With these words, Raha Moharrak, adventurer, mountaineer and the first Saudi woman to conquer Everest ended her 8 minutes (sharp on time) talk. It took her 8 minutes only to summarize a story of bravery, it took her 8 minutes only to inspire a captivated audience. Raha was joined by 2 other speakers who are as inspiring and as brave as Raha. Nick Watson, founder of #TeamAngelWolf - formed by members of the Watson family – whose aim is to raise awareness of people (especially children) with disabilities and how they can be included in fitness activities. And Maria Conceicao, founder of Maria Cristina Foundation which core mission is to give slum-dwellers and their children in Dhaka, Bangladesh, equal opportunities to succeed in life by helping them get an education. The inspiring trio were speaking at the leadership breakfast held at the Dubai Lynx Festival which is organized by The Marketing Society and sponsored by Serviceplan Group Middle East. They shared with us real-life stories of bravery and left us all mesmerized and inspired.
Three extraordinary individuals shared their inspirational tales and left an audience of hardened marketers in awe and tears, at the society's ‘Uncomfortable Breakfast’ at the Dubai Lynx. Roha Moharrak is the first Saudi women to climb Mount Everest and, in just eight minutes, she regaled us with how her rebellious fear of having to conform to Saudi social norms led her to challenge her family and herself. Her first conquest was Killimanjaro in Tanzania and she described the sense of ‘belonging at the top of the mountain’ as the catalyst to then go on to prove her doubters wrong from the ‘top of the world’. Her journey has taken her from being a ‘walking-talking taboo’ to an iconic role model to Saudi women (and a ‘girl crush’ for The Marketing Society’s chief executive, Gemma Greaves). Nick Watson’s journey is very different and equally amazing.
With all this talk about content all around us, what does “content” mean? Whenever I’ve asked that question, no one seems to have a ready and definitive answer. So, here’s my attempt at answering it (indulge me…): “content” comes from the feeling of being content. As an adjective, it means “a state of happiness” and as a verb, it implies “satisfying someone”. So, as long as an audio or a visual object satisfies or makes someone happy, that’s “content”! And we need to keep that meaning broad enough, so we don’t fall into the lazy habit of defining content by formats such as videos, memes or posts. Easy, right? Well, our industry has some way to go. And it should make us feel a little angry and peeved off. I definitely am! That inner, seething rage heightened as I spent the most eye-opening 20 minutes with David, a taxi driver at Cannes, in 2015, on my way from the airport at Nice to the hotel.
When I received the invitation from the Marketing Society for the leadership breakfast at the Lynx Creative festival, I questioned why the speakers were all athletes? My first thought was; Why are athletes chosen to inspire corporate executives and not the other way around? Surprisingly, what I heard in the session defied my judgement. The session started with Raha Muharrak’s talk. Raha is the first Saudi women to summit Mount Everest. As Raha took the stage and told her story, I felt her enthusiasm gradually sweeping its way across the audience. Raha touched upon the contagious effect of achievement, the sweet taste of success and the passion of setting an example for others to follow. Raha was a young person with an encompassing soul, she took me back to my early 20s and reminded me how important it is to fight for what you want. If a spirit meter was present, it would have tested sky high.
Now that the mobile has successfully transitioned from being a device babies once stared at in bed to one that adults now do, it was only right and proper to blow the Comms Conch on this topic and assemble the marketing glitterati that is The Marketing Society MENA. Our agenda: to scoff down the sage words of Yasir Saddiqui along with our bodyweight in pastries at the welcoming hands of Hilton – a veritable double treat at DoubleTree. As I say, our topic was all things mobile (or ‘Mowbull’, if you’re American – even ‘Cellphone’ – and if you are my daughter ‘Shellphone’ – aw, bless her clueless cotton socks) and who better to romp us through this vast landscape than an alumnus of IBM, the ubiquitous, omniscient IT colossus fresh from the World Mobile Summit.