A Dream Transformed

Article by:
Hazel Jackson, EO UAE
Hazel Jackson

Hazel Jackson of EO U.A.E. is Founder and Managing Director of Dubai-based Biz-Ability F2 LLC, a human resources solutions consultancy. Hazel is currently Vice President of EO U.A.E. and has served in the past as the chapter’s Education Chair and Chair of Dubai University. She will be chairing the GLC in Dubai, 17-19 May 2007.

My desire to take center stage and communicate was first witnessed at the tender age of 5. Armed with a blackboard and freshly learned skills at nursery, I took it upon myself to spread my knowledge with some of the less fortunate children in Lusaka, Zambia. My parents had told me that I was very lucky to go to school, as some families needed to select which of their children could attend school due to restrictions. I thought it was unfair that they could not go, and I was soon found "holding court" surrounded by a quiet circle of kids of varying ages.

Later, this confidence was translated into school plays, as I developed my dream to be a famous actress. This dream grew until I was 16, when we moved back to England and I met my first entrepreneur. I was blown away by how exciting his life was and what he’d achieved by starting and growing businesses.

In the space of a few weeks (or possibly days) my dreams changed, and I announced to my parents that I was no longer going to be a famous actress, but a famous business woman. I couldn’t quite lose the "famous" bit!

After a very unglamorous start in classified telesales and various other sales-related roles, I started working in the advertising industry in London. In 1992, I was offered the chance to launch a product for a client in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. "Where’s that?" I remember asking 15 years ago. Little did I realize that this majestic city would be the launch pad for my dreams.

Even though Dubai was little more than 30 years old, as a city it was inspirational. I just knew this was where I could make my mark, start my business, become famous!

I ran out of excuses for the London agency to keep flying me back to Dubai, so I made a life changing decision: I resigned, wished farewell to my friends and family and headed back out to Dubai to live my dream, all in the space of two weeks. I was afraid if I hung around too long people would SNIOP me (it means becoming Susceptible to the Negative Influences of Other People), especially as they kept reminding me I had no money, no business idea or plan and nowhere to live!

In order to live the dream, I needed to start it, but I still didn’t know what I was going to do. My business was shaped by a challenge I received from a prominent businessman in Dubai who owned the daily English newspaper. I confidently announced I could significantly improve his classifieds team and their sales results. He accepted and I delivered my first training program. I’d come around full circle – "holding court" with a team of brilliant ladies eager to learn the art of telephone sales.

The results were hugely successful (despite the atrocious spelling in my first training manuals!), so my business was born: delivering motivational and sales training to corporate clients. Over the last 15 years, it has grown from one naïve but enthusiastic person to a brilliant team of over 35 professionals with offices in Dubai and Bahrain, an impressive list of blue chip clients and a range of consulting and training services.

I live my dream every day, owning my business, growing people and chipping away at becoming famous!

I look forward to meeting you at the EO Tokyo University and Global Leadership Conference (GLC) in Dubai next year. If you know who I am, I’m on my way to making my dream of fame a reality!

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