When Technology is a source of Inspiration

By Shereen Shabnam

After working behind the scenes over the last few years for IoT Middle East, Digital Health Middle East and handling global technology clients on a regular basis, I never thought I would be more impressed with new innovations any more until recently when an agency selected me to moderate roundtables with industry professionals across multiple countries and representing brands that are at the forefront of new innovations.

Speaking with industry leaders in the world of technology and in the presence of CIOs from a multitude of different industries has led me to embrace the new world of workplace solutions that has helped me consolidate the way I live and work.

These days, it is possible for people to start the day with a smart toothbrush, get the car started before even getting in and control the temperature, lighting and air quality in the home and office.

During a recent AI conference, we found out more about machine learning and analysing data electronically that is not just impressive but game changing for businesses.  Automating our tasks helps save time and this impresses me most.

Plus of course the new age technologies that allow us to hold virtual meetings and seamless interactions with colleagues abroad are the order of the day especially with remote work during and post pandemic.

Currently we use applications like Whats app, skype, IMO, zoom, facebook and teams which has made communication easier and more affordable. Next week, I will be moderating a panel focused on containerisation followed by an interaction with experts offering workplace solutions globally.

The more roundtables I do for the world of technology, the more impressed I am. If you see our magazine turning into advocates of new age innovations, you know where that inspiration came from.  Let us embrace more apps and solutions that make our life that much more interesting.

#GlobalTrendMonitor  #Technology #IT #IOT #magazineUAE #magazine #mediaUAE #UAEbusiness #myDubai            

Zak Zorro Releases new song “Ye Faasla”

Video shot in Dubai and Directed by renowned Arab Director Adel Serhan

Dubai, UAE: Zak Zorro has released his latest Music Video “Ye Faasla’’ on Aug 15, 2021.”Ye Faasla” is a Pop Contemporary Emotional track as the Vocals and Synth Shines throughout the Track. A heartbeat Vibe with the Kicks and complimenting Bass Lines is the Aura of The Track.

The Song is from the Music Album “Baby Dil Dena” which has 11 diverse Musical tracks with a flavor of Jazz, Flamenco, Pop, HipHop, RNB, Rap, Afro, Spanish, Punjabi, Latin and Arabic Influence.

Adel Serhan is a Lebanese International Director who has been working from the past 20 years directing 100’s of Music Videos for Many Artists in the Arab Music Industry. He has directed artist around the world including USA, Canada, Europe, Dubai, Lebanon and Middle East.

Adel Serhan Says, “It was a pleasure working with Zak Zorro. Firstly we are best friends and brothers. I was very excited to direct this song as it’s my first Indian song direction with an Indian Singer and it was a great experience. It opened many doors for me as a director who tries to do the best possible. I wish many success and all the best to Zak Zorro”.

He was passionate to direct an Indian song because which has beautiful cinematography and a simple story to portray the song’s essence in “Ye Faasla”.

The listeners have an opportunity to enjoy over 52 Songs in different genres, The Previous 13 Singles and Music Albums named “SOUL”, “Eternal Love”, “Afrolina”, and latest “Baby Dil Dena”.

Music lovers can enjoy Zak Zorro Music and Music videos on:  

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/c/ZakZorro

Spotify     :  https://open.spotify.com/artist/7pibiAY1iDUqdWd8GPK61D

Connect to Zak Zorro on :

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zakzorro5/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/zakzorro5

International Business Challenges

Why professionalism and business ethics count

Interview with Nadiia Ratke

We meet with the Nadiia Ratke, who is the brainchild behind the International Organisation of Social Justice. We met Nadia first when she was the Advisor to the Head of the All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna, Yulia Tymoshenko who is also the Ex-Prime Minister of Ukraine and more recently in her capacity as an International Business Development professional linking businesses to opportunities between Europe, Middle East, Latin America and the USA.

Tell us about your challenges as a Business Development professional between different countries?

During my career I met with people from many different cultures and while some did business ethically, many did not and often went back on their word or looked for way that would give them gain and put others at a disadvantage. In business there has to be mutual respect and a win win situation. I feel there is a general lack of attention to morality in the world of leadership today and that is the biggest challenge we face. The definition of morality needs to more aligned amongst business professionals globally.

Tell us about your education?

I graduated with a Masters (M.A.) in Chernihiv National Pedagogical University named Taras Shevchenko and my PhD in Philosophy is from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) / Germany.

How did your journey in the business world begin?

My career started with me working for various global charity organisations and the EU Parliament as part of the team for Human rights, Immigration, Justice, home affairs and Asylum policies.  Following that I became an adviser to the Head of the Political Party Batkivshchyna Yulia Tymoshenko. Now I focus my time on Business Development and the International Organisation of Social Justice.

What is your educational background?

I am a graduate of the International School of Management, Hamburg/ Germany focussing on International Management for my B.Sc. Psychology & Management, I went to the European Business School in Dublin, Ireland and completed an M.A. in Social Management from the “Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany. I also studied Chernihiv National Pedagogical University.

Tell us about your current role in Business Development?

I was always connecting businesses and people who have similar synergies throughout my career so now I bring my expertise of what I learnt before to the table and use that to propose interesting and unique ideas to potential investors or business partners.

Are you working on any new projects now?

Personally, I am finalising my PhD in philosophy, which I believe will help me in my future career. Professionally my aim is to introduce the best of Europe to the Middle East region and also to advise businesses on potential areas of collaboration across continents.

Tell us about your CSR activities?

With the International Organisation of Social Justice we hope to use lessons from the past to help solve social problems, fill the gaps and raise awareness. We cooperate with international organisations in different countries and the UN to implement strategies to improve on the social problems in the more disadvantaged communities.

How do you see your professional life developing?

My aim is to help make changes to the society for the better with my CSR work and advocate better business practices with my Business Development work. I strongly believe in acting honorably and leading with high character and hope to business with like-minded professionals who make ethical decisions and have a moral compass.

#GlobalTrendMonitor #Interview #Business #magazineUAE #magazine #mediaUAE #UAEbusiness #myDubai 

Confident, Talented & Inspiring

Nandakumar Vijayan, Director of Marketing & Communications of Lulu Group International

Publicity Pundit, Nandakumar Vijayan, Director of Marketing and Communications of Lulu Group International has a gift when it comes to awareness campaigns in retail at a global level.

Spearheading the global marketing, communications, CSR initiatives, digital and social media of LuLu Group which operates malls, online shopping, hospitality and food processing businesses, Nanda has the nous to select the perfect medium for publicity campaigns that are result oriented and positions Lulu Group strategically as the go to retail partner in every market.

A marketing Guru and popular figure in the retail and marketing industry, Nandakumar is a veteran communications professional and has been with the multinational company for almost two decades, climbing the organisational ladder steadily while handling different portfolios.

As a communicator, Nandakumar has a sixth sense on what works for each of his campaigns. His vast experience with leading media organisations such as The Times of India and the Indian Express clearly has provided him with enough experience for impact messaging and synergy that he initiates to the target audience of all entities within the Lulu Group.

Using disruptive marketing initiatives and innovations, Nandakumar played a crucial role in transforming the Lulu brand from being a conventional supermarket to one of the most popular multinational retailing brands.

We meet with Nandakumar to find out what makes this seasoned marketing and communications professional the UAE’s leading marketeer and publicist.

Tell us a bit about Lulu Group and its different areas of business?

We are headquartered in Abu Dhabi as a highly diversified conglomerate with business entities that are continually evolving in strategic locations worldwide.

Lulu Group’s international business portfolio ranges from hypermarket operations to shopping mall development, food processing, manufacturing and trading of goods, hospitality assets and real estate.

We currently operate in 22 countries located across the Middle East, Asia, US, and Europe.

As we talk, we have 206 hypermarkets across the GCC, Egypt, India and the Far East, including Malaysia and Indonesia.

For hospitality we own franchises of some of the key Hotel Brands such as Marriott, Grand Hyatt, Sheraton in India and unique hotels such as the Great Scotland Yard in London and Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh, Scotland.
We have been getting inspiration from all around us since we established our retail business in the early 90s at the height of the first Gulf War with strong fundamentals and ethos of “Here to stay and here to grow” so we have grown with the country and the region.

You can map our tremendous growth over the last few decades with UAE’s growth and we are very fortunate for the support and encouragement we have received from the leadership of the UAE and the country’s stability that has helped us grow steadily and strongly over the years.

Today we have more than 206 hypermarkets, almost 17 shopping malls in 12 countries across different regions which is definitely a high point for any organisation. And apart from that we also have our own consolidating and sourcing offices in almost all major countries in the world including USA, UK, Africa, GCC, Far East, India and China.

This ensures we have uninterrupted supply of specially food products in our stores at the most competitive prices as we connect directly with manufacturers and producers from around the world.

You make grocery shopping a fun thing to do all year with mega promotions and events. Where do you get inspiration for the ideas for these campaigns?

As our tagline says, we firmly believe in the fact that Lulu is where the world comes to shop and now obviously in the current situation safely also. It all comes from the simple philosophy of catering to over 200 diverse nationalities in the UAE. Our aim always has been to be the favourite shopping mall for everyone irrespective of tastes they prefer and give them what they want.

Hence our marketing initiatives follow the similar philosophy to think from the customers point of view, why would they come and shop at Lulu and what would be their reason to shop with us. It can be the price, product variety, our various festivals, promotional campaigns as we do everything from the customers perspective.

We want Lulu to be a place not just for shopping but for customers to get a slice of their own country or culture. That is why you see our campaigns and promotions targeting different nationalities and countries, Hence, our inspirations for these campaigns come from different people, the way they think and what they expect from Lulu.

Under your leadership, Lulu is now a trendsetter in retail marketing with media presence not only in the conventional ATL & BTL but also in social media. Tell us about your team and work ethics that make them excel at what they do with your guidance?

As someone who has worked over 20 years here, I have huge respect for each of my team members. We have a very simple work ethic where each one is trained and empowered to think independently, think creatively and out of the box.

We collect everyone’s ideas and put their thought processes in a cohesive manner so you will see our team members being multi-talented, multi taskers and have expertise in different areas. I Believe in cross training them and empowering them which ensures we carry out our initiatives in different markets effectively so we have successful leaders in each market.

Another work ethic that we follow that is being championed by our Chairman, Mr. YusuffAli is cultivating decent work relationships, empowering and rewarding the team members.

So instead of getting new talent, we invest in promoting our existing team so they take on bigger roles in bigger regions in areas of global operations and marketing. Our key motivation is to promote job satisfaction, creativity and keep our existing team motivated.

With so much happening within the conglomerate, how do you manage your time having to liaise with so many entities across the Group?

When you have multiple tasks ahead, you tend to become more efficient and effective at managing time than people who have less things to do. I think I have a system set for managing time effectively.

Thanks to multiple Technologies and advancement and communication tools especially due to the pandemic, we don’t spend much time traveling nowadays.

We can talk and discuss issues with our colleagues around the world in real time which saves time and efficiently take decisions faster.

Being old school, I still firmly believe in creating a to-do list every morning and ticking them off before I go home at night. That keeps me up to date with my team’s progress and project progress.

Which area of retail excites you most?

With majority of my experience in the field of retail and specifically marketing roles, I know mainly the retail industry but now I concentrate more on innovation and tech side of retail marketing which involves a lot of work on data analysis, data activation and creating seamless platforms for both staff and the consumer. It enables stakeholders to have clear vision of our activities.

Another area which I am trying to concentrate on is obviously digital and social media marketing where we work with great organizations and resources in creating beautiful apps and content for marketing initiatives that drive our numbers.

How do you start your day and what do you address first when you get into office?

Every day starts with a quick half an hour team meeting with regional heads from across the globe joining in and quick updates are exchanged, decisions taken which sets the tone for the day’s work for all of us. I also follow a strict schedule with regards to internal meetings as well as meetings with other stakeholders and vendors.

Whatever is said and done, I always try to find at least a couple of hours every day to update myself about latest technologies, Innovations, developments in the industry, development in the marketing and media space and interacting with some of the key influencers and stakeholders in the industry.

Being a hands-on person, I like to lead from the front and getting my hands dirty so I spend time daily in our retail shops as well as in the studio of our team where the real work is done.

We cater to almost 1.6 million customers per day throughout the 206 hypermarkets across the globe so it is a consumer centric business.

Being on the floor, we feel the pulse of the market, get updated on new products, our suppliers and customer preferences as being in the shops gets me close to our end users first hand.

Do you have any role models who inspire you or personalities you look up to?

I have spent most of my professional life at the Lulu Group, I learnt a lot from our Chairman Mr. YusuffAli who is a self-made entrepreneur starting from scratch and built an entire retail empire from his grit and determination and he leads from the front even today. He is truly inspirational.
In addition, I do pick up good tips and tricks from anybody who’s a practitioner of excellence and I look forward to many more interactions. And thanks to the web, a lot of resources and inspiring stories from around the world keep me up to date.

What personal qualities would you say help you most in your current role?

I absolutely believe in empowering my team members across different markets by being able to identify the right talent and nurturing them. I am slightly perfectionist and I have an eye for detail which at times creates deadline issues, but that is one quality which I think has helped me nurture this brand.

Another leadership quality i firmly beleieve is decentralization of power and job delegation across my team member in all regions, but being “perfectionist” is what I cherish the most.

On the personal front, what are your hobbies and how do you unwind?

Travelling and meeting and understanding people is something that I love. And thanks to the kind of job I have, I get enough of that so I try to make the most of my official trips which is quite often. I usually unwind with some Bollywood movies or reading light fictions.

#GlobalTrendMonitor #trendingbusiness #LuLuGroup #Retail #ProfileInterview #magazineUAE #magazine #mediaUAE #UAEmedia #UAEbusiness #myDubai 

Fragrant Notes

Nishrat Nazeen, Founder and Curator of Aromas Fiji

The pandemic has inspired people all around the world to focus more on being clean, hygienic and healthy and this vision has led many around the world to invest in inspiring projects and products that focus on keeping everyone around cleaner and safer. Aromas Fiji was initiated by Nishrat Nazeen, a PR Professional based in Nadi, Fiji Islands during the pandemic to encourage people to use more soap and relax with fragrant candles and ultimately embrace a lifestyle that focuses on wellbeing.

In a candid interview, Nishrat tells us more about her new venture and the debut collection of soaps and candles from Aromas Fiji.

Tell us a bit about Aromas Fiji?

Aromas Fiji is a homegrown organic halal certified soaps and soy candle brand. Our aim is to bring colour and fragrance into your home with our collection of handcrafted natural and organic soaps and candles made with high quality plant and botanical oils.

What inspired you to take on this project?

Our industry depends on marketing and PR budgets, both affected by the pandemic as these are the first budgets to be slashed by companies. The down time prompted me to look into other sources of income.

Aromas Fiji was hence conceptualized based on my love for fragrant smells that elevate the stay at home experience, especially during the pandemic when I was mainly staying at home and working remotely. Realizing that there was a gap in the market for halal certified skin care and home deco products, I ventured into learning about aromas, their calming effect on the body, mind and soul and with the encouragement of family members, Aromas Fiji was born.

Are the soaps and candles made in Fiji and

Our products are all made naturally in Fiji and our soaps are hand mixed, hand poured, hand cut, and packaged individually.  Our carefully curated product line includes luxury scented candles and soaps that are natural, environmentally friendly and made to elevate the spirits of users as well as enrich the homes they inhabit. The products are thoughtfully planned from the brand and product design to colours and scents and packaged exquisitely for home use or for gifting. 

Apart from soaps, you also make candles. What do you use to make these?

Aromas Fiji candles are made of long-lasting soya wax and comes with high quality cotton wicks ensuring you have the best quality natural product made without comprising on the environment. We use essential oils and aromas in the candles that help to wind down and boost your well-being especially in the evenings when a peaceful sleep routine is welcomed by all members of the family.

And how are the soaps made?

Aromas Fiji soaps are made of all-natural products that are long-lasting, paraben-free, sustainably made and environmentally friendly.  Suitable for the whole family, the soap lather offers a luxurious cleansing experience that hydrates and nourishes the body, leaving the skin clean, soft, moisturized and fresh.

What is your favourite in the debut collection of Aromas Fiji?

From the debut range I love the traditionally crafted soaps with massaging nodules as I find it makes the at-home cleansing ritual worthy of a spa. Made with aromatic essential oil, the massage nodules pamper the body and elevates the senses with specially formulated ingredients known for nourishing properties.

Which ingredients do you love working with?

My favourite ingredients for the soaps and candles are Moringa, Goats Milk, Aloe Vera, Oranges, Charcoal, Sandalwood, Frangipani, Lemon Grass, Marygold, Citronella, Japanese Honeysuckle, Amber, Musk and Vanilla.

Women’s World Car of The Year Reveals 2021 Category Winners

Shereen Shabnam

After a year of testing cars, the jury of the Women’s World Car of the Year are pleased to announce the winners in each of nine categories. These vehicles represent excellence in their segments based on safety, comfort, technology, and value for the money.

As a Motoring Jury based in the UAE, I was able to test the nominated cars easily as we were less affected with lockdowns during the year. This is the eleventh year for WWCOTY, a team of fifty motoring journalists from 38 countries spanning five continents. It is the only jury in the automotive world composed exclusively of women.

This year’s new voting methodology started with choosing the three best models in each category before narrowing those picks down to the individual winners. Eligible vehicles were launched between January and December 2020. As in previous years, votes were certified by the independent auditor Grant Thornton New Zealand.

This year, voting was more complicated due to the pandemic, which limited each juror’s ability to drive. Despite the challenges, jurors made an extra effort to get behind the wheel of these vehicles to evaluate them in time for voting.

One more round of voting remains. Jurors will now choose the Best Car of the Year from among the nine category winners. The results will be announced on March 8, International Women’s Day.

 2021 Women’s World Car of the Year Category Winners

BEST URBAN CARBEST FAMILY CARBEST LUXURY CAR
Peugeot 208Skoda OctaviaLexus LC500 Cabrio
BEST SPORT CARBEST URBAN SUVBEST MEDIUM SUV
Ferrari F8 SpiderPeugeot 2008Land Rover Defender
BEST LARGE SUVBEST 4X4 & PICK UPBEST EV
Kia SorentoFord F-150Honda e

Women’s World Car of the Year is the only car awards group in the world composed exclusively of women motoring journalists. It was created by New Zealand motoring journalist, Sandy Myhre, in 2009. She is currently Honorary President while Marta García serves as Executive President.

The objective of the awards is to choose the best cars of the year. These are not ‘women’s cars’ because there is no such thing. Instead, cars are chosen based on the principles that guide all consumers including safety, quality, price, design, driving dynamics, and environmental impact.

Dubai Based Singer, Zakeer Hussain with Artist name Zak Zorro Releases new Music Video

Zakeer Hussain Known as “Zak Zorro” has released another Music Video titled “Teri Yaad Mey” shot fully in Dubai, a song dedicated to people in love with a social Message. The song is about the endless memory of love and separation.  The song conveys love after separation and how beautiful memories continue haunting about the person we love and it has an inspiring social message about Karma.

All the cast in the song are locally based in Dubai. Jumana Khan is a well-known Social Media influencer and Sagar Midda works in the Fashion Industry while Soniya Rana is a fashion model. All the performers portray their characters beautifully to translate the feel of the song.

The Song Produced by Dubai based Production House Icon Art Production. Dubai Film and TV Commission facilitated the shooting permit, Fnajeen restaurant hosted the shoot with other locations on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dar hamad Fashion Boutique by Hamad Al Falamarzi, Meydan Bridge “Auto Deals” car showroom and a luxurious penthouse.

Zak Zorro Produced the song in collaboration with Atif Ali well known music director & lyricist. The Music Video produced in Dubai UAE which was Directed by Waqqas Qadri Sheikh, cinematography by Mark Hobson.

The PoP song Teri Yaad Mey music video released on 20th November 2020.

The new song is released on ZakZorro YouTube Channel and promoted worldwide.

THE LEGEND IN YOUR HOME

 

The most sought-after furniture and decorations characterized by inimitable refinement of Riva Yachts, the legendary shipyard. It offers the perfect style both for yacht owners and sea lovers to refresh the beach or lake house with original pieces, with the recognizable aquamarina touch and the timeless elegance of mahogany and steel.

 

Cesme – Boyalik Beach Reosrt & Spa

deniz-plaj-8

By Shereen Shabnam

I seem to continually say Turkey is always a good idea because of the beauty of every city I have visited every year over the past two decades but this nature blessed country continues to surprise me with more adventure and enthralls me every hour I spend there. After a few days in downtown Izmir and falling in love with the food, the people and the shopping in the bazaars, I headed to Cesme in the summer, a resort town that is both breathtaking and charming.

While having an afternoon meal at the Boyalik Beach Cesme that offered an amazing array of fresh and beautifully prepared dishes, we experienced pure tranquility in the green manicured grounds and uninterrupted views of the blue ocean.

At Boyalik Beach Hotel & Spa, you can focus on rejuvenation and renewal, or take advantage of the sports and leisure facilities. Here you can spend a holiday sipping your tea and coffee outdoors or enjoy the wireless in the peaceful environment of your room with a stylish five-star hotel which is what I normally do as a workaholic.

The hotel has standard and family rooms as well as suites. As an Islander I naturally prefer sea views and Boyalik Beach Cesme has plenty of sea view rooms with Sat TV, complimentary tea and coffee, 24 hours room service, wireless internet, exclusive bath kits, magnifying mirror, mini bar and hair dryer.

Boyalık Beach Hotel & Spa is the ideal place to combine business and pleasure and has fully equipped meeting rooms. If you feel like going out, I highly recommend visiting Cesme’s bustling markets, crystal clear sea, clean beaches and dive and sailing centres, picturesque bays, healing thermal resources and sports activities.

Çesme is one of the most ideal places for surfing and our visit to the Alaçatı Surf Paradise gave us insights into the local passion of the sea among the youth and adults. Seeing teenagers enjoying the surfing made me wish I had a few more days in Cesme as my daughter was keen on trying some water sports. I suggest at least three days to get a good feel of the towns and beaches.