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40 under 40: No. 23 – Maya Bou Ajram

40 under 40 2019

40 under 40: No. 23 – Maya Bou Ajram

Maya Bou Ajram, business unit director, OMD UAE

Maya Bou Ajram started her career at the network’s Dubai office to grow PepsiCo and Kellogg’s business. She later relocated to Lebanon to lead the office’s strategic output in Levant. There, she expanded her client remit to include brands across multiple sectors, such as Henkel, Danone, Blom Bank, VW Group and Gezairi Transport.

She returned to the Dubai office in 2014 as the lead on OMD’s luxury unit, where she now marries her integrated marketing and communications experience with a deep understanding of the luxury category to provide a strategic outlook for LVMH’s portfolio across the MENA region.

What’s the best advice you have received in your career?

My manager always used to remind me that “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”… I believe that was and will always be the key contributor to my career growth.

What’s the best advice you have given in your career?

Get out of your comfort zone!

What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?

Knowing that not one day is like the next. I’ve been in media for the past 14 years and still each day presents its own set of challenges and opportunities. Each day is a chance to learn more, give more and hopefully inspire and make a positive impact.

What’s the most frustrating thing about your job?

The fact that great work sometimes doesn’t see the light of day.

If not this, what would you be doing?

Opening my own events company for kids. Except that the children would be my little helpers and would bake their own cake, do their own decorations and really participate in planning their key moments. I feel that the joy of preparation and being creative is undervalued. We need to go back to basics and make it real.

If you had ten million dollars, what would you do?

Apart from investing what I would need to allow myself and my family to live comfortably, I would establish a pay it forward scholarship program in education. The essence of it would be to encourage scholarship recipients to pay it forward to others through giving them the same opportunity they received themselves.

Finally, why are you (still) in this industry?

We are at a tipping point where the agencies’ role is being redefined and I hope to be a key contributor to this change.

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