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X-ennials And The Need For Social Impact With Jihane Fadel
Former Associate Creative Director at Ogilvy Beirut and winner of the Lürzer's Archive Scholarship for the Executive MBA here at the Berlin School, Jihane Fadel discusses the unique challenges facing the MENA region as well as the immense wave of progress shaping its exciting future.
Tell us about your career so far...
I recently discovered that I belonged to a microgeneration of people that are called X-ennials. It’s a privilege and a responsibility to be one of the few who can still link the past to the future and present so I proudly say that I am an intellectual nomad, a rebel, a passionate creative and a strong believer in the power of now. I started my career with Ogilvy Beirut after graduating with a masters degree in advertising; soon after, amazing opportunities unfolded in the MENA region. The experience of diversity in the workplaces in Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE shaped my career and filled it with accomplishments and growth both on the personal and the professional level.
Fueled by the need to create change and finding purpose in learning, unlearning and relearning was the drive that kept me going further to reaching higher. Today, I proudly hold a stellar record of local and regional awards, in addition to the experience of building strategies, leading the creative department, inspiring the clients, and always pushing the work forward.
What was your favourite ad campaign of 2017?
It wasn’t a traditional "ad campaign” or a staged experiment, it was more of a global wave that mobilized and engaged millions worldwide. A movement that was created to send a bold message and to create change while empowering freedom of expression and defending basic human rights. The women’s march to me is one of the most powerful messages for today’s communities.
It stormed social media, used it to spread hope and collective awareness. A global campaign bigger than any brand, a global campaign that has a purpose, a global campaign that will keep on expanding beyond borders. For sure that’s a winner in its own category “changing the now” for a better future.
What trends do you predict will shape your region the most in 2018?
I am currently based in Beirut in The Middle East, a region full of contradictions. Political turmoil on one part and high-tech cities on the other. A decade ago, we witnessed the rise Dubai, a unique concept of smart and diverse living in the UAE and KSA is building “Neom” the land of the future a city built on humanity’s greatest resource: imagination. Who would have thought!
Trends that will shape the business world
• A.I has already set foot in KSA with their first robot citizen which opens a lot of debates and proves that even the most conservative communities are embracing digitalization
• The independent workforce
The co-working spaces and the rise of the independent workforce will definitely affect the course of employment and companies will be facing a big challenge in locating these talents and finding ways to retain them
Trend that will shape the visual world
• The Creative Expression:
The visual conversation that supports storytelling is shaping a lot of industries from tourism to fashion and sports. Social media has opened doors to a lot of new trends and it’s not going backwards for sure. The new trend of amateurs/professionals is on the rise, growing fond of today’s technology that is making all tasks easy to learn and master.
In addition to that “live content” is empowering young people and helping them spread their ideas and embrace “creative reality”. It seems like the region is on a fast track of reshaping and reinventing human civilization.
How do you think diversity will affect Leadership in the near future?
Diversity is a mindset that can help solve business challenges and empower teams to tackle problem-solving in multiple markets. Diversity of thought and diversity of gender can create a rich environment and can generate more understanding and higher acceptance of our differences. When the leadership team realizes the importance of implementing such richness it becomes mandatory for growth for both people and businesses.
You previously mentioned your focus on acting and yoga, how did that help you become a better leader?
In the East, live the most enlightened and humane leaders; the ones we turn to when our Western world ceases to satisfy us. That is not a random truth, in fact, it holds a lot of teachings. I still remember my first yoga class; stiff body, unable to catch a breath and lots of giggles, lack of seriousness and understanding…fast forward 3 years later I am a certified yoga teacher with over 200 hours of experience a totally new mind. The true purpose of yoga is to be able to practice the teachings of the outside world.
A stiff mind cannot expand, just like a stiff body can never reach its highest potential. Leadership is a practice the earlier you find guidance the more you learn and the better you become. As for acting, I attended improvisation sessions and to my surprise, this is even more difficult. Respect to all actors!! In our daily routine, we face a lot of situations whether with a client or within the team where things get out of control and being able to improvise a solution is essential. By pointing out your weaknesses and taking a step to overcome what’s holding you back you allow yourself to become a better human and a no doubt a better leader.