Af­fect­ing Change on a Dif­fer­ent Level

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

What we call fail­ure is not the fall­ing down but the stay­ing down...

Fady Salameh is a vet­eran ad­man with over 35 years of se­nior man­age­ment ex­pe­ri­ence and lead­er­ship within the MENA re­gion’s ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing communications industry. Af­ter ex­it­ing the busi­ness, he as­sumed, in 2011, the role of UNDP’S Live Le­banon Good­will Am­bas­sador. What fol­lows is his ac­count of the industry he lov­ingly served close to four decades.

Af­ter reach­ing the top of the ad­ver­tis­ing lad­der I left be­cause…

I was trav­el­ing twen­tytwo days a month and could not spend as much time with my fam­ily as I wanted to aside from some health con­sid­er­a­tions, which I was ig­nor­ing. Look­ing back, I now know there was a di­vine power push­ing and guid­ing me to get out at ex­actly the right time just be­fore the Lehman Broth­ers scan­dal, the world eco­nomic cri­sis, which even­tu­ally af­fected Dubai and brought about the Arab Spring re­volt. My de­ci­sion to leave cer­tainly sur­prised many be­cause I was 50 years old and the busi­ness was boom­ing with a yearly in­crease of ap­prox­i­mately 35 per­cent.

The thing I miss most about ad­ver­tis­ing is… the

great team of friends I worked with whose en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit was be­hind MCN'S suc­cess.

What is still left from all those years is… the

good rep­u­ta­tion I built over the years in the industry, which of­ten­times I am re­minded of by clients and friends who I oc­ca­sion­ally run into.

Some of the tools I’ve ac­quired in the ad­ver­tis­ing field are… firstly,

suc­cess is not easy and comes at a hefty price. Se­condly, lead­er­ship re­quires you to de­pend on your hunch and take tough and fast de­ci­sions that aren’t al­ways pop­u­lar. This re­minds me of some­thing a wise man once told me. He said that he can­not give me the for­mula for suc­cess but can share with me the for­mula for fail­ure, which is to try and please ev­ery­body. Thirdly, all busi­nesses have their ups and downs. What you need to know and be­lieve, is that "What we call fail­ure is not the fall­ing down but the stay­ing down..." That is ex­actly what we did at MCN and de­spite the dif­fi­cult times, we never threw in the towel.

The good old things that don't ex­ist any­more are… ac­cord­ing

to what I hear from friends still in the industry, the fun they used to have is no longer there. This in part is be­cause al­most all the agen­cies have sold ma­jor­ity share to multi­na­tion­als thereby do­ing away with the old free en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit and com­radely among the com­pa­nies’ own­ers. This to­day is re­placed with a sole fo­cus on the bot­tom line.

The thing I am left with is…

And will al­ways be the suc­cess I have had on the per­sonal level. Prior to en­ter­ing the ad industry, I re­ceived a gen­er­ous of­fer from Citibank, which I turned down. Ev­ery­one in my fam­ily was against me en­ter­ing the ad­ver­tis­ing field believ­ing that it wasn’t a real job. Look­ing back, I can say with com­pete con­fi­dence that if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would have done the same. How­ever, with what I do now at U.N.D.P. I hope to suc­ceed in con­tribut­ing to a bet­ter and free Le­banon so that our chil­dren may live in peace and pros­per­ity.

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