already been 5 years since RPS MENA, a research, consulting, and training firm headquartered in Beirut, was founded by my sister Ghina and myself and expanded to another office in Istanbul over a year ago. Over the past 5 years, we have been primarily focused on serving the development sector (NGOs, INGOs, UN, WorldBank, IFC, CSOs, Networks, Coalitions..), though we have had a fair share of private sector clients across industries and partnered/supported service providers and other organizations that work with them.
In 2022 we are glad to say that we’ve had yet another record-breaking year with more projects, more consultants engaged, more clients served, more consulting days put, more training days delivered, and more research projects implemented than any of the previous years. With that, we’ve expanded our team with 2 new team members and many more consultants and experts that we work with on a project basis, and we are now serving more countries than ever before, including Iraq, UAE, KSA, and Turkey.
Despite all the economic, social, and financial challenges impacting Lebanon, Turkey, and the region, we have invested in our steady growth, building internal infrastructure and proper systems, and most importantly in having on board the right team members and partners that we can build with and grow with for many years to come.
JPC Ltd is a peace-building and conflict transformation firm established in late 2022 in Cyprus by Jean-Paul and me, to serve the EMEA region. Though it was established just a few months ago, we have already attracted a considerable amount of talent to join our Talent Roster, we have applied to several new projects, met with potential clients, recruited a new team member to help us in Coordinating Projects, and we believe 2023 is going to be an eventful and exciting year.
As part of our knowledge-sharing ethos, we are organizing a free webinar, on February February 7, at 6:30 pm Beirut time, titled “Transforming Conflict: A Systemic Approach”. We would love it if you join us and if you know others who might be interested in the field of Peace Building, Conflict Analysis, Conflict Transformation, and the like, then this is definitely for them.
Rain Makers supports organizations (NGOs and others) to improve their opportunity identification, donor mapping, proposal success rates, and developing fundraising strategies and partnership-building capabilities with a participatory approach.
It is legally incorporated late 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey, serving all EMEA region, and is the brainchild of my friend Antoun Andrea and I, as a spin-off of services we used to offer separately through our different vehicles. Thus we decided to join forces, synergize and build something that can positively impact so many lives by helping organizations identify more grants, tenders, bids, and funding opportunities while we can also support them in developing those proposals to help them grow.
We did a soft launch in the last two months and are happy to say that we already got more than a handful of clients and partners that we are serving and the list is growing steadily.
If you are interested to know more, and see how we can help you fundraise, identify more opportunities, write better proposals, map donors and the like…then I invite you to register for our official Launching Webinar, taking place on February 15 at 11:00 am Beirut Time.
Last but not least, it has been a year since my father, Dr. Youssef Tabsh, passed away, and thus a year since we established the Youssef Tabsh Foundation. The Foundation focuses mostly on the causes that he used to be a passionate advocate and supporter of including Social Justice, Medical & Health Services Accessibility to All, and Pan-Arab Collaboration in education, culture, business, and economy among other avenues.
Accordingly, throughout the first year of its establishment, we focused on building its internal policies, procedures, governance, volunteer manuals, developing a way forward, strategy, and some high-level initiatives. In parallel to that, we kept his legacy of philanthropic giving under the three pillars mentioned above to various individuals, families, and organizations in need.
This year, we launched the Youssef Tabsh Foundation Financial Sustainability & Fundraising Support program for Medical & Health NGOs targeting 20 NGOs in the Arab nation. We received a considerably bigger number of applications than we expected and thus ended up expanding our program to cater to 38 organizations, almost doubling our target from the kick-start.
The aim of the program is to empower those NGOs on the best practices in Fundraising, Proposal Writing, and Opportunity Identification and coach them to develop their fundraising strategies to become more financially sustainable. Our belief is that it is better to teach others how to fish, than to give them a fish, and thus helping those NGOs develop the needed capacities or enhance their existing capacities in one way or another, would make a substantially bigger impact than any monetary donation we can offer as a foundation.
The program kicked off in January and will continue till end of April 2023.
To learn more about the foundation, you can check its website, and you can also connect to our social media pages where we will be posting more about the NGOs we’re supporting and announcing new programs and initiatives throughout the year.
Since my brain cannot rest and there is always something I want to learn, things I still want to do, I’ll share a few thoughts about things I’m working on, or others that are to be launched/announced in due time.
Publishing my first book: A friend of mine, and I are currently co-authoring a book which I’m very excited about, and planning to base several educational, coaching, and support programs on it. The full announcement and details will follow in due time.
WAAAUB Turkey Chapter: As some might know, I’ve relocated to Istanbul almost 1.5 years ago with my family, and since then I helped establish the AUB’s Alumni Chapter in Turkey that I currently serve as VP. Since then, I’m happy to say that we have been quite active with events, both online and face-to-face, and now the community has grown to more than 60 members in just a year. It’s always good to connect with Alumni from our Alma Mater and hoping 2023 will be even business, more active and more engaging to all involved..
Training, Job Opportunities & Scholarships: For those who have known me since my days in Aie Serve, Global Shapers and other youth-led NGos, I constantly try to share opportunities for free or paid training opportunities, new job opportunities, and scholarships whenever I find them. I see the offers and demand are increasing and happy to say that through Whatsap Communities, we are able to do that at a scale and ease we could never have thought of before. Communities are growing in the thousands and opportunities are plenty. Mostly Lebanon-specific, which is much needed. So for those interested in sharing opportunities, or to receive, drop me a message to add you to the appropriate Whatsapp Community or direct you to the different Social Media Pages/groups. Just be specific about what you have in mind.
Wrapping it Up
With all the above, I cannot be thankful enough for God’s innumerable gifts and for everyone who has contributed to the success of any of the above, whether through direct or indirect involvement.
I feel blessed every day working and collaborating with individuals that are profoundly good-willed, ethical, and professional. All in all, it makes working enjoyable and smooth, and with a high level of trust that together, we can achieve great things.
As a way of giving back, if you have ideas about something you want to implement, a new project, new business, or new initiative and you do not know how to start or want to discuss it with someone, I’d be happy to support you. Drop me a message and we’ll agree on a common time to do a quick Zoom call to help you out.
In today’s world, and ever changing technology, strategies, processes, products, market trends and requirements, work is no longer linear and definitely requires organizations to be nimble and fast acting.In every office, there are tasks or things that need to be done, but that are not necessarily part of anyone’s job description. Sometimes it is some new technology, a new development, a new product or anything that the organization didn’t have or know how to deal with before.
With that in mind, companies and organizational leaders always looks internally for existing talent that they can depend on to put things together, from various functions and ability to deal with some ambiguity to charter the way forward.
In most organizations I’ve worked with, consulted or advised, there were always a few “Star players” some go-to team members that seem to know, do and are capable of things beyond their typical job description or role requires.
Those are people that might not officially have a title or a specific role, but that everyone around knows that they can go to them with a problem, challenge or situation to assist them.
They seem to have a special mindset of “can-do” and are eager and curious to learn and assist others.
Without people knowing, those people become extremely valued in their organizations and among their team, and they somehow manage to get the seat at the table whenever something strategic, new or challenging comes up.
Those are what I call Corporate Swiss Knives, a multi-talented, multi-faceted individuals who their organization depends on to get them through challenging times and unchartered territories.
Individuals who are Corporate Swiss Knives (CSKs) seem to have a power-mindset and techniques to shine within their organizations, build stronger rapport with others, and be the go-to person for problem solving, special projects and initiatives and gain the trust of the team both horizontally and vertically.
Over the years, I observed a lot of organizations and worked with 100s and even 1,000s of people trying to identify what makes individuals shine. Built on my consulting and training career, as well as my masters in Human Resources Management which I focused on Competency Models, along with my certification as a Psychometric Assessor, I’ve identified the characteristics, behaviours, mindset and skills that make CSKs.
It’s what I’d like to call the Secrets of Becoming a Corporate Swiss Knife. For that, I developed a short, intensive, self-paced, video based training in Arabic on “How to Become a Corporate Swiss Knife”.
The training is both afforadable and easy to comprehend by almost everyone as I made sure to keep things concise, practical and with clear exampls.
If you’re interested in becoming a Corporate Swiss Knife, and shine in your career and within your organization, I believe it is a good start to go through the course.
After that, I’m happy to have a more details discussion with you, your career aspirations, where you see yourself in life and how I can possibly assist you.
So go ahead, give it a shot and let me know your feedback.
I often receive comic posts, Whatsapp messages and jokes about marriage, married couples, wife or husband related topics. It surprises me to see so much ridicule, making-fun of the other and rather un-inviting messages being perpetuated to non-married individuals and among married individuals. Yet at the same time, I don’t think any of those messages really deter anyone from getting married when they meet the right person, but they sure do give marriage a rather negative reputation.
Personally, I find it rather weird for why those messages exist in the first place. When two individuals who fall in love deeply, get married, and commit to live a life together as one family, raise children, go through life with the other, and yet they somehow end up ridiculing one another or sharing negative jokes about marriage?
I’ll take this opportunity on the night of my marriage anniversary to reach out to all those falling in love, to those planning to get married, or those recently married, to tell you that life only gets better together. Having the one you love and loves you back in your life, having your second half, having that unimaginable bond gives you a sense of serenity, peace of mind and deep joy that cannot really be compared.
For those who know me, know that I’ve been through a lot, had a busy life, met a lot of people, traveled, changed careers, volunteered in every way possible, had a truly fulfilling life. Yet non of that matches the joy of the day I got married, the joy of knowing that I’ll wake up every morning with the one person I love the most, knowing that I’ll be taken care off, pampered and loved back.
Marriage, for me at least, is like moving in with your best friend, who you feel really attracted to, enjoy spending time with, can to talk about anything and everything, can share dreams and aspirations, as well as fears and worries, can laugh, eat, drink, be foolish and be serious with. It’s that comfort zone where you know there is someone who depends on you and you can depend on, at all times and for all matters.
To those who are falling in love with someone, or contemplating whether you should marry the one you love, I’d say go for it! Treat them right, love them with all your heart, do anything and everything you can to make them happy…and just watch it multiply and come back to you in folds.
To those who are already married, share the good stories, share the good memories, share the beautiful side of a married life and let it perpetuate.
To my beautiful wife Joana, I’m blessed to have you in my life. Happy Anniversary! 🙂
It’s been a while since I wrote blog post, but I’m taking the occasion of recently turning 30 to reflect on what it means to me, where I stand in life now and my perspective on what is yet to come in the future.
To start, I’m glad to say it’s been hectic, rewarding, challenging, stressful at times but most importantly an enjoyable journey. Looking back at the last 10 years, I feel blessed to have been faced with many challenges, phases of life, career changes, love life changes, and I even lived abroad for a short while.
In the past 10 years, I’ve changed 4 jobs and had a complete career shift from IT into Management Consulting. In that period I’ve also earned 6 international certifications and a masters degree. I’ve establish multiple NGOs, elected to the Board in some, advised numerous others, trained more than a 1,000 youth and professionals alike, travelled to numerous countries, met some of the most inspiring people but most importantly married the love of my life and got a beautiful baby boy.
Now that I’m 30, I feel I’m at the nexus of life where I’m definitely more mature, experienced and knowledgeable than any of my previous years, but I’m also less interested in many things, less eager about proving myself here or there, less enticed by new adventures and definitely less willing to take risks.
Overall I feel more rooted in who I became, my family, my country, my friends, my network, my comfort zone in general. Yet 2 things I can’t seem to quench, my curiosity and my ambitions. I constantly feel restless to learn more and achieve more things in my life. In every avenue I take whether it being professional life, academic knowledge, volunteer work or personal/social life… I constantly am on the lookout for what is yet to come, what is next, what the future will bring.
This restlessness is sometimes a much needed fuel that keeps me going, to aspire for more impact and growth, to do more and learn more. Yet at times it somehow feels like a burning desire to take some unwarranted risks, to dedicate more time and effort in things that might not necessarily be in line with what is best at the moment, to dream of things that are not yet attainable nor practical.
One thing I know for sure is that my brain never stops pondering about the possibilities that lay ahead, the “what ifs”, the different ways I can be spending my time and effort. Sometimes I get that urge to just quit my job and break free from the never ending rat race and go freelance, do what I am passionate about, explore different options, establish some social enterprise or simply just hustle my way through life. Sometimes I feel like I want to take a whole quarter of un-paid leave and just spend time with my wife and baby, do some volunteer work, travel around different countries, experience new things that I have been wandering about.
Then reality check comes in and reminds me of all the pros and cons. It reminds me about the lifestyle I’ve put my self and my family in, about the responsibilities of being a husband and a father, about the potential of not being able to provide to my family the basic needs if things go south. The debate goes on for a while in my head, and usually this happens late at night while gazing out from my balcony to the view of the city, the sea and nature. I realize that the 3 of them are co-existing, balanced somehow, even though some take a toll on the other, but they co-exist and have found their equilibrium (though they are ever changing, they still stabilize somehow). So I remind myself of all that I’m doing lately, from work to volunteering to quality time with family and friends. It gets me to realize that the sea ought not take over the city and nature, nor the city to overtake the others, and balance is the key to sustainability. So I calm myself down and hold my horses from going irrational.
30 is an interesting age, a time in life where one is equipped to do much more than before, but also has many more guidelines and responsibilities. It’s exciting and calming at the same time. It allows me to reflect on the many things that have passed and been achieved, and the many more things that are yet to be done. It reminds me that 3 decades have passed, and God willing, I’d have many more yet to come, so there is still time to do a lot. It gives me the realization that the world doesn’t move as fast as I hope it would, things don’t change as rapidly as I’d like, achievements don’t come by as frequently as I desire, nevertheless there is time and patience is a virtue.
For now, I’m going to take it easy and enjoy the 30s, keep on dreaming and aspiring, keep on pushing for more and learning more while still ensuring that I’m well rooted and grounded, lest I leap into the realm of the unknown.
As a start, I have a disclaimer to make: Dr. Youssef Tabsh is my father and is currently running for parliamentary elections in Beirut II district. The aim of this post is to objectively reflect my father’s responses to questions and concerns which matter to the Lebanese citizens in general, and more specifically, Beirut community.
The questions mentioned below have been curated through my personal network, then merged, edited and phrased in such a way as to reduce any redundancies and overlaps while ensuring that all key inquiries are addressed.
In addition to the Q&A below, I’m adding a link to the Electoral Program of “Sawt El Nas” the coalition which Dr. Youssef Tabsh is part of.
Dr. Tabsh is a medical doctor; a uro-surgeon to be exact. He is the youngest of his 5 siblings descending from a typical Sunni family residing in Tareeq El Jdide in Beirut. He has been very proactive in civic welfare matters since he was 14. Dr. Tabsh pursued his studies at Makassed and Al Bir Wal Ihsan schools respectively. Later, he obtained a scholarship to pursue his medical education at the First Institute of Medicine in Saint Petersburg (previously Leningrad), Russia where he also headed the Arab Students Association.
Upon his return, he registered at the Lebanese Order of Physicians as well as the Lebanese Urology Society. He then opened his clinic, started his medical practice in several local hospitals, joined the Soviet Union Alumni Association in Lebanon which he was then elected as its President. Dr. Tabsh served as a founding member of the Mourabitoun (المُرابِطون) political party, and Vice President at the medical foundation called “Najda Sha’bia” (النجدَة الشعبية). Additionally, he was a founding member and then elected President of the Lebanese National Crescent(الهلال الوطني اللبناني). He is also a founding member and Vice President of an NGO which civilizations studies organization called “Tayyar El Hadarat – Abhath wa Dirasat” (تيّار الحضارات-أبحاث ودراسات)
In the aftermath of the civil war, Dr. Tabsh put his political engagement on hold and focused solely on humanitarian work and medical practice. In the 90s, he ran for Presidency of the Order of Physicians. From a broad geo-political perspective, Dr. Youssef Tabsh strongly believes in Arab nationalism, the Palestinian cause, a fan of Jamal Abdul-Nasser’s socialist views and approaches, and a vigorous advocate of freedom of expression and humanitarian work.
Over the past 37 years, Dr. Tabsh had helped and supported thousands of people in need across all spectra of the country; whether sick, impoverished, or in trouble. His medical and humanitarian services ranged from Beirut, to Saida, Palestinian camps and other various areas in Lebanon where there were people in need.
Currently, Dr. Youssef Tabsh is a retired medical doctor, a loving husband, a father of 4 and a grandfather of 3. He speaks 4 languages, is an avid reader and a strong believer in lifelong learning. He still has that flame in him; that passion and vision to serve his community, his country, and the Arab nation at large by any means and by all means within his capacity. His activism since childhood stands proof to it.
After that many years of not being in the political scene, why did you decide to run for elections?
As a matter of fact, my lifelong friends Brigadier General Moustafa Hamdan from the Mourabitoun movement (حركة المرابطون) and ex-MP Najah Wakim from Haraket El Sha’b (حركة الشعب) both asked me to run for elections as they strongly believed in my vision and political agenda while feeling that there is a real chance to succeed with the new electoral law. Based on multiple discussions and meetings, I felt it would be worth to give this step a shot, and I definitely look forward to further serving my country.
When people hear “Mourabitoun” they recall the armed group that was based in Beirut defending against the Israeli invasion. To what extent does the current Mourabitoun movement still resemble its history, and what has changed since then?
The days of armed groups have long been gone; I’ve never been a fan of arms, never used one and not planning to ever own one. Eventually, I’m a medical doctor; I have solemnly sworn to save people’s lives not end it. The Mourabitoun today has kept its core values of Arab nationalism, believing in the Palestinian cause and their right to return to their homeland, and in the socialist agenda of having fair and just policies applied to all citizens within the country regardless of their sects and affiliations. This is the core belief of the Mourabitoun movement. This is what it has been reestablished to do, and this mission will survive despite any challenges.
You are part of a coalition called “Sawt El Nas” or the “Voice of the People”, why this coalition?
As a coalition, there are a lot of common ground among us. It is true that we come from diverse backgrounds and political parties/civic groups, but there is synergy among the members on many core issues, all of which are reflected in our common “Political Program for Parliamentary Elections”.
Can you summarize your political agenda in few bullet points/key words?
The agenda, or political program in general, is quite detailed. However, if I were to highlight the key issues/topics which constitute top priorities for me, they’d be as follows:
Secularism: Pushing to end sectarianism in any and all means possible; hence, ensuring citizens are treated equally and fairly, irrespective of their religious affiliation.
Rule of Law: Developing necessary policies, and spreading awareness about the importance of institutionalization, good governance and proper functioning of public entities to serve citizens properly, consistently and fairly.
Transparency: Activating and empowering the proper institutional bodies to monitor, audit and hold accountable all public servants (from President to Ministers to MPS to all those who work in the public domain) as a means to combating corruption in a structured, consistent and sustainable manner.
Knowledge Economy & Employment: Initiate new government projects, open new positions, reverse the brain drain and enforce policies which encourage recruiting fresh graduate Lebanese, people with disabilities, and enforce certain female quotas.
Health Care: Ensuring healthcare services are accessible, affordable, of high quality and treat all Lebanese people with courtesy, irrespective of whether or not they have money.
What is your stance of the current political parties who are in power?
They are a disgrace to the country. They have been in control of this country since the civil war; many just changed hats from war-lords to governmental figures. It is a shame that Lebanese citizens have consistently voted them back into office time and time again. There is a saying in Arabic that somewhat means “Your leaders are a reflection of who you truly are” and that shows that some Lebanese people still believe in those “leaders” and they represent them, or else why would they vote for them? That shows that a non-representative percentage of the Lebanese population are sectarian, corrupt, short-sighted, promote their own personal benefit over that of the country’s. Yet, and thankfully, not all Lebanese are like that, and with this new electoral law, we all have a chance to make a difference, of putting people in office to voice out our concerns, and represent us as we deserve to be represented.
Can you walk us through your political program and plans if you become an MP?
Well there are many points to talk about here, so I prefer if you read the program in detail (link) as it covers topics including but not limited to: Foreign policy, Empowerment of the Army, Jails & Justice Department, Sectarianism, Right to Give Nationality to Children by Males and Females, Female Quota, Rights of the Disabled, Brain Drain & Economic Recovery, Knowledge Economy, Healthcare, Education, Unemployment, National Debt, Economic Policy, Fighting Corruption, Garbage & Other Environmental Issues, Electricity, Internet, Telephone & Other Services, and Transportation among other topics.
Anything else you’d like to tell the readers?
Well I want to tell your readers, especially those in Beirut, that their vote won’t go in vain. Each vote counts, every person who steps forward and practices their civic duty is helping shape the future of the country in a way they find fit. I hope that through my bio, my replies, and the program I shared with you above, I will have managed to convince your readers to vote for me. All those who know you, my son, whether personally or through your work, I believe they know what kind of person you are and what kind of upbringing you had. It is the same vision, support and encouragement which I had provided for you that I would like to offer to the youth of this country; give them hope, provide them with decent careers, bring them their country back from the bunch of people who have been taking us hostage for over 30 years now!
Few days ago, I was elected to lead a coalition containing more than 30 NGOs and 10s of individuals working towards promoting and sustaining civil peace in Lebanon. The coalition is called “Wahdatouna Khalasouna” which means “Our Unity is Our Salvation”. As the name highlights, the focus of the coalition is bring together a plethora of non-profits, experts, activists and academicians to work on issues that might hinder or threaten civil peace in Lebanon.
Our work as a coalition is to tackle the different themes that have an impact on civil peace including but not limited to: human equality, environment, armed conflicts, reconciliation and post-conflict peace building, youth employment and empower, women in leadership, media biases among others.
The coalition is more than 7 years old and I’ve been a proud member since its inception. Back then, my own NGO, Aie Serve, was operating for almost 3 years and we believed that as a youth organization we have a stake in this matter and wanted our voices to be heard. So from joining the coalition as an NGO representative all the way to becoming a member of the steering committee in the last round of elections to recently becoming the General Coordinator of the coalition. IT’s been an interesting journey and for sure I’ve learned a lot from the previous leadership of the coalition and will continue to ask for their guidance and support throughout the upcoming years.
So the journey starts this month in setting up the new strategy, framework and modus operandi for the future of the coalition and its projected impact on our society.
For the time being, I invite you to check our Website and Facebook Page and bare with us while we update and relaunch them in the coming few months.
It’s been quite a long time since I wrote any posts on my blog, but there are certain things that can’t be kept silent for too long. This is a message of gratitude to an unsung hero.
I’d like you to meet Youssef Aziz,
a dear friend of mine, an activist, an a true unsung hero in several NGOs I’m engaged with.
This gentleman works behind the scenes, does double the effort than most, has the kindest of hearts and a brilliance that is rare to find.
Topping all of that, he is down to earth and a true believer in the values of the organizations he joins/founds/advises.
What triggered my post is the fact that this week…one of the dear NGOs to his heart, and mine, has been officially shut down. It wasn’t shut down by force or by external factors but by an unanimous Board decision, including Mr. Aziz. The choice was tough for all of us, but I know for a fact that it is by far the toughest on him than any of us.
In spite of all that, he’s been orchestrating the process, handing all the necessary documents and coordination to ensure a smooth and successful transitioning for the status of the organization.
But his efforts, input and value is not just about this NGO, but rather for the past 9 years I’ve known him in, he’s been the most trustworthy, consistent and resourceful individual in my volunteering experience.
So to you Youssef I want to say, your work shows when the organizations you’re involved in succeeds in whatever decisions it takes. To you I say, and bluntly, if it wasn’t for you, at least 4 NGOs that you and I know of/volunteer with/advised, wouldn’t have succeeded or existed. So what you’ve done, is setup the infrastructure for those NGOs to be built on, serve others and grow.
On my behalf, and undoubtedly on the behalf of many others, I say thank you for who you are, what you’ve done and what you continue to do day in day out.
I’ve successfully finished my Masters in Human Resources Management (MHRM) program at AUB. My focus was on Training and Development, thus I developed an NGO Leadership & Management Competency Model. It led to a tentative design of a training program that I will later develop to be offered to NGOs, possibly in partnership with some of the top universities in the region.
I did in-depth literature review on the topic of core competencies for Leadership & Management in NGOs in Lebanon and globally. Following the research, I organized 2 focus groups, bringing in the insights of experienced professionals in NGOs, Training and Development. Based on the findings, I published a survey to further verify the findings and have a wider input from a diverse background of individuals.
This mixed-methods research project resulted in a detailed analysis of competencies and training and development preferences for the target group. Here is a brief report of the findings: NGO Management Leadership Competency Model
Moreover, the above video is a 30min video of the defense I did on the project in front of the jury and here is the link of the article published on the Lebanese Development Network Website: LDN Article.
If you have any suggestions, questions or need any clarifications, don’t hesitate to let me know.
Building on that, I went for the exam and became a certified PMP. In the mean time, the trainer who gave me the course, who eventually became a close and trusted friend, introduced me to the Managing Partner of CMCS. Few months later, they offered me a job at CMCS as a Consultant and that’s when I transitioned from IT into Consultancy.
3 years later, I managed to grow and develop at CMCS to become the Operations Manager in addition to having had the pleasure of delivering training courses of all kinds related to Project Management and Business Analysis, training being something I enjoy passionately. I’ve also managed to earn 3 other certifications (CBAP, PBA, GPM-b) and pursue my masters in Human Resources Management (MHRM) at AUB with a focus on Competency Models and Training Development.
This summer, and out of the blue, I got contacted by the HR of one of the big 5 consultancy firms asking me if I’m interested in joining their team based on my achievements and my LinkedIn profile.
So I went through the selection process and I’m proud to say that I’ve been given an offer, which I took. Therefore, I submitted my resignation from CMCS and will be heading off to this firm by the end of August.
This means I’m ending a beautiful journey in a company I’ve grown to love and respect its team, its professionalism and its achievements. It’s a hard decision to leave something you are doing well at, but at the same time, sometimes one got to think numerous steps ahead.
In addition to that, I’m not only transitioning out of CMCS, but I’m also leaving the country, which is a major career and life-style change. It’s a leap of faith, and I surely hope it’ll pay off in terms of career growth, more challenges and opening new doors.
I’m proud to say, as of September 1, 2015, I’ll be having a managerial position in the Advisory and Consultancy team at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in their Riyadh Office!
As a final note, I want to thank everyone who supported me in this journey of growth and I’m glad to have met everyone I worked with, partnered with, volunteered with and given a training to anywhere around the globe!