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Written by: Rana Khaled Awwad

Edited by: Heba Essam

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

Helen Keller

Life is a perception; it gets darker or brighter depending on how we decide to “perceive” occurrences and choose our path. It is not about focusing on a glass half-full instead of a glass half-empty, but rather how we decide to visualize this empty part? It may become a motive to work harder so that you can achieve whatever you aspire to, instead of being depressed. Robert H. Schuller, the motivational speaker said once, “problems are not stop signs; they are guide lines.”

However, it is always easier said than done: this introduction seems more of a cliché. We all know that problems are guidelines and Allah never intends to plan anything to harm us. Everything is planned for our benefit; this becomes more obvious with time. Still, this happens when time “passes”; but what about when we are still in the heart of this hard time? How can we bear the burden while going through an undesirable path? When is life supposed to move on when we have no energy to keep moving? Especially when there is no time to get some rest in order to regain our energy and keep going. Above all, when those who supported us once are no longer there. How will we get the power to tolerate the pain of both loneliness and exhaustion? How are we supposed to keep going?

Photography: Rana Khaled Awwad

In fact our past experiences, bitter or sweet ones, are one of the greatest guidelines that direct our lives, decisions and way of thinking throughout our lifetime. Psychologically, our past experiences are stored in our memories and affect our behaviors. I remember surviving a very hard time when I was sixteen. A teenage girl who is going through a tough time at an early stage of her life. My life initially was stable: I was one of the top students at school, with lots of friends and dynamic character. I was so eager to do many things and I’m an optimistic person by nature, so everything seemed right in place back then, until 31st of December 2012.

On that day, I felt that some sort of fire broke out and that it would never end any day. Our home was no longer home, it lost its warmth and splendor; which led to almost a dissociation for the entire family. After one month, I fell in love for the first time. Even though I have not been through a real relationship, three months later, precisely on 3rd of May 2013, I got my heartbroken. I do not even forget the dates! It was like when something really good was about to happen, as I started to feel alive, then a certain part of me died and could not be awakened again. Nothing is more painful than giving hope to a desperate person then taking it back in a cruelly.

Consequently, my academic level started to drop, and those who used to compete with me to achieve higher scores in SAT started to win at the expense of my deteriorating academic progress. I totally changed from a constantly happy and spontaneous young girl, to a girl who pretends to be fine, even though it was very obvious how severely broken I was.

Losing everything was never easy, especially when things occur simultaneously. However, when you feel uncomfortable in a place, you should change it. Nothing was resolved and nothing was back to normal, but me. If I have already lost most of the things I got, then what else could I lose? I will not deny that this stage unleashed the stronger side of me.

After exactly one year, I started to rise again. I focused more at school and I started to accept my current life until I loved it! I got my happiness by making other people happy, which turns out to affect my mood as well. I achieved third position in SAT rankings, got a scholarship, developed my skills and started to read even more. In the blink of an eye, I was better than who I used to be, even though nothing changed, I just decided not to be overwhelmed by my current situation back then. I refused this uncomfortable life, so I embellished a better one. I chose to “perceive” my life in a more positive way.

Whenever I go through a hard time, I remember this phase. Now, I know how to rise; I can decide what paths may lead to, the consequences of taking those paths and which are worth taking. I got to know that whatever you may get through is just proportional to your strength. Everything is temporary and nothing will stay more than its time… Hard times pass… Good times pass as well. The only constant is the way you adapt to these conditions.

Helen Keller, the world- famous deaf-blind author and activist comes as a perfect example on how to rise and become inspirational. She preserved her glory even after her death, and even while she was handicapped. As a kid, who got deprived from literally everything luxurious any kid should have enjoyed at her age, Helen decided to learn how to write and how to communicate, with the help of her teacher Anne Sullivan. Helen could simply surrender to her state, and hide behind her handicap and no one would blame her, but it was her “choice” to be someone different, inspirational, even when she had no one to support her but her teacher.

It is a fact beyond denial that no certain situation is meant to last for good and nothing is meant to be exactly the way we imagined. In the end, we are the only ones who remain in our lives. We are the only ones who really choose to live this life, and no one else can make this choice on our behalf. Just when you hear this inner voice telling you what should be done, turn the volume up and listen!

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Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here: https://fowinsights.com/

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021

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The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s trends and opportunities

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

www.decodinghrevent.com

The world in 2020 has changed to a ‘new normality’ but what’s that ‘new normality’ everybody talks about? Is it here to stay? How is it affecting us in our daily lives in the different versions of ourselves? As a customer, an entrepreneur, a parent, a friend…a worker…

Our job is a key part of our lives and we are indeed living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and other HR challenges. It has become clear that few organisations are likely to revert to pre-pandemic practices even after a vaccine is found.

Decoding Future HR 2021 is bringing you the ideology of how today’s challenges are becoming tomorrow’s trends and opportunities resulting in HR excellence.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the trends and best practices shaping future HR
  • Get valuable insights from expert speakers
  • Share ideas and research to help your organisation reach its goals
  • Understand what do employees want in ‘New Normal’
  • Develop new vision for HRBP and Centre of Expertise
  • Identify, integrate and understand stakeholders to create an intentional employee experience
  • Approaches and elements to leadership development.

Some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Tshepo Yvonne Mosadi , Human Resources Director, The HEINEKEN Company
  • Sarah Tabet, Global HR Director/ D&I Leader | Author for “Inclusion Starts with U”, Schneider Electric
  • Wadah Al Turki, Country Talent Manager KSA and Bahrain, IKEA
  • Lesha Chakraborti, Head of HR – EMEA, Travelex
  • Shaban Butt, Director HR & Administration, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sajjad Parmar, Head of Rewards – APAC, eBay
  • Katey Howard, VP, Talent Management AMESA, Pepsico
  • Chen Fong Tuan, HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics
  • Prerna Ajmera, Senior Director, HR Experiences and Solutions, Microsoft
  • Václav Koranda, Vice President Human Resources / Member of the Board of Directors, T-System
  • Amy MacGregor, VP Employee Experience, Global HR, Manulife
  • Adwait Kashalkar, People Analytics and Programme Management Leader, APAC, Mastercard

Click here to view all speakers: www.decodinghrevent.com/speakers

At Wisdom we remain positive that ‘normality’ will soon return and that we will be able to physically meet together once again as speakers, delegates and sponsors at our beautiful venues around the world. But meanwhile, life continues and we need to keep in touch and learn from each other. This 24-hour virtual event will be of great benefit and value to your businesses and its continued development during these challenging times. While this virtual event comes at a lesser cost, it provides for now a wider reach into an international audience, with flexibility of access to content as well as allowing you to have the same opportunity as at a face-to-face session for one-to-one business meetings. We look forward to welcoming you in January.

Date and time: 19-20 January 2021Where: Virtual engaging platform
  Further information and bookings: www.decodinghrevent.com        Contact:
marketing@wisdom.events   #WSDM_BI
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