February ‘16
The Voice of Reason

February ‘16
Khaled Habib
Khaled Habib


    


I can go on and on explaining what a role model he is and the huge influence he has on lots of people (including myself)… but instead I decided to let you enjoy the flow of my surprising and unique chat with the Jack-of-all-trades, Dr. Khaled Habib!

You studied engineering, why didn’t you continue in this path?

When it comes to engineering, you can’t explore the market with the academic courses, it’s totally different. So I decided to make a smooth shift and I moved step by step to being a sales engineer.  I found that I have some free time so I explored selling time-shares. I still had some free time so I joined the radio, without my mother’s help; I did it the hard way and I started working for overseas radio stations. I would go to the radio station at four am to broadcast for America at 10 am.  I kept doing these three things together till one day a friend called me and informed me there was some guy who wants to meet me. I had no clue what he wanted so I took my recorder, timeshare brochures and engineering brochures…


You were totally ready for anything!

Anything! He kept asking me general questions and then he told me, “I have this big factory that produce leather goods and we’re losing lots of money! I want to make you the sales and marketing manager.”  I went there with some ideas and I had no clue how to implement them. That was in the early 90’s where there was no Internet, so I went to the AUC library and borrowed lots of books. I learned how to write a marketing plan, a strategic plan and so on, and it worked! In a couple of years we became present in the market and we exported to so many countries all over the world. I moved to another company that organizes events and came up with this idea about industrial specialized international exhibitions and we travelled to Germany to attend this huge event there. All we had was a brochure but at the end of this trip we came back with people booking spaces in our Egyptian event. Two years later we were one of the biggest exhibition organizers in the Middle East and specialized exhibitions were monopolized by us. After that I became known as the guy who takes companies from wrecks to riches in a creative way and after that I became a consultant for a lot of big companies.


What about your career in media?

I moved to the local European service and I came up with some crazy ideas like Patagonia, an imaginary world where we were trying to escape censorship, and we were all living in a perfect world. We did a lot of sketches that form what is now known as the first stand-up comedy in Egypt. We started on the radio; we became very popular so we did another version on TV. And then I worked on a project with the European Union,  who were planning reconstruction projects in Egypt. I was lucky to work on this experience for over four years. Then I thought it’s okay to move to the other side of the table and take an easier path.  Unfortunately at that time my media career stopped because I was always criticizing in a sarcastic way.


What are the new generations missing to become future leaders?   

The first thing is awareness, which leads to managing expectations. Youth are very creative and intelligent, if they learn to have self-awareness and to manage their expectations they will change the world.


By Rania Ihab