How I made it: Fida Kibbi, Vice President, Head of Marketing, Communications, Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson MEA
For our latest inspiring stories series, 'How I made it', we're interviewing the cream of the crop across all facets of communications and marketing. This is where you'll learn about how the best in the industry got to where they are today and hopefully pick up some tips along the way to help your own career progress.
Fida Kibbi is the Vice President, Head of Marketing, Communications Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility for Ericsson in the Middle East & Africa. Kibbi is responsible for leading, driving and managing Marketing, Communications SCR strategies and plans for the world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and services in the MEA region.
Kibbi is considered a trusted advisor to senior executives and an accomplished team leader. With her hands-on experience in strategic and tactical marketing, she has developed and executed, throughout the years, marketing plans and campaigns that are aligned to sales strategies and targets, has led account-based marketing plans to success, and established the foundation of the transformation towards digital marketing. Kibbi is considered as an expert in building communication strategies that drive the company’s transformation including communicative leadership, crisis communication, and employee and media relations.
How do you start your day?
To me, every day is a new start, the beginning of a new journey. I wake up every morning telling myself “today is a new day and it’s going to be great”.
I head to the office, holding my all-important cup of coffee. As soon as that coffee is on my table, the day starts and away we go.
What personal attributes do you think have helped you to succeed during the course of your career?
Determination, perseverance and focus. When you set your mind to something and say ‘I can do it,’ trust in your capabilities, trust in who you are and remain determined to achieve, you can bring back value to yourself, your business, your family and the people around you.
While doing that, it’s also vital to have fun, you should never forget to enjoy what you are doing and have passion for your profession. You should never stay in a profession where you don’t like what you do.
What keeps you sane on those crazy days?
What keeps me sane is going back to my core values as a person – who I am and what I want to achieve. My family and the people I love also help to keep me grounded.
What is the best piece of career advice you have been given?
Never say ‘no, I cannot do that’. Always believe that you can and explore things. Be determined. Have a vision and even if it is a dream, try to achieve it. When I think back to the beginning of my career in 1994 in Saudi Arabia, if you had told me that by 2019 I would be where I am today, I wouldn’t have believed it.
It’s all about determination. When I started out in Saudi, aged 20, I wanted a career. Despite the challenges back then, I just went for it!
What three words best describe you?
Passionate. Positive. Determined.
Who or what inspires you?
I love reading other business leaders stories on LinkedIn or online. Just recently I read about a lady who left Iran without her family to move to the US and is now CEO of one of the most successful companies in the US – Home Franchise. In 2009 she was diagnosed with a brain tumour but still fights on. These sort of stories about women who find their place in despite all the challenges they face and the many responsibilities they carry, really fascinate me. I try to learn from each and every story I read.
What major challenges have you overcome in the course of your career or this year?
If I look at marketing, identifying just what marketing is doing – the ROI – can sometimes be challenging because it’s not always about numbers, sometimes it’s about engagement, or brand perception. And now adding digital marketing into the mix is just the icing on the cake! We are on a journey to explore how can we leverage digital marketing to the benefit of the business and to understand our customers’ needs.
Finally, you will face many challenges in the course of your career; some people will say ‘you’re not capable, you’re not ready, I don’t think you can do that’. But when you meet people like that who try to bring you down it’s important to believe in oneself and keep going!