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Interviews

Q&A with Vic Williams – Author, Motivational Speaker, Trainer & Business Consultant

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Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

“I would say to any entrepreneur starting from zero, have the right philosophy about yourself and what you want to achieve, about your product or service and then take the most appropriate action to get it done.”

Vic Williams
ABOUT THE
INTERVIEWEE

Vic Williams is author, speaker, trainer and business consultant, with over 30 years’ experience in starting and growing businesses in various industries in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

In 2011 he began to grow The Audacious Company, which is focused on leadership, management, sales, LinkedIn and presentations skills training, almost exclusively using LinkedIn for business development.

He is the author of ‘Audacious Leadership’, founder of The Prepare for Awesome Podcast and have developed numerous training programs in the leadership, management, sales and presentation skills environments, which have been delivered to clients across the United kingdom, into Europe, Africa, the Middle and Far East.

The Prepare For Awesome Podcast is a motivational program which is available every Thursday at 3 P.M UTC.

THE INTERVIEW

1- HR Revolution Middle East: Thank you so much Mr. Vic for accepting our interview request. This interview is an honour to HR Revolution Middle East, as well as an amazing learning opportunity for our readers.

You have such an inspiring success story which I really want to highlight for our readers to learn from it: You had to leave school at the age of 16, which did not diminish your thirst for knowledge nor your desire to become the great person you are now, and despite the discouragement you had from your father at some point of time, you decided to fight against all this at a very early age.

Mr. Vic, your success journey says a lot about your persistence & your refusal for any limiting belief, what piece of advice would you share with our readers about that, and how were you able to get over all the discouraging conditions you went by?

Vic Williams: I think the most important thing I learned at an early age and the piece of advice I would give to your readers is, never allow the opinions of other people define who you are or who you become. No one knows the skills and abilities which you have that are just waiting for an opportunity to be showcased to the world.

At an early age, I looked around me and saw so many people achieving great things despite their background, the country they were born in, their family disadvantages and was inspired to live the life I determined, not one determined by my father or by circumstance.

Does it mean I always succeed? Certainly not. I probably fail more than most other people, but there is an inner drive to get up, dust myself off and get on down the road to the goals I have set for myself.

I think a second thing I would say is, never compare yourself with other people. When you compare yourself with other people, you will always be second best and a failure. Compare yourself with your own previous best and each day try to improve on that. It is pointless and demoralising to compete with anyone else.

2- HR Revolution Middle East: Another milestone you were able to successfully overcome, which I believe many entrepreneurs are experiencing as well and needs to learn from you about it: moving from South Africa to UK & starting all over again. What does it take from an entrepreneur to be able to make it “moving from a place where he managed to build connections & develop a business to a totally new market starting from zero”?

Vic Williams: It is all about 4 things. Firstly, your philosophy is your thoughts; your thoughts about yourself, about the country you live in, the country you are heading to, etc. Your thoughts then drive the second component and that is your attitude. If you have negative thoughts, you will have a negative attitude and that won’t change simply by changing country or town. You have to start by changing your thoughts where you are and your attitude where you are.

I did not leave South Africa with a bad attitude toward the country, but a good one. My view was, if I could make it in South Africa, I could make it in the UK.

The right attitude will then drive the right actions which will give you the results you want. And so those are the 4 things I focus on.

It is easy to go to a country like the UK and live off the system, but I was determined that would never be me. And so my philosophy has always been I will do what I need to do which is legal, moral and ethical to ensure that I am able to support my family and create the lifestyle we want.

So I would say to any entrepreneur starting from zero, have the right philosophy about yourself and what you want to achieve, about your product or service and then take the most appropriate action to get it done.

3- HR Revolution Middle East: Mr. Vic you have an amazing performance as a Motivational Speaker & trainer which I really believe that it results from years of hard work & sincere efforts, mostly on the inside as you have taught us in one of the most distinguished workshops I have attended in my life. How can leaders work on their inside to be able to lift others?

Vic Williams: That is a great question, Mariham and thank you for the complement. There is a quote you may have heard, particularly from people in the IT space when talking about computers. The quote is, ‘Junk in, junk out.’ The idea is, of course, if you feed a computer the wrong type of information, you will get the wrong result out as a result.

I believe the same is true with humans. If we feed our brains, which is after all the most sophisticated piece of equipment in the known universe, junk then we can expect the same out. And the way in which we feed our brains is not only through the actual food we eat, but through the things we read, that we listen to, that we watch. All of these things define what we think, and as I said previously, what our attitudes are.

So if a leader wants to work harder on themselves than they do on other people to become inspirational, motivational and to lift other people up, they have to be keenly aware of the what they read, what they listen to and what they allow influence them.

If you are putting the good stuff in, you will generally have the good stuff to give out. Reading books like, ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson and ‘Over the Top’ by Zig Ziglar, have given me the ability to give out the good stuff and that is what I would recommend to any leader. Let what you put in define what you give out.

4- HR Revolution Middle East:The Prepare for Awesome Podcast” what a Brilliant Initiative! How did you think about it & how much does it really benefit people to change and develop? I am sure there are a lot of success stories to share about that.

Vic Williams: The Prepare for Awesome podcast came about as a result of a desire to make a difference in peoples lives and to use every medium available. And one of those mediums is podcasting. The name developed out of some very lengthy discussions my wife and I had over many months as we formulated the idea. She is a partner in the business and so has been integral to developing the podcast and the subjects we speak about.

We set out with a very clear intention of sharing content with would empower people in their daily lives. We have all read and heard the stories of the great adventurers who have climbed the highest mountains, swam the worlds oceans, trekked to the North Pole single handed, etc. And these are great inspirational stories, but my question has always been, ‘What about you? What about your seemingly ordinary life. How can you see the greatness in that place?’

And so, we focus on the ordinary person, with an ordinary life. How can we inspire them to grow and develop through stories like their own. For example, there is the story of a young man from a small village close to where I live. Tommy was born and raised in a very poor family and was told he would never be anything more than a street sweeper, because that what his father and grandfather had been.

I am not sure how he came to listen to the podcast, but I received an email from him with his story. In the email he told me how the things he had heard have inspired him to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer and had begun to take steps toward that goal.

And that is the point of The Prepare For Awesome podcast. To share with ordinary people ideas, motivation and inspiration which shows how awesome each of them are.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: “Audacious Leadership” is a great book for such a great & authentic leader “Vic Williams”. In this amazing book you address the five key levels of leadership which starts by developing oneself & ends by developing new leaders. What is one indispensable trait leaders must develop in order to grow throughout the five levels?

Vic Williams: Fantastic question Mariham. I think you hit on the key to success as a leader and that is to focus on learning the skills of leading yourself first. There is a vast gap between the skills of leadership and the skills of management, but these often become confused. 

From my experience and research, I have discovered that great leaders work harder on themselves than they do on other people or on the situation they face.

We must remember that leaders are not special humans endowed with special super-powers. Leaders are just like every other person. They are flawed, faulty and make mistakes. But the true leaders have that one quality which makes them stand out which is they consistently and persistently strive to improve themselves in every area of life.

A great example of true leadership is Nelson Mandela. Not a perfect human. Not without fault. Made some huge mistakes, but constantly tried to change himself. In fact he said, ‘One of the most difficult things is not to change society, but to change yourself.’ He spoke these words from a lifetime of changing himself to become better every day.

6- HR Revolution Middle East: From your marvellous experience Mr. Vic, how “Leadership” has become a crucial key for business success? What losses do businesses really incur when they disregard developing a leadership capability within?

Vic Williams: These are really great questions Mariham and for me very important questions.

To go back to my previous answer, it is firstly important to understand the vast difference between leadership and management. To understand what defines each of these ideas as separate skills sets.

Regarding leadership, it is defined by the person as an individual, not by position, status, job title, education, etc. So, leaders are the visionaries in a business. They are looking down the road at where the industry is going and are ‘seeing’ the companies position in that space. They are the people who have the skills to see opportunities where other people see obstacles. They are focused on answering the why questions of business success.

Management, by contrast, focused on the what and how questions. In other words, they are focused on the route to making the vision a reality.

This means, if leaders fail to develop other leaders and help them develop those skills which define leadership, the business will always follow and never lead in their industry. They will become a ‘me-to’ company. Innovation and inventiveness are key skills of leadership and so these will be lacking if real leadership is not developed and nurtured in the organisation.

A very good example of this fact is the tech giant Apple. When the founder was alive and with the company, it was innovative, inventive and they were at the forefront of their industry. However, if we are honest and look at the company today, we will see they have great management, but are far behind companies like Samsung and Huawei when it comes to innovation and product development. They have become a ‘me-to’ product.

Good leadership is therefore critical, throughout an organisation to ensure its sustainable growth and long-term success.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: You said that “Using LinkedIn as my primary source of marketing, new client development and retention of my existing clients has pushed me to learn not only the basics of the platform, but also what the best strategies for connecting and engaging are” What is one of the best engaging strategies you would like to share with our readers to adopt?

Vic Williams: You are right Mariham. I have used LinkedIn from almost the first day I arrived in the UK to build a business which now sees me travel extensively and that has come from developing an engagement strategy which is designed to develop long term relationships with the people I want to engage with.

I think the one thing I would say that people could adopt immediately if they want to increase their engagement is to get involved in the conversations which are relevant to their environment or relevant to the environment of the people they want to engage with. The key to engagement is to be involved and engage. Don’t be a silent stalker. Get into the conversations and you will very soon find people seeking you opinion and then real, deep engagement happens.

8- HR Revolution Middle East: The “Audacious Training Company” actually offers one the best courses designed for equipping participants with the skills needed to be great presenters. Can you share with us three secret tips to apply for presenting more effectively?

Vic Williams: 3 presentation tips? I think first thing is to nail the opening as it is the opportunity to catch the attention of your audience. So, instead of starting with an introduction and a bio, start with a startling and relevant fact or with a thought provoking question which draws people in.

Secondly, throughout your presentation, whether it is one minute at a networking meeting or a key note address to a thousand people, speak with the audience, not at them. Any presentation should be for the benefit of the audience and not for the benefit of the presenter.

And thirdly, use the full extent of your voice. Speak louder when needed, but equally lower your voice to an almost conspiratorial level when you want people’s attention. Use the higher register notes in your voice and the lower register notes when appropriate.

In any presentation, your voice is your super power, so use it to its fullest extent.

Thanks you for the opportunity to share these ideas with you and your readers. It is a privilege for me to do this interview.

THANK YOU

Mariham Magdy with Vic Williams

Civil Work

مقابلة صحفية مع إيناس عبدالقادر – مهندسة نسيج ومتحدثة في مؤتمر تيدكس وادمدني بالسودان

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صحافة: محمود منسي

ثورة الموارد البشرية: إيناس لديك العديد من الخبرات في مجالات مختلفة، هل يمكن أن تعطينا نبذة عن نفسك وأعمالك؟

مهندسة نسيج حاصلة على درجة الماجستير في هندسة النسيج (إعادة تدوير مخلفات النسيج)، من جامعة الجزيرة بالسودان.. عملي مستقل كموظفة ذاتية في مجال التصميم والبحث العلمي.. بالإضافة إلى أنني أعمل في قسم التسويق في مصنع لأكياس القماش غير المنسوجة.. وقد أصبحت القضايا البيئية جزءًا من شغفي نتيجة لذلك قمت بتأسيس شركة ريتيكس التي تعمل في إعادة تدوير مخلفات الملابس، حيث أثر فيروس كوفيد على العالم كله.

وأنشأنا مبادرة

(SudaHope)

و كانت نتيجة لتغيير جزء من خط الإنتاج لدينا إلى إنتاج أقنعة الوجه… وبالمزيد من التفكير في ريادة الأعمال كأداة يمكن أن تساعد الناس في تحسين حياتهم ، شاركت في تأسيس مبادرة

 (Business Master)

 لمساعدة أصحاب (الأعمال الصغيرة).. حظيت بالتحدث على منصة تيدكس ودمدني في 2019.. أعتقد أن أي شخص في هذا العالم يمكن أن يوفر تأثيرًا اجتماعيًا أو بيئيًا وأنا أفعل ما بوسعي للمساعدة في نجاح المبادرات المذكورة أعلاه.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: كيف يؤثر عملك على المجتمع والبيئة؟

أنا اعمل في مجال إعادة التدوير لمخلفات المنسوجات والأقمشة، ولهذا المجال العديد من الآثار على البيئة والمجتمع حيث نعمل علي خلق فرص عمل جديدة وتحسين مستوى الاقتصاد المحلي. ونظراً لمشاركتي في عدد من برامج تنمية وتطوير المجتمع أهمها (برنامج القيادات الشابة من الأمم المتحدة وعدد من برامج ريادة الأعمال من المجلس الثقافي البريطاني)، فأنا الآن اعمل على نقل هذه الخبرات التي اكتسبتها من تلك البرامج إلي عدد كبير من الشباب والعمل على تطوير مهاراتهم ليكونوا جيلاً مهتماً بريادة الأعمال ومشاريع تنمية البلاد.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: من خلال خبرتك ومن منظورك الشخصي ما هي التحديات التي تواجه بيئة العمل بالسودان؟ ما هي مقترحاتك للتعامل مع تلك التحديات؟

إن من خلال تعاملي مع عدد من المؤسسات الحكومية والخاصة في السودان لاحظت أن معظم المشاكل التي تواجه هذه المؤسسات هي عدم الاختيار السليم للموظفين بمعنى عدم وجود الشخص المناسب في المكان المناسب، ويرجع ذلك إلى عدد من الأسباب أهمها الوساطة والمحسوبية وعدم وجود تعريفات محدده للوظائف، كما أن من التحديات التي تواجه مكان العمل عدم احترام الوقت في بعض الأحيان وعدم وجود توافق بين الموظفين في المكان الواحد.

يمكن التغلب على هذه التحديات بتوظيف الأشخاص حسب تخصصاتهم وخبراتهم في المجال المعين، وكذلك التوعية بالحفاظ على الوقت وزيادة الوعي بأهمية روح الفريق الواحد ونتائجها على العمل.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: كنتي من ضمن المتحدثات بمؤتمر تيدكس وادمدني بالسودان، ماذا كان محور موضوعك؟

في عام 2019 كنت أحد المتحدثات في مؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني، وقد كان أحد أهم أهدافي أن اصعد على مسرح تيدكس ودمدني وأشارك الجميع موضوعاً يعتبر من أهم المواضيع في السودان ولكن لا يتم التطرق إليه إلا وهو موضوع نفايات؛ الأقمشة والمنسوجات وأهمية إعادة تدويرها، تكمن أهمية هذا الموضوع في انه يؤثر بصورة مباشرة على الإنسان والمجتمع ككل والبيئة المحيطة.

وعندما يتم إعادة تدوير هذه المخلفات والاستفادة منها فإنها تنتج لنا بيئة نظيفة وصحية خالية من النفايات كما أن هذا المجال يوفر عدد كبير من فرص العمل للشباب، كما أن مثل هذه المشاريع تدعم الاقتصادي المحلي للدولة.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: ما هي النشاطات الأكثر شغفاً لكي؟

من أهم النشاطات التي أحب القيام بها هي مساعدة الآخرين في تطوير أنفسهم وتحفيزهم على ذلك سواء كان ذلك عن طريق المساعدة بالتدريب أو التوجيه والإرشاد أو التوعية أو حتى عن طريق منحهم الطاقة الإيجابية التي تمنحهم ثقة في أنفسهم.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: من وجهة نظرك الشخصية ما الذي يجعل منصة تيدكس مميزة؟

تيدكس من أهم المنصات العالمية التي يجب على الجميع أن يكونوا على دراية كاملة بها لما تقدمه من محتوى يفيد الجميع في حياتهم، خاصة أنها لا تنحصر في مجال معين بل إنها تشمل العلم والتكنولوجيا والإبداع والترفيه والكثير الكثير من المجالات التي تهم الناس وتجعل حياتهم أفضل، أنا أرى أن تيدكس هي منصة التعليم الإلكتروني الأولى في العالم.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: هل يمكن أن تقصي علينا تجربة أو موقف قد مررتي به وتعلمتي منه درساً في الحياة؟

في حياتنا اليومية نقابل عدد من الأشخاص ونخوض العديد من التجارب وبالنتيجة يؤثر كل ذلك علينا ويغير طباعنا وطريقة تفكيرنا وحكمنا على الأشياء والأشخاص، ومن أعظم التجارب التي مررت بها هي تجربة مشاركتي في مؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني حيث أنني كنت من الأشخاص الذين تنتابهم الرهبة والخوف من الجمهور ولكن وبعد الصعود على المسرح وبمرور أول دقائق شعرت بتقبل الجمهور لي واستماعهم لي بعناية كبيرة ومن بعد تلك التجربة أصبحت أكثر ثقة في نفسي وزادت مقدرتي على مواجهة الجمهور وبدأت بتدريب وتحفيز العديد من الأشخاص في عدد من المجالات وأهم ما انصح به دائماً أن يواجهه الإنسان مخاوفه ويتحدي نفسه وعندها سيندهش بالنتيجة.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: ربما مفهوم “القيادة” يختلف من عصر إلا آخر بل أحياناً يختلف من شخص إلى آخر، ما هو مفهومك الشخصي للقيادة؟

إن نجاح مفهوم القيادة في الوضع الحالي يتعلق بصورة مباشرة بطريقة تفكير الأشخاص، والطريقة التي يشعرون بها، وتصرفهم بطريقة مسؤولة. فهي أكثر من كونها كاريزما أو شيء يمكن تعلمه بثلاث خطوات سهلة أو من خلال أحد البرنامج. حيث تتطلب القيادة القوية التطوير باستمرار. وليس بالضرورة أن يتمتع الأشخاص الأذكياء بالحكمة. ولكن بإمكانهم أن يتعلموا كيفية إيجاد سبل للتعامل مع التجارب الصعبة من خلال معرفة أنفسهم. كما أن العصر الحالي يعتمد على التفكير خارج الصندوق وإيجاد الحلول الإبداعية لجميع المشكلات التي تواجه الشخص القائد أو فريق العمل لدية.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: هل يمكن أن نتناول أحد التحديات التي قد مررت بها خلال حياتك العملية؟

في بداية هذا العام كنا نعمل على إنشاء ورشة لتصنيع الملابس الجاهزة وإعادة تدوير مخلفات المنسوجات، ولكن ومع ظهور فيروس (Covid19) توقف هذا العمل نظراً لتوقف الأسواق عن العمل ولم نتمكن من شراء كافة الاحتياجات الأساسية لبدء المشروع.

لم نتوقف عن العمل بل بدأنا بتحويل فكرة المشروع وتأسيس مبادرة تهتم بتصنيع الكمامات عن طريق الخياطين الذين توقفت أعمالهم وبذلك خلقنا لهم فرص عمل جديدة ووفرنا للجميع أهم وسيلة للوقاية من فيروس (Covid19).

ثورة الموارد البشرية: من وجهة نظرك الشخصية ما هي التهديدات التي تواجة إقتصاد السودان؟ وما هي مقترحاتك الاستراتيجية لتجنب المخاطر؟

إن الوضع الحالي في السودان غير مستقر في معظم القطاعات خاصة القطاع الاقتصادي وهذا القطاع يؤثر على جميع طبقات المجتمع باختلافها ومن أهم الاقتراحات الإستراتيجية التي يجب أن تطبق على البلاد هي أن نعمل على إصلاح المجتمع السوداني نفسه من خلال تكثيف التوعية والاهتمام بالأفراد وتوفير سبل العيش الكريم لهم، كما يجب أن يراعي أن السودان يحتوي على اختلافات كبيرة جداً بين الناس وعادة ما لا يتقبل أحد رأي الآخر أو توحيد الجهود مع بعضهم البعض لذلك فإن عمليات التوعية للأفراد والمجتمعات تخلق جيلاً أفضل ويعمل على نهضة البلاد.

ومن ثم إعادة النظر في السياسات الدولية للسودان وتحسين العلاقات الخارجية للبلاد، ومن أهم هذه الاقتراحات هي أن يُمحي أسم السودان من قائمة الدول الراعية للإرهاب.

ثورة الموارد البشرية: ما هي نصيحتك لمن يبغى التحدث بموؤتمر تيدكس؟

أنا أحب دائماً تشجيع أصدقائي أن يتابعوا كل الفيديوهات التي تطرح في منصة تيدكس، كما أشجعهم أن يكونوا حضورا لعدد من المؤتمرات وأحداث تيدكس في السودان خاصة تيدكس ودمدني، وبالفعل شجعت صديقتي حتى كانت أحد المتحدثين في المؤتمر السابق والآن أساعد ثلاثة من أصدقائي أن يكونوا متحدثين في المؤتمر القادم.

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Interviews

Q&A with Germeen El Manadily; TV Presenter | Publisher | Digital Marketing Expert | TEDx Speaker

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Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi

“After the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world came to the realization that social media has a huge influence on business development, even when real physical marketing was absent.”

Germeen El Manadily

1- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Germeen, you have successfully worked in many different careers, can you tell us more about your journey?

Germeen El Manadily: I started my journey during college days, I have 12 years of work experience. I have BA from Alexandria University, and currently working on my Master’s degree in the influence of digital marketing on social development.

I worked 6 years as a publisher for a Swiss Publishing House, where I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the magical world of publishing and books. During these years we successfully published for many authors. I published more than 40 books in many languages, my first was the autobiography of the Egyptian feminist “Nawal Elsadawy.” 

I also worked on translation and publishing projects of books written by Egyptian authors, such as Youssef Idris, Salah Jahin, Abdel Rahman el Abnoudi, and Ibrahim Abdel Meguid. I contracted with Dr. Mahmoud Al-Dabaa, to translate his book, “The Culture, Identity and Arab Awareness.”

As for children’s literature, I had the opportunity to translate the original text of “The Brothers Grimm” into four languages. In addition, I worked on the production of the children’s travel literature book, “Adventures of Rouge and the Mystery of the Papyrus.”

I also spearheaded an initiative aiming at discovering new writing talents.

Finally ending my publishing career, I was the chapter head of the Middle East.

My other hat is working as a TV presenter in a weekly show at Orbit TV network, focusing on general social topics, as women rights, and career coaching.

I was chosen to speak as a motivational speaker at TEDxCIC, UN Women & Arab’s League Innovation (Her Story), and the French Institute panel in the women’s international day.

I recently shifted my career to become a digital marketing and communication expert.

My short-term plan is to make my own fingerprint in this challenging field and establish my own digital marketing firm covering Africa and the Middle East.

2- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Can you please tell us what did you love most in each job and also a lesson that you have learnt from each?

Germeen El Manadily: As a Publisher, I loved the fact of shedding the light on hidden people’s talent in writing, developing their skills, and giving them the opportunity to be introduced to the world. Being a TV presenter, I was introduced to a completely different community which gave me the chance to represent women of my age to the world. Currently, I find the digital marketing field very interesting as you play a major role in business development in a variety of fields; hence, in digital marketing you have the capability to be introduced to multiple fields at the same time, and you have to understand, compete, and plan a strategic map to grow this business in a specific period of time.

3- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a TV Presenter you do a lot of multi-tasking even if on air. Can you please tell us what was the most challenging thing about that job?

Germeen El Manadily: Time is the most challenging thing as a TV presenter. You must be able to communicate your ideas with your audience effectively in a specific period.

4- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As you have worked 6 years in publishing, what do you believe are the common challenges facing this industry these days? What are your advice and suggested solutions?

Germeen El Manadily: Translation is a major defect in the field of publishing. Considering foreign literature occupies a big portion of the Middle East market. Professional translation needs to be further developed.

5- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a Digital Marketing Expert, how do you believe this profession is especially important in today’s business world?

Germeen El Manadily: After the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world came to the realization that social media has a huge influence on business development, even when real physical marketing was absent.

6- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Since your next plan is to establish your own startup, what are the skills, talents, and personalities that you will be looking for in the market to recruit?

Germeen El Manadily: Creativity and time orientation in applicants.

7- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: At such age you have accomplished many things in your career, what about your personal life? Tell us a personal challenge that you have faced in your life and how did you overcome it and what did you learn from it?

Germeen El Manadily: Leaving my home city and family at my early years of life to start my business journey. Aiming high in my life and trying to hit my targets was my driving force for these challenges. Nothing is impossible.

8- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Last but not least, as a Leader, how do you work on motivating yourself and sustaining your happiness at work?

Germeen El Manadily: Self-reward is the key in keeping your motivation up and building your self-esteem.

Thank You

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Interviews

Interview with Stephanie Runyan, PHR, the Director of Learning for the HR Certification Institute

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“HR professionals must be prepared for anything.  The roles of HR professionals continually change, there will be a continued need to expand their areas of knowledge and expertise.”

Stephanie Runyan

Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

Brief Biography about the Interviewee:

Stephanie Runyan, PHR, is the Director of Learning for the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).  Previously, she served as an HR Content Manager, Recertification Supervisor and HR Products Manager.  She has worked for HRCI since August, 2010.

Stephanie has more than eight years of HR experience and is PHR-certified since 2009.  Previously, Stephanie worked as an HR Generalist for an engineering firm in Virginia and as an HR Manager for a law firm in Washington, D.C.  Stephanie earned a BS in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MS in Human Resource Development from Villanova University

HR Revolution Middle-East: Ms. Stephanie, welcome to HR Revolution Middle East Magazine. It’s a great pleasure to have the opportunity to make this interview with you.

The HRCI has recently developed a rich Learning Catalogue for Professionals World-wide in addition to the International Certification Exams. This Learning Catalogue includes diversified courses, covering a lot of important fields, offered to learners to study at the ease of their homes online. As the Director of Learning, can you please share with us how was this differentiated product born?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

With the release of HRCI’s upSkill product in 2018, HRCI entered the learning space. Over the past two years, the demand for upSkill has increased. HRCI is now committed to continue offering current and relevant learning options to our global HR professional network. In 2020, this evolved into our establishment of a diverse and affordable learning catalog.

2- HR Revolution Middle East: The HRCI Learning Catalogue offers for Professionals the upSkill™ & the Online Professional Development Certificate Programs & Courses. Can you please explain to us the difference between the two products?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

HRCI’s certification exams require a combination of education and experience, as well as successfully passing a rigorous exam.  Upon successfully passing the exam, successful candidates earn a credential that requires recertification every three years. HRCI’s upSkill product is available to anyone, regardless of education or experience. The program offers a timed assessment for upSkill courses. After completion of an upSkill course, a digital badge is issued and does not require recertification efforts.

3- HR Revolution Middle East: We have really noticed that the upSkill™ micro credentials gives the HR Professionals the opportunity to learn about very specific and totally new areas in HR like or example “California HR” & “HR in Social Media”. We would love to learn from you how those products were that intelligently tailored to cover missing areas in the traditional HRM education?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

HRCI developed our UpSkill content based on feedback from our certified network of professionals. HRCI offers the PHRca certification, and those who earn that certification offered extensive feedback for the development of learning around California labor and leave legislation. In addition, HRCI identifies new topic areas based on what is happening in the world. For example, HR in Social Media, is a topic that impacts everyone, regardless of location or type of organization.

4- HR Revolution Middle East: The current Learning Catalogue for upSkill™ micro credentials  include California HR, HR in Social Media, Confidentiality and Technology, Risk Management, and Workforce Analytics.  Are you planning to add more specialties for the micro-credentials catalogue? Would you consider tailoring certain micro-credentials for the Middle East?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

As HRCI continues to expand its learning offerings, we will continue to evaluate our certification population. Based on such data, HRCI will tailor programs on based on certain geographical areas or needs.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: The upSkill™ is considered by the HRCI a bite-sized e-learning program that allows professionals to efficiently learn from top business experts, gain new skills, and impact decision-making at their organizations. Can you share with us more about how such content is developed and the huge efforts played in the background in order to enrich the market with this unique product?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

The entire upSkill development process was based on HR practices from current HR professionals.  We reached out and established micro-panels of experts in each of the content areas to build out the content and assessment for each of our upSkill courses.  In addition, we worked with third-party vendors to fill the gap for additional learning topics and products.   

6- HR Revolution Middle East: The Online Professional Development Certificate Programs & Courses include a variety of courses that don’t limit to the HR only but it even includes certificates in computer applications & cybersecurity. Can we consider this an opportunity from the HRCI to provide reliable courses’ content to professionals from other disciplines as well? Would this product be elaborated in future to turn into certifying professionals from other disciplines?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

HRCI continues to explore additional learning areas where HR professionals can expand their knowledge.  While our upSkill courses address specific topic areas, our learning catalog also offers educational opportunities that range from topics such as Agility, Women in Business, Data Management and Business Strategy. As far as learning is concerned, HRCI will continue to explore different disciplines and topics that impact the practice of HR.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: To what extent do you believe HR professionals shall not limit their study to HR related subjects only, but shall expand to learn about related disciplines to excel in their field and serve their organizations differently?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

HR professionals must be prepared for anything.  The roles of HR professionals continually change. I believe that there will be a continued need to expand their areas of knowledge and expertise.  I also expect that there will be a desire to learn more about specific industries, in greater detail.  For example, if you have a manufacturing organization, I can easily see HR professionals looking to learn more about the manufacturing industry, it’s competitors, and challenges that a specific industry may face.

8- HR Revolution Middle East: The Product Development dynamics have recently become very aggressive due to the technological disruption, so we would like to ask you finally, to give an advice for product directors and managers; how can they increase their creativity and innovation skills to cope with such dynamics?

Ms. Stephanie Runyan:

My recommendation would be to continue to monitor the needs and wants of your specific audiences.  As the world responds to the effects of the global pandemic, there will be an increased need for virtual capabilities and enhanced technology that can support your organization’s initiatives.

THANK YOU

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