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    How I got my job as… Arts & Events Manager at Dubai’s ICD Brookfield Place


    by Sarah Joseph
    2 hours ago

    Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
    This week we chat with Malak Abu-Qaoud, Arts & Events Manager at ICD Brookfield Place in DIFC. Malak’s fresh and innovative perspective has allowed her to curate exhibitions featuring renowned artists, transforming ICD Brookfield Place into a platform that captivates audiences and pushes boundaries.
    By transcending into the innovation, ICD Brookfield worked with Prada, in collaboration with renowned English artist Damien Hirst. Malak presented Prada’s eighth iteration of Prada Mode, a travelling social club that provides members with a unique art experience, combined with music, dining, and conversation.
    Known for her keen eye and constant innovation in the space, Emirates Woman spoke to her to see her journey as an events curator and how it has evolved with time.
    What was your favourite subject at school?
    Art was my favorite followed by theater and English literature.
    What was your first job?
    When I was 9, I was hired by a tech-education platform that taught children school subjects in an interative manner using cartoon characters. I used to narrate some of these characters and at one point I had the opportunity to present the company to Bill Gates. In college, I took on part-time jobs in retail. This helped me build my communication skills and understand how to interact with people from different walks of life.

    What brought you to Dubai?
    My sister moved here a few years before I did, after visiting her I made the decision to move a few months later to be closer to my family. I was living in Montreal prior to Dubai, so I didn’t get to see them as often as I do now.
    What inspired you to enter the arts space and talk us through your role as Arts & Events Manager for ICD Brookfield Place?
    Growing up, I was always inspired by my sisters. They studied Fine Art, and I knew I wanted to end up in the creative field as well. I started my career as an intern at an art consulting and production agency in Montreal where I was eventually hired full-time; during my time there I learned how to work closely with artists, produce exhibitions and create a community. When I moved to Dubai and joined ICD Brookfield Place, I applied a lot of what I learned over the years to my role here. I now run the Arts & Events in the building where my team and I curated public exhibitions and program the cultural placemaking initiatives within ICD Brookfield Place.
    Talk us through some of the exhibitions that take place at ICD Brookfield Place?
    Over the past 3 years, we’ve hosted some fantastic shows at ICD Brookfield place. Each exhibition is different, but overall, we try to shift our focus on regional talent and exhibit shows that are accessible to the public and reflect culturally significant events. Some of our highlights include our partnership with Perrotin Gallery, which showcased the iconic Takashi Murakami for the first time in the UAE. Another is the visionary exhibition entitled: Do Arabs Dream of Electric Sheep? Curated by Adam Haj Yahia who explored alternative narratives of understanding the Arab world. Lastly, Tasmeem, it is our annual community-driven graphic design poster show that focuses on young and creative talent across the region.
    What are the key elements of your role?
    I find that key elements of my role are creating partnerships with galleries and working closely with artists and creatives. This helps foster our existing community while allowing it to grow further. With each show at ICD Brookfield Place, we hope to give artists a platform to showcase and express their work while cultivating a community of creatives across the region.
    Talk us through your daily routine.
    I start each morning with a workout session at 1Rebel, our wellness gym, or at Reform Athletica for Pilates. This is followed by a coffee catch-up with my colleague Yasmine. We run through our upcoming events and brainstorm new ideas. My days are usually packed with back-to-back meetings but sometimes I get some time away from the office to run around the city visiting artists, galleries and creatives.
    What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
    Try different things to find what drives you, work hard, and keep learning. Every experience has always led me to new opportunities one way or another, you just have to keep an open mindset and be patient. Don’t ever take no for an answer!

    What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
    That you don’t need to be the best at everything. Hone in on your skills and excel in what you’re great at, the best work is always a tribute to good teamwork.
    And what is the worst?
    “Fake it till you make it” I think the intention suggests that by imitating confidence and an optimistic mindset you eventually become those things. However, in my opinion, you need to work hard, keep learning, make mistakes, and slowly you will figure things out. Through these experiences you will find confidence in yourself and in the work you do.
    What’s the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?
    With joining ICD Brookfield Place, my main objective was to create a cultural program for Public Art and Placemaking. The image of the building being a corporate space made it difficult to produce a program that artists felt comfortable being a part of. With time, the industry began to trust me. The success of the program helped build confidence in my abilities as a curator and within myself. Over time, as an Arts and Events team, we have created exciting work that has pushed the boundaries of a corporate setting by encouraging dialogue about real-world issues. Over the past 3 years, we’ve built an engaging and growing community that attends our shows, talks, and events. We’ve become known in the community as a host of an incredible lineup of unprecedented events that really shake the city.

    What’s planned for the future of the space?
    There’s a lot planned for the upcoming season. An artist residency and exhibition in partnership with Tabari Artspace showcasing three talented emerging artists, Talal and Ziad AlNajjar and Miramar Muhd which is on display until October 20th 2023. Followed by two large site-specific artworks in November by Kuwaiti visual artist Monira AlQaderi which focuses on sustainability and the environment.
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Supplied  More

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    How Kelvin Cheung’s Dubai restaurant Jun’s is transforming the world of fusion flavours

    Known for his versatile cooking techniques, chef Kelvin Cheung is known for capturing the nostalgic flavours of North American Asian dishes.
    This globe-trotting chef has travelled the world and now opened Jun’s situated in the heart of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard with delightful dishes to indulge in.
    Known as a third culture chef, Jun’s invites guests from the globe over to indulge in delectable delights with a menu that takes fusion cooking to the next level.
    To see his journey as a chef, Emirates Woman, speaks to Chef Kelvin to delve into how it all began.
    Talk us through your career.
    Both my father and grandmother were chefs, so I spent a lot of time growing up around cooking. I have vivid memories of my father’s traditional Hong Kong style Cantonese restaurants in Toronto and Chicago where I would always help in the kitchens, so I suppose my culinary career started here! After mixing with well-respected chefs and mentors while living in Chicago as a young adult, I joined Kendall College of Culinary Arts. During my time there, I placed in the San Pellegrino Rising Young Chef competition which was one of the biggest confidence boosts in my career, and when I realized that I could cook for a career. During that contest, I met a prestigious chef who offered me an unpaid internship in Belgium, which I happily accepted. This was a huge risk, leaving the family business for the first time to move to a different country on a different continent to a restaurant that I knew nothing about. On top of this, neither my mother tongue Cantonese nor my second language English were spoken – only Dutch and French. This was a kickstart to my foundation of classical French cooking. Following my return from Belgium, I took on leadership roles in Canada and America. This path eventually led me to a six-month contract in India, which turned into nearly a decade of me living there! Then in 2021, it all began and here we are in Dubai, with our recent adventure, Jun’s.

    What inspired you to launch Jun’s in Dubai and enter the culinary world?
    I remember the first time I ever visited Dubai, it was in 2016 and I was on a market analysis visit. Five years later, I moved to Dubai in May 2021 after seeing the hospitality industry crash due to Covid. Neha Anand of Three Layer Hospitality reached out to me about moving to Dubai to open our dream restaurant, and at that point, I was very intrigued! I was already aware of the expected up-and-coming hospitality scene in the Middle East and wanted to be a part of it.
    You’re a third-generation chef, how did it start for you?
    My first memory of food is folding fortune cookies and pressing almond cookies in the basement of my father’s restaurant in Toronto with his head baker when I was around three or four years old. My elder brother and I would spend most mornings under the watchful eye of the baker, helping with small tasks while my immigrant parents worked hard to build a new life for us in North America. While I am heavily influenced by my father’s love of cooking and flair for hospitality, the person who had the most impact on my culinary journey is my grandmother, who came from Hong Kong to help my father in his first three restaurants in Toronto, and I cannot remember a meal that was not perfect. There is something magical about her cooking and at 103 she still leads a kitchen like a head chef. Her first job was back-breaking labour in a Lime Quarry in Mainland China, and she eventually escaped poverty after meeting my grandfather who was a University Basketball Coach. Together they moved to Hong Kong and openedmultiple successful, hole-in-the-wall eateries. Their love of food and basketball is honoured at Jun’s during our biweekly Basketball and Breakfast team days.
    You focus on seasonal, local and sustainable ingredients from Hong Kong, Canada and India. How do you source these and fuse them so successfully?
    Over time in my career, I began to realise that there were no rules, no borders, and no boundaries when it came to cooking. I started listening to instinct rather than the old-school rules of using specific ingredient combinations that were taught in culinary school. The focus is on respecting and using the local seasonal ingredients and creating dishes and recipes that let the beauty of each ingredient shine.

    The restaurant is known for its eclectic dining experience – can you expand on this?
    The vision of Jun’s was to create a space that is the go-to place for every occasion, where you know you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience with delicious food and drink. Jun’s should be the place that you go when you are hungry, the place where you go for a drink and a snack, the place for date night, and even the place for special occasions and celebrations. We want Jun’s to bring joy to all our guests, no matter the reason. Jun’s is also third culture cooking, where every dish has its own story. Jun’s is my life on a plate – American Asian in a modern progressive format, which is why I want guests to feel like they know me after listening to the different journeys of flavours and reasoning behind each dish.
    How has your background and culture been represented in the food?
    While we now refer to our food as ‘fun, inventive cooking without borders’, it is still North American Asian at heart. Growing up in North America to immigrant parents, I lived in a dual world. There was not much diversity at my school, so outside of that, I sought refuge in the Asian communities that lived around China Town. During the menu development process, I was trying to label my food and the only thing that felt right was that it did not fall under one of the existing labels. I then decided on North American Asian, a distinct cuisine. The food incorporates easier-to-source ingredients and does not limit itself to tradition as it explores different flavour combinations. We always hear that food unites us, and this is true to some extent. However, speaking as a son of immigrant parents, it also divides us. Throughout history, immigrants have always been incredible at improvisation, adaptation, and invention in the kitchen. This is why I think you are now seeing such a big rise in third-culture chefs. We are all cooking what we know, the adapted version of culture using ingredients and techniques that were possible in our new home countries that were a world away from our culture.
    What was your though process when designing the menu?
    When building menus, I like to think about the menu as one meal, a meal that is balanced in flavour profiles as well as dietary needs to complete a full experience. Whether it be a full five or six-course meal or just a night where you want to come in to relax and have some small bites, Jun’s has you covered. My menu is an ode to the North American Asian food I grew up with, served in a modern format. I have reimagined my favourite dishes and flavours from across the entire continent and tell my story through each of my dishes. This is why you will see Chinese flavour combinations using French techniques that I learned during my time in Belgium, and the opposite too. You’ll find dishes that are considered traditionally European, like Burrata or Rigatoni paired with unusual flavours like mapo. Just in case the food does not convey the message, our team members take storytelling seriously while walking guests through the Jun’s experience.
    Which for you are ‘The Hero Dishes’?
    Honestly, my dishes are just like children… you do not have favourites! Each dish has been crafted with love and passion, respect for the ingredients, and simplicity without gimmicks. However, if I absolutely had to choose, one of our hero dishes would be our famed Rainbow Heirloom Carrots. This is a true third culture cooking dish, inspired by a very American core childhood memory of mine, incorporating Asian flavours and essence. During primary school, my mother fell in love with bagels topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon, which inspired me to recreate that same smoky flavour profile in a vegetarian form. Another hero dish would be our delicious Scallops & Corn. Growing up in Toronto, I spent a lot of my time in the summers picking fresh vegetables, including my favourite, peaches and cream corn. This is a fond memory of mine and is the reason I created this corn dish, paired with fresh Hokkaido Scallop and homemade Yuzu Kosho over crispy sushi rice. Lastly, our Baked Alaska Tiramisu Mochi was inspired by a childhood memory where I befriended two coffee shop owners at a skating rink below my father’s largest restaurant. He would not want me in the way during his service, so I used to visit the ice rink and coffee shop instead, where the owners would gift me hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.
    How has the UAE’s diverse nature contributed to the range of flavours in your dishes?
    The diversity in the city makes it an incredible opportunity to offer a wide range of flavours, textures, and truly push culinary boundaries. There is something for everyone in Dubai and someone in the audience for every type of restaurant. As the food scene in Dubai offers top-quality food and service in every corner of the city, it keeps my team and I motivated to deliver excellence with every experience. There are very few places in the world that cater to such a diverse set of people. With that being said, when creating a menu, I have to ensure we have options for everyone, to allow an inclusive experience for all diners. Every menu offers over 50 per cent vegetarian options while being sensitive and adaptable to allergens like gluten and dietary preferences like vegan. Balancing a menu and dishes to be as creative as possible while also keeping in mind affordability and approachability is a skill I have practiced for years and that is what will keep us in business.

    What’s next on the roadmap for Jun’s?
    We have big dreams, as always, but I have read somewhere that research suggests that telling people about your big goal won’t increase the chance of succeeding at all. On the contrary, the more people you tell, the less likely that you’ll succeed. So, for now, we will keep it under wraps, but will definitely keep you all posted when we are ready!
    This is The Trailblazers Issue – to you, what does it take to be a trailblazer?
    The trailblazer vision may be seen as different or diverging from what the rest of the world is doing but having the courage to continue and push on, is what truly defines being a trailblazer. A trailblazer needs to believe and have unwavering faith in what they are doing. It may not be the easiest path, nor the fastest path, but the person needs the grit and determination to never give up. They may fail and fail again, but to persevere and keep the vision is key to what a trailblazer can achieve. Failure is instrumental to building your character and your empire.
    September – The Trailblazers Issue with Amira Sajwani – Download Now
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
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    Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi on crafting the future


    by Camille Macawili
    2 hours ago

    The arts, language, and her community are all lifelong passions for Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi.
    As Director of SIFF (Sharjah International Film Festival) & FANN (Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children), Her Highness uses her ability to make a difference, here she discusses nurturing the next generation and the individuals who inspired her the most with Emirates Woman.
    What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?
    During the week, my first 30 minutes are always getting ready for school and work (me and my three kids, aged 13, 9 and 5 years old), school drop-offs and quickly sorting through WhatsApp/emails on my phone if ever needed during my daily commute from Dubai to Sharjah.
    As the Director of SIFF & FANN, you’ve participated in the development of the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFF) since 2013 and founded Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children (FANN) in 2012. Can you tell us more about it?
    I remember my first interview and being asked if I could see myself more in training or in a children’s film festival! It was not a difficult choice to make. At that time, I had been working for almost 10 years in the field of children’s education in different positions, and I was and always am a film lover! It was not an easy journey having to start from scratch, but the vision and guidance of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi always led the way, and working in assembling a passionate team who love what they do and believe in it made the journey so worthwhile.
    Since you’ve led these entities, how has it been received?
    The best thing about FANN and SIFF is that they are focused on all things media art. It is never about me taking the helm as I will not always be here, but hopefully, FANN and SIFF will continue to thrive and make a difference. In the end, it’s about the people and giving back to our audience. If there is a continuous influx of creative minds, amazing films, and the development of media arts, this industry will continue to succeed and prosper. Most importantly it is always about Sharjah and the beauty and treasures in it.
    What is the overarching goal?
    I feel there is always more to achieve and more to offer, especially in the education and media industry. We aim for more success and achievements in the near future, whether it be small or on a global scale, it all makes a difference. When we receive positive feedback and appreciation from students, expressing gratitude, not only for the information learnt in the workshop but also for the changes in his/her personality, that is an achievement all on its own. Winning awards on our rebranding is a success. Producing the first sci-fi Arab animation series is a triumph, but we celebrate in the moment and look ahead for bigger and better celebrations.
    What has been the most pivotal moment of your career to date?
    Every year we receive incredible and wonderful feedback from guests, trainers, students, and partners, and that is a pivotal moment for me. It is when we make a difference or create change. Seeing how the team has grown to where we are now is a pivotal moment. Completing ten years is a pivotal moment this year.
    What have been the biggest challenges to date and how did you overcome them?
    Challenges are always there no matter how far you go, every journey has ups and downs. Production was a completely new experience for us at FANN, but we overcame each challenge with an open mind and continued to learn along the way, striving to be better.
    Was there a time you have been on the receiving end of such support from other women, and how did that make you feel?
    Yes, first and foremost Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, and my mother who has been working for more than 40 years and has always supported me. Friends, family, colleagues, and a team who believe in what I do makes me feel appreciated and motivated and I am very grateful to have that support in my life.
    Who have been the female role models in your life and why do you admire them?
    Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi for her years of giving and for her focus on children and women and families, and I am humbled to be working in just a small fraction of all the tremendous work she is heading. My mother is also my role model, I have seen her work since I was a child and the way she acts and deals with situations at home or at work has made me who I am today. I always hear comments that not only do I look like her, but I speak and act like her as well, which makes me very proud.
    How do you make time for yourself daily?
    I am guilty of not making time for myself on a daily basis, but it is my goal to make time for myself because it does reflect on how your day goes (especially at 40 now!) but when I do make time for myself, I like to catch up on some of my favourite series or read.
    This is The Trailblazers Issue – how do you hope to support future trailblazers?
    In making a difference one way or another on a personal or professional level. It’s always nice to be remembered for accomplishments, but also for touching people’s hearts and souls.
    September – The Trailblazers Issue with Amira Sajwani – Download Now
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
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    Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner are the latest couple heading for a divorce in 2023


    by Ruman Baig
    3 hours ago

    2023 isn’t the year of love for celebrities. This morning, news about Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner getting a divorce spread like wild fire.
    The rumours sparked after the former Disney star allegedly met up divorce lawyers and was spotted without his wedding ring on multiple occasions. The couple tied the knot in 2019 and have two daughters together. Joe was the first to initiate this relationship, as he slid into the Game of Thrones actor’s Instagram via Dm’s back in 2016 – the singer and the actor have been together ever since.
    Before this popular couple parted ways, last month, Britney Spears and Sam Asghari also called it quits, adding to another Hollywood couple biting the dust.
    Britney and her husband Sam have separated after 14 months of marriage. The couple tied the knot in June 2022, after Sam popped the question in September 2021. In an intimate ceremony at the pop star’s Thousand Oaks home — the wedding marked a new era in Britney’s life, as she reclaimed power over her life after 13 years of conservatorship.
    Britney and Sam are amongst the many celebrity duos who have decided to go their own way this year. Just a week ago, One Three Hill alumni, Sophia Bush filed for divorce from her husband of a year, Grant Hugh. The Bear famed Jeremy Allen White was also spotted out and about without his wedding ring after rumours about his divorce kept doing the rounds.
    July was a sob-fest as well, from Ariana Grande and Dalton Gomez heading for a divorce to Sophia Vergara and Joe Manganiello ending their marriage over irreconcilable differences – are marriages truly even made in heaven?

    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Instagram @sophiet More

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    An insider’s guide to all the must-visit hotspots in Dubai’s thriving dining scene


    by Sarah Joseph
    24 mins ago

    Dubai is never short of luxe hotspots to dine at.
    By adding to the Emirate’s culinary scene more and more restaurants are opening in Dubai with varied cuisine options.
    For all the new finds, swipe through our editor-approved guide of restaurants and cafés to try in Dubai.
    September – The Trailblazers Issue with Amira Sajwani – Download Now
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
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    UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi returns to earth safely


    by Ruman Baig
    1 hour ago

    The whole of UAE is anticipating the return of one man right now – Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who spent the last six months of his life in space.
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    Making history
    Crew-6’s historic space mission spanned 186 days, marking the longest mission in Arab history. The Dragon capsule safely touched down off the coast of Florida at 8:17 am on a Monday. One hour after the splashdown, Al Neyadi emerged from the Dragon spacecraft.
    Importance of the mission
    During this mission, Al Neyadi achieved significant milestones that enhanced the UAE’s prominence in the global space sector. He completed the longest-ever space mission by an Arab, spending six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and conducting groundbreaking scientific experiments for the benefit of humanity and the scientific community.
    Heroic return
    Throughout the UAE, electronic billboards displayed a countdown to Al Neyadi’s arrival with messages of support, such as ‘Safe Journey, Sultan. Upon his return, Al Neyadi is expected to receive a grand heroic welcome in the UAE, following medical evaluations in the United States.
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Feature Image: Instagram @astro_alneyadi More

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    Travelling to Madird? Skip the typical tourist route to try these untapped experiences


    by Team Emirates Woman
    3 hours ago

    Trailblazing travel: Explore the unbeaten track to discover the untapped experiences that Madrid has to offer.
    The Stay

    Madrid has experienced significant growth in high-end hotels over the past two years, with luxury chains like Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid, Four Seasons Madrid, Rosewood Villa Magna and Thompson Madrid establishing their presence in the city centre. Additionally, Hotel Montera Madrid, Curio Collection by Hilton have also carved a space for themselves. In 2023, more luxury hotels are set to open, including Nobu Hospitality.
    The Dining

    Madrid offers a vibrant gastronomic scene, with Food Hall hosting 11 restaurants specializing in international cuisine, including some run by Michelin-starred chefs. Newrestaurants like Llama Inn, The Omar, and NKO by Eneko Atxa in Barrio de las Letras have garnered attention. Madrid’s municipal market also feature gourmet gems like Tripea and Doppelganger.
    The Hero Experience

    Madrid’s museums are the epitome of its cultural scene. While the Prado, Reina Sofía, and Thyssen-Bornemisza lead the way, several other museums contribute to the city’s diverse cultural offerings. The Gallery of Royal Collections, which recently opened besides the Royal Palace, is showcasing an array of remarkable paintings, decorative arts, weaponry, and historical documents that represent Spain’s extensive and profoundly affluent heritage.
    The Must-try

    In recent years, Madrid has experienceda significant transformation, becoming aprominent and fashionable international destination with a diverse and high-qualityoffering. It possesses all the elements tobecome the preferred shopping destination for global tourists in terms of price and variety. The shopping experience in Madridis truly exceptional, providing a delightful year-round atmosphere for strolls through its streets, where you can find both local artisans as well as high-end shops like Galería Canalejas and El Corte Inglés.
    September – The Trailblazers Issue with Amira Sajwani – Download Now
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Supplied More

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    How I got my job as…Managing Director at The Outnet


    by Ruman Baig
    39 mins ago

    Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
    This week we chat with Emma Mortimer, Managing Director, The Outnet. Emma’s professional journey commenced within the realms of media, with notable roles at esteemed establishments like Hearst Magazines and Haymarket Media Group. However, her career trajectory eventually led her into the world of retail and e-commerce. Prior to her return to THE OUTNET, Emma lent her expertise to brands like and the Arcadia Group, making significant contributions to the launch of The Modist, an e-tailer specializing in modest fashion. Moreover, her tenure as a fashion specialist for the British government’s Department for International Trade underscored her commitment to the industry’s growth.
    At the helm of The Outnet, Emma Mortimer assumes a pivotal role in shaping the brand’s global business trajectory and setting its strategic course. Her purview extends across critical facets of the store’s operation, encompassing everything from procurement and merchandising to commercial trade, brand communications, VIP customer relations, and creative content development. Her mission: is to maintain The Outnet’s esteemed reputation as a premier destination for savvy fashionistas seeking discounted designer treasures from past seasons.
    With two decades of experience straddling the realms of retail and media, Emma brings to the table a profound understanding of the luxury e-commerce landscape. Her leadership is a testament to the fusion of commerce and creativity, a recipe for long-term prosperity in this ever-evolving industry.
    To delve into her role and career, Emirates Woman spoke to her to see how she overcomes challenges and creates a niche for herself in this industry.
    What was your favourite subject at school?
    I studied chemistry, biology, and art & design in my final years at school. It’s safe to say art & design was my favorite subject given my career path in the fashion industry. However, I did appreciate the combination of the arts and science and using both sides of my brain – something that is essential to my role as Managing Director, which calls for both creative and analytical thinking.
    What was your first job?
    I used to work in my family’s fine art shop, helping out during the holidays. Looking back, it was an invaluable experience – from seeing the day-to-day running of a retailer to learning how to connect with the customer.
    Walk us through your role at The Outnet
    I’m lucky to have a wonderfully diverse role. Each day is different, a lot of time is spent reviewing our performance and working with our commercial planning and finance teams. I enjoy continually learning, especially about our customers and their behaviour, analysing updates from our customer insights team along looking at our brand and performance marketing results. I also have oversight across the buying and merchandising teams and love to hear about new brands coming to the site along with exclusive collaborations and capsules. Also, a big part of my role is liaising with our regional GMs, ensuring what we do on a global scale is regionally nuanced and relevant.

    You started your career with media, what made you switch to e-commerce?
    It happened very organically – I was working in production for a mail-order catalogue company that was moving away from printed catalogues into e-commerce at the time. I’m always stimulated by future-facing innovations, and e-commerce is a dynamic and ever-evolving industry.
    Talk us through your daily routine.
    Every day is book-ended with nursery drop off and pick up. I hugely value this time with my daughter, though getting out of the house is a far more drawn-out process these days! I try to partly plan what I’m wearing the night before for speed and ease. I used to do a lot of exercise before having a child, but now it consists of a 20-minute speed walk to the nursery before heading into the office for a day of meetings.
    What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
    It’s less so advice and more the great examples set by my parents. They both worked extremely hard and had incredible ethics. I learnt a huge amount from watching and listening to them growing up. I remember my mum always saying to me ‘Just do your best’, whenever I was being tough on myself, and I try to remember this when things become challenging.
    And what is the worst?
    I honestly can’t think of any, which says a lot about the mentors and role models I’ve been lucky to have in my life. I value positive thinking.
    Can you share some strategies you’ve found effective for fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment?
    Ensuring an open, collaborative, and supportive team culture. I’m extremely proud of THE OUTNET’s culture which we’ve managed to maintain over all the years. It enables anyone who joins the team to feel valued, respected and supported.

    How do you balance your leadership responsibilities with maintaining a healthy work-life integration?
    Fortunately, being in the position I am in, I am able to help lead by example and ensure that we all switch off from work at weekends and spend time with our families and friends. The weekends are when I can take a class at the gym or go swimming with my daughter. I think it’s important she sees me looking after myself, as well as just working and looking after the family. Although, this is far easier said than done!
    What advice do you have for aspiring leaders in terms of building strong professional relationships and networks?
    Be open, show humility and vulnerability – it helps to connect you with your colleagues. Check-in with people; ask how they are and listen to their responses. This builds strong-rooted relationships. Keep in contact. Always be respectful, and kind and help people without an agenda. Paths often cross and you may find someone helps you out in a similar way in the future.
    How do you see the role of technology evolving in your industry, and how are you adapting your leadership style to those changes?
    Having the ability to access so much is a real positive. We work in a fast-paced business reacting to an ever-changing landscape. Data really helps to support decisions for a stronger customer perspective and for our business strategy. As a leader reacting to these changes has helped me become nimbler and more adaptable, whilst always having the data to support thought processes and make informed decisions.
    Can you discuss the most impactful decision you’ve made as a managing director and the results it brought about?
    For me, it always comes back to the people – deciding how to nurture and support our talent. This involves stretching and challenging teams with greater responsibility and opportunities. In turn, it motivates, develops, and helps to retain knowledge and talent, which leads to greater success and results.
    In your experience, what qualities or skills have been most crucial in your journey to becoming successful?
    Learning fast, adapting and being flexible to change. Alongside being a team player. I always remember the proverb ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’
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