REDEFINING BUSINESS AS USUAL
Operating at the nexus between technology and humanity, Deborah believes we need to get smarter on who/what we’re backing and a better way of doing business. She has a particular interest in the utilisation of technology such as Blockchain and AI.
Known for her ability to spot potential and connect the right people, Deborah enables investors to back founders worth funding. Her unique approach peels back the layers on the people behind the technology, and the potential impact of what they’re building. Key to this is the AMANI™ protocol – a framework she developed after spotting a pattern between teams that make it and those that don’t, and the impact business practices have on society and our future.
Deborah is a frequent speaker and engaging moderator at conferences, exploring a variety of topics including entrepreneurs, innovation and technology for good.
Based in Dubai, Deborah supports initiatives developing the pipeline of women from the schoolroom to the boardroom. She is also a mentor at Sheraa, the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre and engages with the next generation of leaders, thinkers and doers at university campuses, accelerators and startup weekends.
The story behind AMANI™
WISHES and ASPIRATIONS in ARABIC – PEACE and HARMONY in SWAHILI, AMANI is more than a name. It represents a multicultural outlook and better way of doing business.
Previously in Executive Search, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing brilliant people every day. Amidst a ‘war for talent’, I didn’t experience a shortage of talent. What I found was a shortage of great companies that deserved great talent. I didn’t appreciate the urgent need to address this until I received a link to water poverty. There was a water privatisation deal where the tariffs set were too high for some members of the community to afford. The result? The water supply was cut off. One of the consequences? Little girls being bullied and teased at school for being dirty. What confounded me? The company leading the transaction had a link on their website to CSR (corporate social responsibility). I ask you, how can a company’s business practices cause harm but they have a department ‘to do good’?
Many companies have compelling mission statements, well-articulated values and CSR initiatives. But what truly matters is what a company and its people do in practice.
It got me thinking about the people leading the transaction and the company’s strategy and modus operandi. Having interviewed many Investment Bankers, I knew that none of the ones I helped my clients hire would ever have been so short-sighted, so irresponsible. Moreover, my clients would never have accepted them.
So what was creating this? How was business impacting society? How can we improve things? I explored water poverty – what’s causing it, who it’s impacting and what needs to be done to solve it. I was saddened by what I found, from questionable policies and poor principles to bad practices, misaligned performance metrics and poor decisions. The crux of it all? People and organisations – their collective mindset and motivations, their actions and inactions.
But I also found some great companies with incredible people doing a lot of good. These weren’t charities. They were profitable commercial entities (including banks). I studied these companies and profiled their people. The findings were extraordinary. These companies and their people gelled and excelled. They were principled and profitable. They are companies worth emulating and are the cornerstone of the AMANI™ protocol.
Learn more about AMANI™ and how it can help you be your best – in your life, in your business and in the world at large.
Curiosity AND Creativity
A sense of curiosity is the hallmark of Deborah’s thinking. She explores the how and why of things, especially systems and people. But it doesn’t stop there. Challenging the status quo she asks ‘is there a better way‘ and if so, how?
Innovation and INSPIRATION
Deborah approaches matters like puzzles that need to be solved. With a sense of playfulness she challenges mindsets and perspectives, and helps people persevere through the most challenging circumstances.
Learning and Legacy
Deborah brings a sense of perspective and balance to the work one does. She instils the importance of acknowledging the blessings we have been given, the lessons we have learned and being a positive influence in the lives of others.