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Written By: Farah Ahmed

As you are now used to have the striking dose of I-Gamify’s summit with superb speakers, let’s take a closer look at the latest 4 days’ panels!

Day 9 was a helping hand for the stress that we are all feeling during this time. Linda Asbahan Chaccour a Positive Psychology Practitioner and Addiction Recovery Coach, Bassem Henri the CEO of 360 Experimental Solutions and a Motivational Speaker, and Yasser Shaker the CEO of the Optimistic Spark Center and a Motivational Speaker were here to help us adapt to COVID 19 with a positive mindset.

The discussion was around “Building Resilience, Staying Positive, and Increasing Happy Emotions during COVID19”. Opening with the question of “How can you manage negative self-talk?” Linda advises that to deal with it, you have to be aware of your thoughts to manage your emotions. It’s important to know what’s triggering this specific emotion, especially the ‘disempowering’ one. So, understand it, process it, and express it positively. While Yasser talked about the approaches of ultra-high self-efficacy level self-talk and shock-denial as causes for negative self-talk.

Bassem then elaborated on the issue of adapting our growth mindset in such a pivotal time. He explains that we have to understand our “6 Dimensions Wellness Wheel” and then start building them to make them equal. He highlighted that we have a lot of time during quarantine to work on these 6 dimensions. For example, it is a very good time to focus on the psychical part by exercising, reading is for the intellectual time, and for the social part spending time with our family. Yasser added 5 tips to work on if you want to enhance your ‘growth mindset’, but you have to clarify ‘your reason of being’ or ‘why you do this’ as an incentive for you:

  1. focus/attention,
  2. energy/passion,
  3. learn something new about the thing I set my mind on it,
  4. learn from my mistakes and others (accept feedback),
  5. give it more time.

“The Future of Learning and Development after COVID19” was the focus of the 10th day.  Moamen, who has a personal and professional interest in the field, was pleased to tackle the topic with 3 spectacular L&D trainers. Nelly Habib a certified manager and coach, Samy Morsy a certified career coach and ‘WE’ L&D manager, and Wael Bakhaty a certified business and life coach.

Nelly sees that the future of L&D, particularly post-COVID 19, will witness the enhancement of the online learning/training and blended learning. Nelly believes that the learner will have more responsibilities, the training itself will be prioritized; as people require emotional intelligence, crisis management, and handling virtual teams. For Samy, this challenge has affected the L&D field by changing the mindsets of L&D trainers, as it pushed the e-learning into a high level. Furthermore, he believes that some business objectives and strategies will start to be altered and modified post-COVID 19. Thus, L&D departments have a role to acknowledge how to address such changes, revisit business objectives, and coach the leaders in the scope. Wael considers it as a positive challenge as it changed the learners’ culture; they became more engaged in online learning and conducting their work using technological methods. He stated that to be more effective, it is necessary to deal with resilience and agility.

They argued that the onsite training, in the future, is irreplaceable because some business and training require face to face interaction, yet it will have to be modified. Also, it will depend on the role of the trainers and whether they managed to add value to the leaner from the virtual training or not.

The 11th Day was more oriented to the technical field, under the title “Technologies from a Different Perspective” with Khaled Eldesouky, Mohamed Elbehaery, and Asmaa Ibrahim.

Asmaa as an artificial intelligent owner in Vodafone and founder of Seba talked about the recent growth in the ‘Cloud Computing System’. This platform facilitates the processes of any startups; as it decreases the cost of failure, enhances the user’s experience, and quickens the infrastructure process.

Khaled as an enterprise architect in KSA and a blogger discussed the means of enterprise architecture to support business strategy. This office builds the strategy for the company by collecting the business needs, as well as inserting new technologies like digital transformation and EI. Afterward, it builds a road map, based on these needs and the new technologies, for 3 to 5 years maximum, and then transform it into projects.

Mohamed as a sales manager and expertise in business development explained the security concerns related to the Internet of Things ‘IoT’. He stated that the application is produced as an IOT form, and there are 3 layers:

  1. securing the hardware (differ depending on multiple sensors),
  2. securing connectivity (differ depending on the application), and
  3. securing cloud services and applications.

They debated on the impact of replacing laborers to robots and unemployment, automation, and potential AIO domination after COVID 19. They agreed that a Digital Transformation Committee is a prerequisite to enable adapting to the transformation after this period.

Day 12 tackled pure business matters, focusing on “Enhancing your Business during COIVD19”. Our experts are Marwan Abdin a business administration consultant and founder of ACG – Abdin’s Consultancy Group, Nadeem Barakat head of business development in Homzmart, and Mohamed Green a business architect and CEO of X-Zone.

When asked “How the Partnership Model can support during COVID 19?”, Nadeem replied referring to the new direction for companies is searching for partnerships, like with the E-learning sector. The affected sectors seek this partnership to continue and survive during and after the epidemic. While Marwan further discussed the ways to stay productive while working from home. He highlighted the importance of the psychological aspect and the value of educating employees on how to work from home. He advised on employment and stakeholder engagement, as well as the role of HR (Talent Management Committee) in counseling employees and coaching managers. “How can I perform as a freelancer during COVID 19?” was the specialty of Mohamed. He referred to the increasing competitiveness in the field and laid down some steps to follow as a beginner. First, you must set the kind of services you provide. Second, work on personal skills. Third, focus on personal branding. He assured that nowadays business sectors pay attention to reputation and experience while hiring a freelancer.

Throughout the panel many major points were examined as such; E-commerce, the importance of partnerships for startups in particular and its advantage in outsourcing, the role of HR as a business partner, and also the dilemma of loyalty and laying off employees.

That’s it, folks! Don’t forget to check the complete panels by clicking on the links below!

Day 9:

Day 10:

Day 11:

Day 12:

If you want to book your seat for upcoming panel discussions visit us now:


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



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:

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



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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Interview with Keith F Watson -Online Tutor ICS Learn



“We feature our student success stories in our monthly Student Newsletter, as we know this inspires learners to keep going with their studies, as well as showing them how other students overcame the challenges they faced” Keith F Watson – ICS Learn


The Interviewee: Keith F Watson, LL.M, Chartered FCIPD, FCMI, FLPI, FITOL

Job Title: Owner 360 HR Solutions and Online Tutor ICS Learn

Keith’s qualifications include LL.M (Employment Law and Practice) and CIPD. A tutor since 2007, Keith worked in the financial services sector from 2006 in a variety of senior HR roles before setting up his consultancy in 2016. He’s actively involved with the CIPD in various capacities, including being a past branch chair, member of Council and a voluntary membership assessor. He is currently a member of the Professional Standards Panel (Chair) and a member of the Qualifications Advisory Group, as well as a member of the Employment Tribunal. Keith is also an Equality Act Assessor in the Sheriff Courts.

1-HR Revolution Middle East: The CIPD has become one of the most important certifications in the HR and the L&D field. Would you please explain to our readers the scientific value of the CIPD Certification, as well as its impact on the professional career progression in those fields?

ICS Learn: HR is an art underpinned by science, and the CIPD qualification benefits individuals and organisations by going beyond the technical aspects of people management and development. 

Whilst the qualification requires a robust technical knowledge across a range of topics, the real strength lies in the requirement to adapt that knowledge to the business environment and become a critical thinker who can devise best-fit solutions.

There is no doubt that the increasing requirement by organisations for their HR teams to have CIPD qualifications is due to those already with these qualifications having demonstrated the effective application of their technical knowledge in the workplace, rather than taking answers from a book and trying to make them fit situations where they simply don’t work

2- HR Revolution Middle East: From your experience, what are the most recurring challenges do learners have in completing their CIPD studies? What recommendations would you give them to help facilitate their time management for study?

ICS Learn: One of the most reoccurring challenges is time management. New learners – especially those studying part-time – do sometimes underestimate the time commitment in undertaking a professional qualification. Whilst we generally recognise the time necessary for classroom attendance, be it in-person or virtually, we often forget about the additional time required for self-study, research, and assignments – all of which are critical to our success.

There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and even in lockdown, there are very few people claiming to have a lot of free time. Therefore, we must decide (ideally in advance) what activities we are going to put aside for the duration of our studies.

We all have different approaches to learning, so it’s important to free up the time when we’re going to be most effective, be that early in the morning, lunchtime, evening or later at night. Some people study better in short bursts, whereas others prefer to set aside a specific day at the weekend. There is no right or wrong way to study, it’s simply a question of when works best for you.  

Another reoccurring challenge for students looking to complete their CIPD qualification is understanding the question set. Whilst it is never the intention of an examiner to confuse a student with a question, it does sometimes happen. For example, it’s often said that businesses working in English are divided by a common language and HR practice is no different. An SME, for instance, can be a “small medium enterprise” or a “subject matter expert”. To avoid confusion, the first step is to read the question not once, not twice but at least three times to understand what has been written. If there is the slightest doubt as to what is being asked, seek clarification from your tutor.

3- HR Revolution Middle East:  To what extent do you believe that the body of knowledge of the CIPD Certifications can be applied to practical work in different countries?

ICS Learn: Whilst the legal aspects of the CIPD qualification are based on UK law, most CIPD qualifications are very general so that they can be applied internationally. Being that culture varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the core elements of HR practice remain the same in that we help support organisations in achieving their objectives through good people management and development practices.

The breadth of learning is a distinct advantage in all jurisdictions, as is knowing about practice and regulations in other jurisdictions. Given that laws and regulations vary over time, being able to identify and apply relevant regulations in an assignment is a valuable skill to have regardless of whether the same regulations apply in the countries we support. I have often joked that if I was ever to become an employee again, I would wish my contract to be based on Indonesian law as in that jurisdiction employees must agree to their dismissal!  

4- HR Revolution Middle East: As an Instructor, how did your journey with ICS start? What makes you most passionate about this role?

ICS Learn: I started my journey with ICS Learn more than 20 years ago as a CIPD student at which time, in addition to assignments, each module was tested by exam. Around 14 years ago, I received an email from one of my former ICS Learn tutors asking if I would be interested in attending an Advanced Employment Law workshop she was running as she was looking to retire from these workshops and she had been asked to look for a potential successor. Having literally that weekend just finished my dissertation for my master’s degree in Employment Law, for the first time in years I had a “free” weekend.

As I always enjoyed such workshops I readily agreed to attend. However, on arrival, I received a message that the tutor was unfortunately unable to attend and I was instead asked to run the workshop! Perhaps it was being thrown in at the deep end with no time to worry about anything, but the workshop was a great success with all the attendees passing their Employment Law exam a few months later and my having fully acquired the tutoring bug.

Over the years much has changed, and I have had the pleasure of running training sessions and workshops on a variety of CIPD and non-CIPD topics both virtually and in numerous countries including Singapore, India, Sudan, Nigeria, and of course in the Middle East both in UAE and KSA.

Whilst HR and the world has evolved, facilitating learning in others whilst learning from students and their personal workplace experiences is as inspiring and exciting today as it was 14 years ago.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: As a learner how did the CIPD qualification change your life?

ICS Learn: Without a doubt, gaining a CIPD qualification has been life-changing and has allowed me to have not only a successful career in HR within financial services but to successfully run my consultancy for the last 5 years. I must admit that being able to work internationally in so many different regions has been a distinct bonus and certainly embeds the learning that no matter what we do in HR there is always more than one way of doing it.

6- HR Revolution Middle East: What special tips would you share with professionals unable to choose the appropriate CIPD Certification Level for them? How does ICS Learn help learners in taking this step?

ICS Learn: Our advice would always be to chat to our CIPD Course Advisors, whether that be through our website, email, or on the phone. Their job is to talk through your experience, ambitions, and previous education to make sure that you choose the right CIPD course for you.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: What are the most common challenges CIPD students face? What pieces of advice do you have for them?

ICS Learn: As detailed in question 2, the most common challenge is time. We must be willing to accept that in taking on a new challenge we must set aside some of our current activities. Short term pain for long term gain!

8- HR Revolution Middle East: What should be the “competencies” of a CIPD student in order to excel and accomplish the degree?

ICS Learn: Self-discipline, commitment, curiosity, an open mindset, and of course an ability to understand and write in business English 

9- HR Revolution Middle East: ICS Learn cares to publish students’ success stories with different certifications and how they got opportunities to progress substantially in their careers. How often do you refer to those stories to encourage reluctant learners to finish their studies?

ICS Learn: We feature our student success stories in our monthly Student Newsletter, as we know this inspires learners to keep going with their studies, as well as showing them how other students overcame the challenges they faced. It’s a great way for students to learn from each other!


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