There are two people that have made a big impact on my life. Both of them are not part of our industry, but following their advice helped me along the way. One of them is a regular guest at the Hyatt Regency Dubai. His name is Mr. Bou Gamal, also known as the doctor. During our conversations in the lobby of the hotel, he always advised me to live a humble life, one step below my means. By doing this, he told me, I would be able to grow both financially and professionally every year.
The second person is Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Al Hashimi, who used to be one of the senior leaders at Emirates NBD and was also in charge of all Hyatt Hotels in Dubai within our owning company. He taught me that a person without hope and dreams will never grow. Since then, I have always followed his advice and do my best to make my vision, dreams and hopes a reality.How has your previous work experience inspired you to get to where you are today?
My career started, developed and continues to grow with Hyatt, and I believe I have got to where I am today because of my determination to achieve the goals I set myself, and the passion I have for hospitality.
What are the key skills you possess that make you well-suited to this role?
Listening, attention to detail, and compassion. I think regardless of how many skills you may have, these are vital for such a leadership role. A leader is only as great as the people they lead, and without listening, or paying attention, or being compassionate, the right actions cannot be taken.
Back in the day, growing up in Egypt, I remember how the doors of my home were always open to welcome friends, family and even strangers. Entertaining people in our home always brought me so much joy. I had a natural passion for hospitality, and my mother suggested that I make it my profession.
Tell us a bit about the other markets you have worked in and how that compares to your current role?
The United Arab Emirates is home to a diverse set of people and is truly an international environment. I have had the opportunity to work with many from across the globe and witnessed how such a diverse market can lead to great successes — UAE being a prime example of that, as it is now one of the most important hubs for international tourism. Compared to my previous experiences in other markets showed me that either don't have the bene t of such diversity in society, don’t have such great vision or are unable to develop as quickly and successfully.
I believe among my most significant accomplishments was the realisation that I was able to make a difference in the lives of my colleagues, teams and associates. Their success is mine, and this became a reality for me when I was appointed as a general manager at Hyatt Regency Dubai and later at Grand Hyatt Dubai. I was also honoured and proud to receive the Hyatt Purpose Award for the region in 2017 and to be selected as a member of the Hyatt Global Inclusion and Diversity Council, which encourages more equality among our workforce through the lens of care.
What are some of the challenges you foresee, and the opportunities you see crop up from them?
There are many challenges to overcome in the remainder of the year in the hotel industry, but as the saying goes “when a door closes, another one opens”. I foresee more unity amongst the Hyatt Hotels in Dubai, and overcoming these challenges together as a team.
Directly relating to my previous answer, I am working on bringing the teams of all Hyatt Hotels in Dubai a little closer together. I have a few other things in mind, but I guess you will have to ask me more about it once they’ve been introduced!