Ala Atari is the CEO of Dubai-based Medcare Hospital and Clinics.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I always wanted to be a football player or a leading sports personality. Despite not working in that field now, I am quite pleased to be able to lead a successful organisation and be associated with talent. I still maintain my passion towards football, playing in league matches and sponsoring events through Medcare.
Who was your first mentor?
Jay Cahalan who was the COO at Columbia Memorial Hospital, the hospital I worked at for ten years. Jay was a great guidance to me throughout my time at Columbia.
What three things did he teach you?
He taught me to think and work smart, not hard, pay attention to the finer details, and respect and proceed with matters on a 360 angle.
Name one example when you have made a difference to your business?
I have spent a lot of time integrating the local community and hospital employees at Medcare in order to improve the overall system of the company. It is extremely important that every member of staff understands the culture and the pace of the market in order for them to add value to the organisation.
What makes a good CEO in the Middle East?
I think it's important to understand the culture and the multi-ethnicity of the communities, as well as have full knowledge regarding the policies and procedures of the operating market segment. CEOs must also adopt high standards and customise these to the region accordingly.
What three qualities should every CEO have and why?
Be committed and sensible; act professionally and diplomatically and keep up to date with current market trends that are industry specific.
What advice would you give to any aspiring CEO?
Learn from past experiences and look forward for possible opportunities to maximise the potential; do not hesitate to delegate; and be innovative and updated.
Are a CEO's skills easily transferable?
Skills are not usually transferred but rather learned or acquired over the years of experience and expertise.
If the individual has the right set of skills then it can be enhanced by the leader to the individual who is aspiring to be a CEO and cultivate him to be a better individual.
What should a CEO never do?
They should never micro manage. It is always important to give your staff the liberty and choice to implement in order to bring out the best for the organisation.
Which famous business leader do you most admire and why?
Jack Welch, the former CEO and chairman of General Electric. Jack is a role model for many business leaders. The advice he gives helps executives in adopting best business practices.