Q&A with Tamara Bou zein eddine
Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Tamara Bou zein eddine, Project Manager @ Bank of Beirut
How could you describe your career path in a few words?
My career path is a promising journey of value. After graduating from Notre Dame University with a bachelor’s in Computer and Communication engineering, I cherished the opportunity of joining the E-learning Team at the American University of Beirut IT department for two years. Belonging to a team that trusted my potential and working with professors and students built a solid foundation in my organizational work and communication skills. After AUB, I joined Bank of Beirut as a junior project manager for IT and business-related projects. It was an exciting step to perceive a new experience and a different culture. As my experience accumulated, I got promoted at the bank that supported me in developing project management skills and gaining the Project Management Professional certificate from PMI within five years. The beautiful finding was that my life and work experiences mirrored each other. I discovered that I am a project whose presence may be of value to the world or not and my actions are the deliverables. At the same time, I manage projects that are aligned with the institution’s strategy that I work for. Either way, my role is to be a servant leader in removing impediments and delivering value.
My next steps include becoming a certified agile practitioner by 2023 and earning master’s degree in business administration from ESA business school by 2023.
What was your most challenging experience, and it has changed your mindset?
Back in 2007, when I was 15 years old, I got accepted to participate in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program. I spent one academic year in Florida and lived with an American host family. The experience was actually mesmerizing. I acquired several skills, learned about the U.S. society and values, and served as a youth ambassador for my country.
Being the youngest in the family and travelling for the first time in my life to the U.S. was the most challenging experience for me on all levels:
leaving the family, friends and community and living with a host family
Being a good example in representing my country
Overcoming the cultural shock and enjoying the experience
Being responsible for managing my pocket money
Joining an American high school with 5000 students
The above challenges gradually wiped out with the supporting directives provided by the program personnel in Lebanon and the U.S., my Lebanese and American host families, and the actual high school that I joined abroad.
My experience in the U.S. taught me how to be a responsible person, enriched my leadership and communication skills, and most importantly amplified the importance of perceiving volunteerism and community service in my life. Hence, in 2008, after coming back to Lebanon, I joined several NGOs where I became either an active volunteer or a board member.
When you get surprised by unusual or uncertain contexts, what do you think/do?
I believe the unusual or uncertain context can have several façades. Whether it is within a professional or social frame, the first thing I do is ensuring that I respect myself and the people engaged. I also try to practice emotional intelligence while reflecting upon what I have perceived in lights of my identity, values and ethics. In case I am illiterate about the topic at hand, I try to do some research and ask others about some insights so that I can provide my feedback where applicable. Otherwise, I professionally deliver my rational or opinion.
The most important outcome of confronting an unusual or uncertain context is to check if it has any advantage and add it to the list of learning opportunities for one’s own action items with a comment for those who have the potential for further research and exploration.
Based on your experience, what are some of the key success factors for a female entrepreneur or a female leader/manager?
A female leader, manager, or entrepreneur requires a clear vision, discipline, courage, and self-confidence. In addition to walking the talk of being responsible, down-to-earth, and passionate about the job being done. When I started my career path, excitement and intimidation were there, despite my experience in handling several community service projects with diverse cultures. The learning process took some time, but the moment I valued the skills that I have and believed in my own potential, I knew what I want in life, I had a vision that being happy is my objective for every work I do, and I want to get rid of worries, fear, and intimidation. Step by step, self-confidence was gained and out of nowhere tasks started to increase and my respective managers further supported me and were my mentors. At the same time, I was responsible enough to excel in my assigned tasks and to admit my mistakes throughout the process. Self-critique is crucial in exploring areas for potential improvement.
As for entrepreneurship, being the assistant leader in our Family start-up business called Moon Essence that offers products in Lebanese Mouneh, Olive-oil soap, and plants taught me the following:
If you have the idea, but you are not sure how to develop it into a business, ask for help and do your research. For example, we applied and got supported by the Women Economic Participation program in North and Mount Lebanon funded by the Government of Canada and implemented in partnership with the United Nations Development Program and René Moawad Foundation (RMF). The program provided us with training and coaching sessions and an in-kind grant. This was a positive turning point for our business.
Resilience and patience are important. Several impediments will come across the way and you will receive the real and fake criticism. Make sure to know how to differentiate between both and take the right actions. No one has promised us an easy life. Therefore, it is important to use emotional intelligence in dealing with all kinds of people and problems.
Discipline in every detail is a cornerstone for your business success. Authenticity starts from being organized at production level all the way to the follow-up that you do with your customers.
At last, always ask yourself: Why do I want to take this action and never seize to take opportunities on board while weighing their calculated risks and considering the value of their impact.