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Experts Enlighten AU Community How To Survive Covid-19 (5 October 2020)

Agility, efficiency, productivity, soft skills and technology are key words for students, professionals, and organizations to stand out during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This has been affirmed by UAE top executive business women leaders hosted by Ajman University (AU) as part of the "Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series".

The virtual session, titled: “How to stand out during the pandemic”, featured different sectors’ views and challenges during the pandemic and how each leader confronted them.

The panel was moderated by Ms. Lynn Chouman, News Editor in Linkedin, saw the online presence of Karim Seghir, Ph.D., AU Chancellor, three prominent speakers, and a big number students, alumni and professionals.

Dr. Dalya Al Muthanna, President & CEO of GE Gulf, said the business has adopted a plan of three main components to work through the Covid-19 pandemic - embracing reality, redefining winning, and focusing on execution.

"We needed to accept and adapt to the situation," she said. "Ensuring the safety of our people has always been a top priority for us, and we must do so while maintaining business operations with the least disruption possible."

Redefining winning means having a better understanding of customers' changing needs and ambitions, and finding solutions to their problems, she added. "As for execution, it is all about prioritization and focus."

Dr. Dalya emphasized the need to listen to and work with their customers, especially during this period. "It is very important for every organization to stay close to its customers, understand their needs, address their issues, and turn every challenge into an opportunity to do things better."

Efficiency is a very important aspect for all customers, she pointed out. "Everyone is focused on how to optimize the use of their resources, and how to be more efficient with both their assets and their operations to maximize value."

Dr. Dalya went on to advise the students that soft skills do differentiate people. "Be aware of your strengths and what differentiates you as a talent," she said, before adding that life is a journey.

"While you are young, take the opportunity to explore situations, experiment and discover your skills. Don’t put too much energy into perfecting everything but rather learn from every experience. Be sincere, persistent and know that success comes in teams."

Ms. Abeer AlShaali, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Craft, said agility is the keyword in the ongoing battle with Covid-19. "The more agile with workforce, regulations and reactions you are, the more efficient and helpful you will be."

"There were different priorities based on the requirements, starting with safety, meeting deadlines, and productivity," she said. "We have been hit with a major disruption; let's flip it and use it to our advantage."

Agility is again a major agility here, she underlined. "That's what you have to do as a leader. You have always to remain flexible, and look at the smaller and bigger pictures."

Advising, Ms. Abeer said it's better for students and young professionals to be talented in certain skill than a generic one. "It's fine to study business, but one needs to specialize in finance, accounting or marketing, to name a few."

Ms. Abeer told the students present that they can not change the world, but their reactions to it. "You need to be disciplined, share your ideas with your fellows, stop wasting time online, and be ready to add and give to the world," she said, warning the students against rumours on social media.

Ms. Rola Abu Manneh, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, UAE, believed in a hybrid approach to better battle the pandemic. "We have turned more customers to our digital platform to better attend to their needs," she said. "It is also so important  to remain flexible."

Adding, Ms. Rola said that the past few months were a preview of the future. "To remain competitive in the future, any organization needs to make use of the new technologies we have, with a focus on talents as a priority." "Students need to be have all soft and digital skills required, be resilient, remain connected, keep learning, and put the best effort they can to succeed."

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