Muna Al Gurg is the Director of Retail at Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group. She is a businesswoman, a philanthropist, and a prominent advocate for the role of women and business in the Gulf Region. In this discussion, Muna speaks to Badr Jafar, Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, about philanthropy in the Middle East and her advice to youth aspiring to work in this field.Also available on YouTube. Follow the link below:https://youtu.be/RUIqwnITZGI
Muna Easa Al Gurg is the Director of Retail of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, a multidivisional conglomerate with 27 companies. The Group is active in several industry sectors that include retail, building and construction, industrial, real estate and joint ventures.Since 2008, Al Gurg has been Chairwoman of Young Arab Leaders UAE, where she promotes education, entrepreneurship and youth development.Al Gurg has been advocating a greater role for women in business. In 2015 she launched the Muna Al Gurg Scholarship at London Business School, supporting female students studying in the school’s MBA and Executive MBA programme.Al Gurg is on the board of several non-profit organisations, such as the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development where she works closely with its Chairman, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Charity Foundation, she is responsible for strategy and initiatives both in the UAE and internationally. She is a member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sustainability Board, which is mandated to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to refugees in the MENA region. Finally, she is a founding board member of Endeavor UAE, a non-profit organisation promoting high-impact entrepreneurship in emerging and growth markets.Muna Al Gurg is an active investor; one of her most publicized successes was the $3.1 billion exit from the Middle East's largest technology startup Careem which was acquired by Uber in March 2019. Al Gurg was one of the only female investors and the sole Emirati.She started her career with Saatchi & Saatchi in Dubai, and consequently joined the family business in 2001. She holds an MBA from London Business School in the UK and is also a Fellow of the Middle East Leadership Initiative of The Aspen Institute.Enjoy the show!Show Notes:01:45 - Muna’s background and growing up in Deira.3:45 - The Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group’s wide-ranging portfolio of companies.5:00 - Becoming the head of retail during the last recession.6:45 - Having a presence online and dealing with the current Pandemic8:45 - Being part of the UN Refugees Sustainability Board10:45 - Her learnings from Saatchi & Saatchi12:15 - Expressing herself on her blog and writing for Gulf News16:15 - Her ‘baby project’ in Zanzibar.18:45 - About the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Foundation and various initiatives it supports.20:15 - The Young Arab Leaders network.21:45 - The launching of Young Arab Leaders at the Dead Sea.22:15 - Young Arab Leaders’ Power Lunches and meeting prominent figures.24:15 - Giving back to the community as a YAL member and impacting the youth of the region.25:45 - The role of mentorship in a youth’s learning.26:30 - The learnings and ‘mentorship’ she received from her own father.27:15 - Her tea party at Buckingham Palace.28:45 - Being a Founding Member of Endeavor UAE.30:00 - “It’s a small world”31:15 - The need for entrepreneurs to solve problems that aren’t as capitally intensive in the current climate.33:30 - Her mentor at the time when she got started.36:15 - “Change begins with you”.39:15 - The Acumen Academy and it’s global network of fellows creating a domino effect of impact.40:45 - Her travels exploring the continent of Africa.41:30 - Her weekend passion at Al Serkal Avenue and Jameel Arts Centre.43:00 - Muna’s wish for the UAE to become a leader in Intellectual Property and Research.44:30 - How to make it happen by supporting the growing talent within local institutions and by having the private sector contribute.47:00 - Muna’s advice on envisioning your end goals. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Muna Al Gurg on Leadership in a Large Family Business
When Women Win
Muna sits on too many boards to list here so I’ll just mention a few: Along with her two sisters, Muna sits on the board of the family business founded by their father; she is the Chair of ìYoung Arab Leaders – a non-profit organisation that promotes education, entrepreneurship and youth development; and she is a founding board member and Co-Chair of Endeavor UAE, a non-profit organisation that promotes high-impact entrepreneurship in emerging and growth markets. Her first seat on a board of directors was in the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre, where she served from 2004 to 2009, helping build the cultural center. She started her career in Dubai with Saatchi & Saatchi and in 2001 Muna joined Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, as director of marketing and communications. Since 2009, she has been director of retail, responsible for strategy and operational development for the group’s international and local retail brands. Muna is an advocate for women in business. Within the family business she started the Al Gurg Women’s Empowerment Forum, a program providing a platform for women to voice their opinions to company board members. In 2015 she launched the Muna Al Gurg Scholarship at London Business School, supporting female students studying on the school’s MBA and Executive MBA program. In June 2010, Muna received the prestigious Emirates Women’s Award for outstanding achievers. We discussed Muna’s career path from Saatchi & Saatchi to the family business; the enormous risks associated with the third generation of leadership and how to mitigate them, the pluses and minuses of working with family, and tips on conflict avoidance and resolution. We also talked about how her drive for self-improvement has shaped her path in both business and philanthropy, and how she manages the overwhelm. Muna is an advocate for women in business, and we discussed her MBA scholarship fund and how to get more women into leadership positions. My favorite quote was “Never over-promise and underdeliver.” You can find Muna on Twitter @MunaAlGurg and LinkedIn. Please forgive the banging you’ll hear towards the end of the show – there was some construction work next to the studio!