Overcoming adversity

Overcoming adversity

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.

Raha’s talked about brands believing in her mission before people did. This statement raised the bar on ua marketers. It served as a reminder to always keep an open mind and accept what is beyond the norm. Brands do play a major role in shaping societies. Brave marketers must continue to invest in dreamers and risk-takers, these are the minority that deliver major change.

The second session from Team Angel Wolf by Nick Watson gave my heart valves a pump of awe. Nick kept my heart racing as I learnt about his mission. Nick embraced his passion for sports even when faced with the difficulty of raising a child with disabilities.

The fact that Nick turned a bias into a purpose demonstrated how willpower can erase uncertainties. As a working mother, I needed the reassurance that parental responsibilities are only catalysts for success and never a setback.   

Nick’s story revolves around embracing the unlimited. It speaks of agility and stretching your powers beyond your imagination.

Whether intended or not, the best speech was saved for last. Maria Conceicao’s speech was my favorite.

Maria’s story sounded like a fairytale movie script. Perhaps too good to be true.

From humble beginnings marked with snags of losing her biological and adoptive mothers, to travelling the world and summitting the World’s highest mountains, while, at the same time managing a philanthropic quest to help over 600 children from the slumps of Bangladesh, was just inspiring.

Maria demonstrated a real-life example of magic. Her athletic achievements and philanthropic quests were captivating.

I hope that the National Geographic picks her story for one of their documentary series.

What I gathered from Maria’s talk was not only the fact that you can turn-around any difficulty into a success, but you can continue to flourish on a roll. Marketers can turn brands into snowballs that keeps growing into bigger conquests.

This morning’s session was a reminder that we sometimes tend to stay afloat instead of hunting for bigger waves. By seeing through the eyes of these inspiring individuals, we are empowered to overcome any adversity.

The session was a mission accomplished.


By Marwa Kaabour, head of marketing and corporate communication, Al Masaood