Learn­ing the ropes

Friday - - Inside -

smiles. “It’s just tak­ing some­thing and do­ing the very best you can, and al­ways look­ing at it from ev­ery an­gle and mak­ing sure there’s room for im­prove­ment.

“To­day I may look at an is­sue from one an­gle, but to­mor­row I may want to look at it from an­other. How do I im­prove it, how do I make it bet­ter? That’s the thought that drives me.”

Emma loves cel­e­brat­ing suc­cesses with her staff and ac­knowl­edg­ing in­di­vid­u­als who go be­yond the call of duty.

“It’s very im­por­tant to cel­e­brate to­gether when­ever some­thing big is achieved,” she says. “We sup­port each other and look at strengths and weak­nesses in each other.”

Grow­ing up in Melbourne, Aus­tralia, de­ter­mi­na­tion and drive was in­stilled in Emma by her fa­ther, Alan Cullen, from an early age. “He was a very driven busi­ness­man – a se­rial en­tre­pre­neur,” she says. “Work was such a big part of his life. My younger sis­ter, Amanda, and I learnt to be worka­holics from him.” Al­though she loved her old job in mar­ket­ing for the Af­ter trav­el­ling for a year, Emma set­tled in Port Dou­glas, Queens­land, where she first got into the club busi­ness.

She learnt the ropes at Quick­sil­ver, a re­sort com­pany on the Great Bar­rier Reef, and moved on to Port Dou­glas Reef Re­sorts, “which had a cou­ple of ho­tels and was de­vel­op­ing a golf course which be­came a very per­sonal and pas­sion­ate pro­ject of mine,” she says. “I was in­volved right from the real es­tate stage when the golf course was be­ing de­signed.”

That stood her in good stead when Club Corp, a Texas-based de­vel­op­ment com­pany op­er­at­ing clubs across the world, even­tu­ally bought the golf course. She moved up the lad­der as the com­pany’s sales and mar­ket­ing co­or­di­na­tor.

While on an as­sign­ment for Club Corp in Sin­ga­pore, Emma met her fu­ture hus­band, South African Rus­sel, and in 2003 she moved with him to Dubai.

“When I first ar­rived in Dubai I went to a bar­be­cue where I met Linda Ma­honey, the chair­per­son of one of Dubai’s first real es­tate agen­cies, Bet­ter Homes, and she said ‘come and

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