Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.
I have been living and working in the UAE since January 2008 in senior HR Leadership positions, so well over 14 years. I moved here with a private equity firm initially and since then have worked in various diverse sectors, from finance to retail and from construction to manufacturing and most lately education. Prior to my time in the UAE I have worked across multiple multinational companies like BP, GSK, ABN AMRO Bank and British Airways.
How would you describe the culture of your business?
The culture at Taaleem is dynamic, fast paced, agile, empowered staff, ownership and accountability and most importantly an amazing understanding of staff concerns and limitations. It is a very democratic environment with all staff having the ability to raise concerns on matters that impact them without fear, and with full certainty that their concerns will be listened to and addressed if appropriate.
Most importantly it is a culture where everyone contributes, collaborates and works together to move us forward and to realize our business goals and strategy.
How easy is it for you to get direct access to the decision makers in your company?
Very easy, I have a fantastic relationship with the senior management, all of whom are open to new ideas, make logical decisions that are a balance between company, customer and employee needs.
Most importantly as HR Director I too am one of the key decision makers. With the totality of our education business focused on great academics and support staff, it is truly a Company that invests in and believes that our people are our greatest assets. These are not just words on a fancy poster but is interwoven in our culture. There is huge focus on staff retention and management.
What are your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?
Our biggest challenge is our growth – having moved from 7 initial schools to about 25 plus in only the last 3 years, our challenge is to ensure we have structures ,processes, policies and systems in place that ensure we have good governance without taking away the magic of agile and fast decision making.
It is to ensure that we continue to grow both organically and through acquisition whilst maintaining our strong reputation with a focus on continuous improvement on our school ratings and parent satisfaction. It is to ensure that the growth does not dilute our incredible values of being Pioneering, Professional, Nurturing and Spirited.
Finally our challenge will remain to ensure we continue to maintain our stance as being the Employer of Choice for great teachers.
We are only as good as our best teachers.
What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet the regions talent requirements?
We will continue to ensure that our teachers build on their skills and competencies and focus on their qualifications and stay on top of new methods of teaching whether in person or online.
The education industry within the UAE continues to grow and is in line with the plan set out by the UAE on population growth. As such new schools will continue to open in all curriculums and as Taaleem we will ensure that we are positioned to lead that growth within the education sector.