Your story in 10 lines
I was raised in a big family house with 9 members in the family. My ancestors come originally from the Emirate of Sharjah in the UAE. Sharjah is a symbol for culture, intellectual and architectural revolution, renowned for its leading role as a patron of fine arts and an home of true cultural values, and for its ability to create a cultural identity that harmonizes between its islamic roots and historical heritage, and between contemporaneity and openness to the many humanitarian cultures. I was born in Dubai and lived in this amazing still for my whole life. Even with my very frequent travelling, I still can’t imagine calling any other city home and can’t stay away more than 2 weeks. My background has absolutely informed my career path, particularly my family and the place I grew up.
I consider myself a a very lucky person since I was raised in a house with two role models, raised by an army man and a mother than used to teach for 20 years. My father’s profession reflected in the way he raised the family, with a focus on discipline.
My mother was a teacher and I always looked up to her growing up. She showed me that her job is really about inspiring other people and to educate new generation, so I decided to be a teacher too and studied English to teach young learners in my country and particularly in public schools as well as teaching students with special needs.
My grandparents were very well known in pearl diving and this too taught me a lot. Through their experiences they introduced me to the concept of patience. Pearl diving is different from fishing or any other job, you have to wait for days or even weeks to find the right pearl, but when you get the right pearl, it’s a major opportunity. This all taught me how we should wait wisely for the bigger opportunity out there from a career perspective – and in life generally.
My aim when I graduated was to support the community and give back to the community, so I worked for a year in a government school and have spent some time doing humanitarian services work with special needs before joining the corporate world doing communications with one of the biggest real estate developers in the region, TECOM Investments. I used to oversee and manage the PR department for TECOM Investments and its various Business Parks, where I helped in my role to set and develop best practice frameworks for the marketing and PR functions across the organization while providing consultancy to the free zones on strategic PR initiatives.
A woman behind the internationalisation of the first design district in Dubai after the vague of the crisis crossing your real estate industry. Can you tell us more about what companies can expect?
D3’s core objective is to act as a catalyst for growth for the region’s creative community. We already have a flourishing creative scene in Dubai, but in order to be viewed as a genuine, inspirational creative hub, d3 must offer a comprehensive platform for the incredible talent that is emerging from the Emirate. We want to help these talented individuals and businesses to reach their full potential and achieve their dreams. We also want to give the international community a flavour of what Dubai really has to offer the world of design, which is a huge amount.
Once complete, d3 will be a world class creative community that will also provide a home to global brands who wish to set their headquarters here or open their market to the Middle East. We are creating a destination where global brands and emerging local talent will be side by side and can learn from each other, inspire each other and importantly, where they can live, work and play.
Ultimately, through d3, we want to help achieve Dubai’s 2020 Vision of attracting 20 million visitors and generating AED 300 billion in tourism revenues per year.
Which is the most important achievement you obtained as manager and which is, on the other hand, the one as the more intimate yourself?
Being part of a very new project and a developer from the very beginning, has been the biggest challenge of my career so far. But it’s also been an opportunity. We spoke to so many people from the design industry as we worked to establish a destination they would love; and their excitement and interest in the project has been huge and the genuine response from the community have been overwhelming. We simply can’t let them down! So, with every milestone we hit, I have felt a real sense of pride in what we are creating here. There’s a lot more to do but this has been a fantastic journey so far, full of passion, learning and a lot of hard work!
Which encounters do you normally have in your daily work routine?
Every day is a new day with its own challenges, ups and downs, and I deal with each day with an open mind and fresh eyes. What makes my day every morning is spending 30 minutes before going to work with my little niece, my source of joy which gives me a lot of energy and freshness for the rest of the day.
I enjoy meeting new people and learning about different cultures, languages and backgrounds. My job and particularly being in Dubai gives me the opportunity to do that, which is really great.
What your city – Dubai – is giving to you and vice versa?
Driving every day to work and seeing the breath-taking skyline of Dubai makes me proud of all the city’s achievements. The traffic and seeing new construction sites reboots my energy and makes me remember what Dubai have achieved so far and how much more is ahead of us. We have one particular view from our office at Dubai Design District where you could see what Dubai has built in the past 20 years. If you look at skylines of other big cities like New York or Berlin or others, you will notice that they have not changed much; in Dubai, 20 years ago, all you could see on the busiest road right now was one building which is the World Trade Centre Building. Dubai is a very ambitious city and we realize those goals much faster than any other city around the world. We have learnt this from our inspiring leadership, to always strive for the best. We all feel that we are part of the city’s vision, that what I work for every day.
Dubai is a place where people can live their dreams; and importantly, through my role with d3, it is allowing me to be part of Dubai’s future as it strives to achieve its vision. Playing a role in establishing and developing the Emirate’s design community is a big responsibility but it’s one I am thrilled to be involved in.
Can you share your favourite cooking passion?
I enjoy baking and making desserts in particular. I feel with desserts that I can add my own touch and be creative, well it’s also because you kind of can’t go wrong with dessert . I guess this shows that some of my day to day job is rubbing off onto my day to day life outside of the office! But, that’s the thing about creativity and design: it can be found anywhere and isn’t constrained to an office or a 9 to 5 job.
What is your favourite drink?
Arabic coffee of course! That’s what I start my day with. If you haven’t tried it, you definitely should.
Which is your music or the book(s) with you now (and on which kind of side table or desk the book(s) lies down now)?
I used to read a lot of books, but now with my very busy schedule, I try and at least start or end my day with one design and one fashion blog. It’s much faster and still gives me a snap shot of everything happening in my field. It changes and evolves so quickly, I think it’s important to stay informed – plus I have a passion for it so it’s no chore for me.
Which has been the place in this world where you successfully lived “slow”, if this ever happened?
My family farm house, which is outside the city, is a fantastic place to live slow. It offers a combination of greenery, nature, the sky but also has a partial desert view. That’s where I spend my weekends under the sun.
Which is a talent you have and the one you miss?
I would say writing is one of my real talents, but it’s also what I miss doing. I genuinely miss writing because it used to be such a major part of my life. I do write every day at work but for different purposes at the moment. Apart from my passion for design, the literary world has always deeply inspired me, both as an avid reader and a writer – I am an author of children’s fiction books that were published in 2009.
What have you learnt from life until now?
I’ve learnt a huge amount, whether from those early days growing up or more recently at work with Dubai Design District. I suppose if I could sum up what I’ve learnt in just a short sentence it would be: work hard and never stop trying to achieve, there are always big opportunities waiting around the corner for you to grasp!