Name: Mohamed Mahdy Ahmed Nassa
Title: Director Digital Marketing & PR
Organisation: Social Media Solutions , Qatar
I have more than 20 years of experience in social media and digital marketing. I have worked for major media outlets in the Arab world whatever in Egypt and the Gulf for example pan-Arab, including Plexusme, a company that manages, disseminates, and prepares news and Management of content services for the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aljazeera Media networks, Alsharq Newspaper Qatar, Social Media Solutions, Al-masry-alyoum, Media International, News Group International, Russia Today (RT), NNSM3 (Arab Influencers Platform), Praxialbs, Remark, Qorrect, Skolera, Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI), and Bab International.been one of my top priorities.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Mohamed's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a leader, the most challenging aspect I've encountered is fostering effective communication and collaboration within cross-functional teams. In today's dynamic business environment, ensuring that various departments work together seamlessly and align with the overarching marketing and PR strategy can be quite challenging. It requires a delicate balance of encouraging creativity and innovation while also maintaining a shared vision and cohesive approach to achieve organizational goals. Strong leadership and open communication are crucial in overcoming this challenge and enabling different teams to work together efficiently.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I became a leader through a combination of passion, dedication, and continuous learning in the field of digital marketing. My journey started in 2003, and over the years, I worked in various roles that allowed me to accumulate valuable experiences. As I progressed in my career and gained expertise, I had the opportunity to lead and mentor a group of trainees at Media International, gradually transitioning to heading the social media team at Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
My leadership path continued to evolve as I led larger teams responsible for social media analysis at News Group International, managed the digital team for Russia Today and the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information, and worked with prominent companies and institutions.
My experiences also included international assignments, such as managing the digital team at Al Jazeera Media Network in Qatar and later at Al sharq newspaper. Ultimately, I assumed a Director role managing the entire digital team at Social Media Solutions, the largest marketing company in Qatar.
My journey to leadership was marked by dedication to staying updated with industry trends, seizing opportunities for growth, and ensuring my teams' success. By focusing on building strong, collaborative teams and staying committed to excellence, I progressed in my career and became a leader in the field of digital marketing.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
As a Director of Digital Marketing & PR, structuring my workdays effectively is crucial to manage a diverse range of responsibilities. Here's a typical outline of my workday:
1. Morning Routine (6:30 AM - 8:00 AM):
- Wake up early to start the day fresh.
- Begin with a healthy breakfast and some light exercise to energize myself.
- Check personal emails and messages to stay updated.
- Briefly review the day's schedule and prioritize tasks.
2. Workday (8:00 AM - 5:00 PM):
- Start by addressing high-priority emails and communications.
- Organize the team's daily tasks and objectives.
- Conduct meetings with my team to discuss strategies and provide guidance.
- Review and analyze ongoing campaigns and PR initiatives.
- Collaborate with the team on content creation, marketing strategies, and PR activities.
- Allocate time for creative brainstorming and problem-solving.
- Monitor social media channels, engagement, and feedback.
- Attend to urgent tasks and ad-hoc issues.
- Maintain communication with clients and partners.
- Take short breaks to stay refreshed.
- Stay updated on industry trends and news.
3. Evening (5:00 PM - 8:00 PM):
- Wind down by checking emails and ensuring all critical issues are addressed.
- Debrief with the team, acknowledge achievements, and address any concerns.
- Plan for the next day's tasks and priorities.
- Engage in personal activities or hobbies to relax.
- Spend quality time with family and friends.
- Avoid work-related tasks in the late evening to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
4. Late Evening (8:00 PM - 10:00 PM):
- Review the day's achievements and setbacks.
- Set goals and targets for the next day.
- Ensure that everything is prepared for the following workday.
5. Sleep (10:00 PM):
- Aim for a good night's sleep to recharge for the next day.
Balancing my work and personal life is crucial for maintaining productivity and well-being. Adaptations to this routine may occur depending on urgent matters, client demands, or specific projects, but the general structure helps me stay organized and maintain a work-life balance.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
One of the recent leadership lessons that I've been reminded of is the importance of active and empathetic communication. While it's something I've always valued, recent experiences have underscored its significance.
In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing and PR, adaptability and quick decision-making are vital. However, it's equally crucial to ensure that every team member feels heard, valued, and understood. This fosters a sense of belonging and commitment within the team.
Here are some key takeaways from this lesson:
1. Active Listening
3. Clarity in Communication
4. Constructive Feedback
5. Leading by Example
In a fast-paced field like digital marketing and PR, where constant change is the norm, these leadership lessons not only help maintain a motivated and productive team but also ensure that we navigate challenges effectively and achieve our goals.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
One book that has had a profound impact on my leadership is "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek. This book significantly influenced my approach to leadership and teamwork.
The central idea of the book is that great leaders prioritize the well-being of their team members, just as a tribe's leader ensures that everyone in the tribe is fed before themselves. This concept deeply resonated with me.
The book emphasizes creating a "Circle of Safety," where team members feel secure, valued, and empowered. This security allows individuals to contribute their best efforts without the fear of negative consequences, fostering trust and cooperation within the team.
As a leader in digital marketing and PR, this book has reshaped my leadership style. It reminded me that my role is not just about making decisions but also about cultivating a supportive and encouraging environment. I've made conscious efforts to put my team's needs first, ensuring they have the tools, training, and resources they require to succeed. This approach has led to increased collaboration, motivation, and job satisfaction among team members.
"Leaders Eat Last" taught me that effective leadership isn't about being in charge but taking care of those in your charge. It's a philosophy I've embraced in my leadership journey and one that has yielded positive results. This book has been instrumental in shaping my leadership perspective, emphasizing the importance of empathy, trust, and the well-being of the team.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
If I could offer one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be this: Never stop learning and adapting. In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving digital landscape, continuous learning and adaptation are key to effective leadership. Embrace change, seek new knowledge and skills, and remain open to different perspectives and ideas.
Leaders who stay curious and keep evolving are better equipped to navigate challenges, inspire their teams, and drive innovation. Don't fear making mistakes; instead, view them as opportunities for growth. Be open to feedback and self-reflection, and use these insights to improve as a leader.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One meaningful story that stands out from my time as a leader involves a challenging project that required the collective efforts of my team. We were tasked with launching a new product, and the timeline was tight. There were numerous obstacles and hurdles to overcome.
What made this experience so memorable was the unwavering dedication and collaboration of my team. Despite the odds, they worked tirelessly, often late into the night, to meet the deadline. It was a true testament to their commitment and resilience.
As a leader, I was deeply moved by their determination and the way they supported one another. We not only successfully launched the product on time, but the project also brought the team closer together. It highlighted the importance of teamwork, perseverance, and a shared sense of purpose.
This story reminds me that as a leader, it's essential to recognize and appreciate the dedication and hard work of your team. It's the people you work with who drive success, and their stories of resilience and achievement are what make leadership so rewarding.