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40 under 40: No. 28 – Faysal Abdul Malak

40 under 40 2019

40 under 40: No. 28 – Faysal Abdul Malak

Faysal Abdul Malak, general manager, Wunderman Dubai

Wunderman veteran Faysal Abdul Malak started his career with the agency back in 2004 when he joined as an account executive. Over the last 10+ years, he has worked and led on multiple agency fronts, working with multinational brands across all major industries such as pharma, automotive, FMCG, retail, tech, and government, growing to general manager of the agency’s Dubai office in 2015. His driving force is the energy of the day-to-day interactions with clients and teams. Outside of work, he enjoys being fit and staying active in outdoor sports such as hiking, football and crossfit training.

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

During a conversation with a friend, while I was venting about a situation, he turns to me and says, “Will this matter to you a year from now? If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.” This statement really resonated and since then I try not to let everyday incidents affect me.

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

Active listening sounds simple and irrelevant but it is actually hard and very relevant.

One of the best leadership courses I ever attended was a three-day workshop focused on this one topic. Many of us listen in order to respond – not to understand. This leads to mistrust and misunderstanding that negatively impacts a relationship whether professional or personal.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?

Seeing everyone at the agency get rewarded and then celebrate. The satisfaction is tremendous when so many people work hard together and then WIN.

What’s the most frustrating thing about your job?

It’s frustrating sometimes to see so many people put their heart and soul in the work only to realize at the end it was in vain.

If not this, what would you be doing?

I would have been a fighter pilot in another lifetime. I have this unexplained and mysterious passion for airplanes.   

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

I would travel to new places a lot more and maybe even fly myself along with my family in our very own little plane.

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

This industry is so dynamic and has such a strong purpose. It is one of the few industries where you get to work every day with so many passionate and creatively talented people. I have always said, as have many others, this industry either fuels you or kills you. You work hard, but it is enjoyable and if your heart is in it, then you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else.

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