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Advancing Your Communications Career in MENA: Hear How Regional Leaders Made It Happen! 

Alice Weightman, Chair of the PRCA MENA People and Culture committee sat down with senior leaders of the communications industry and the committee members of PRCA MENA to share insights from their impressive careers, offering guidance on how to get ahead in the ever-changing communications field. 

Today, we’ll hear from Louay Al-Samarrai, Managing Director at Active DMC, who will share their journey to success and offer some invaluable career advice.  

What drove you to forge a career in communications? 

I think it was a case of it attracting me. I found that the skills innate in the profession played to my character and strengths – passion, creativity, and the desire to deliver results that are of a high standard. The feeling of being in the “thick of it” – always up to date with what was and is going on. 

What do you think are the key qualities needed to succeed in communications and how do you assess these attributes when interviewing prospective candidates? 

It’s a go-getting attitude, one that says that no hurdle is too high, no challenge is too difficult and the desire to drive things forwards, deliver results, it’s the way they interact, the body language and the approach to answering questions and their overall positivity which you can sense from a person. 

What is the biggest challenge you've overcome during your career? What lessons did you learn from this experience that you believe are valuable for others facing similar obstacles? 

It’s all great when it is all going well. It’s when things get tough and the situations you find yourself in become challenging that you realise where you are and how capable you are of dealing with stress – there are a few that I can personally draw on especially having been in the lucky position of running an Agency – but it’s the resilience that I use and draw on ALL the time – getting through it whatever, finding a solution not letting anything stop me. 

How has mentorship and professional networking impacted your personal growth, and what guidance would you offer to junior professionals around this? 

In all honesty I have not been mentored and I think I have just really enjoyed learning as I went as well as watching others and how they do things – well or badly – and hard wiring that into my thinking and approach. Professional networking has been something that I have enjoyed, and it does go a long way to helping you to see other views, other approaches and also grow your expertise and knowledge across a far broader spectrum of the profession   

How do you prioritise self-care and wellbeing amidst demanding work schedules, and what advice would you offer to junior professionals on achieving balance in their lives? 

It’s very important to understand when work is a priority and when you can step back and take time out – the key is having the right team support and family support. For juniors I think it’s very key to communicate – with your supervisor or direct report and be honest with them to let them know what motivates you and what you are keen to learn as well as accepting challenges in areas that you are weak. If that foundation is there, then a real work life balance can be achieved through that mutual understanding and trust. 

What advice do you have for junior professionals on embracing change in the evolving PR landscape? 

Be really convinced that this is what you want to do, accept that there will be challenges along the way. Always remember that it’s your achievements that will get you to your ultimate goals, not ticking boxes and thinking tactically. 

Lastly, what career advice would you give to PR professionals about setting long-term career goals in the MENA region? 

Be flexible, don’t expect too much, use every experience to learn from – good and bad – always take an interest in not only the profession but the other areas that impact it – like the media landscape, the technology impacting the industry and read! Above all read!!! 

Posted on 04.06.2024

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