By Tamara Pupic
MENA Speakers has kicked off a series of events to inspire UAE-based start-ups to share their stories, leads and tips
MENA Speakers, a Dubai-based specialist agency for keynote speakers, corporate trainers and moderators, hosted a networking breakfast featuring guest speaker Andreas Ekström, author of the international bestseller "The Google Code,” on Sunday.
The event took place at the Capital Club Dubai from 7:30am to 9:30am on Sunday, and included a moderated conversation where Ekström discussed how customer and citizen behaviour was influenced by the digital revolution, providing small business owners with an inside look at digital trends affecting their ventures.
“We see an unprecedented shift of power, a tidal wave of resources flowing straight to Silicon Valley,” said Ekström. "That is not necessarily all good for a healthy, balanced and truly global world.
"We have gotten to the point where we have to stop talking about IT as a department, or as a separate strategy. Your digital strategy has to BE your strategy.
“Some people get intimidated just at that thought, but I have a simple piece of advice to break that up - just make sure to remember what business you are in.
“It is not banking, or insurance, or manufacturing, or law, but the business of answering your clients' questions, and then solving their problems. As long as you stay true to that goal, you will remain relevant."
Andreas Ekström is a senior staff writer and columnist at Sydsvenskan, a daily morning paper in Malmö, Sweden. He is also an author of several books, but ”The Google Code”, published in 2010, made him a household name in the Nordics.
His TED talk "The Moral Bias behind Your Search Results" has reached over a million viewers to date.
Ekström’s lecture in Dubai is part of a series of power networking and breakfast events organised by MENA Speakers throughout the year.
MENA Speakers is a regional resource for corporations and public sector institutions, providing more than 100 keynote speakers, event hosts, and moderators, including Claire Woodcraft Scott, CEO of the Emirates Foundation, and Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi female to climb Mount Everest, among others.
Furthermore, the Dubai-based start-up offers public speaking and presentation skills trainings as well as executive guidance tailored for people looking to improve their soft skills in the areas of sales, marketing, negotiations, and more.
Founded by Swedish-Palestinian Saana Azzam, MENA Speakers aims to be an exporter of Middle Eastern voices to the world.
“To educate, engage and empower people through conversation,” explained Azzam. ”We provide keynote speakers, corporate trainers and moderators to the market. Our main aim is to facilitate that interaction between speakers and different forums and to make sure that the right voice is matched to the right audience.
“Our client base is across industries and we provide training or coaching solutions to knowledge traders, event managers, HR Managers or those in a high-powered position. Reportedly, 87 percent of employees are unengaged at work, and research has shown that one productive employee can do as much work as six unproductive employees!
“Therefore, our attendees are also people looking for corporate training on soft skills as well as those wishing to hear from experts and keynote speakers on an array of topics.”
A graduate of the esteemed Stockholm School of Economics with a masters in economics. Azzam started her professional career working for Barclays Capital and Saxo Bank Middle East, before setting up MENA Speakers in 2016.
She was listed as one of Sweden’s 101 Supertalents in 2012, and recognised as a Top 30 Under 30 Influencer in 2015. She is also a certified NLP Practitioner which enables her to incorporate this skill-set in her trainings. Azzam also undertook numerous public speaking assignments in Europe and the Middle East with clients such as Ericsson and Spotify.
“There are some incredibly high-intellectual voices in the Middle East and I would love to see them giving the world a chance to meet them, hear them, and show that the Middle East still has this renaissance movement of global shapers and shakers,” Azzam added.
For more information about MENA Speakers, please follow this link.