I am honored to be with you today at Jumeirah College talking to the young generation who will be leaders in the coming years. I remember the day when I graduated from college. All I had was a dream, a dream to bring the world best fashion brands from the west into the Middle East Market.

Every journey has to start somewhere. Mine started from right here, it does not matter where you begin, what matters is where you end up. In my desire of becoming the number 1 global retailer, I knew I had to cross all barriers and create fresh benchmarks in this region for the retail industry. Everyone can be successful; thankfully success is not a copyright.


Before we set out do to anything in life, we need to be able to see it. Living without a vision is like driving without a destination. You may have a great car, the best GPS system but you still wont get to anywhere. In life, your education is your fuel and your attitude is the GPS that will guide you to your destination, to your vision.

Before you fall asleep tonight, ask yourself, where do I want to be in 10 years? Do this every night, till you have clarity. Once your vision is clear you can set up yearly, monthly or even daily goals in order get there

Believe that you can!

“You cant get Tim Horton’s out of North America” “Its recession, you cant think of growing your business now” These are just a couple of examples from the thousands of times that I’ve been told I ‘cant do’ something.

In your case people may say to you “You cant play basketball because you are too short” or “Your math is just not good enough for engineering” The worst part is that these ‘Cant statements’ are often made by people who are smarter or older than you. While there may be wisdom in some of these, the world is full of heroes that have done what they were told they cant.

Look at the leaders in any sphere. Right from Steve Jobs to Barrack Obama, they’re all where they are because they didn’t stop when people told them:

“You cant!”

How many of you own ipads or iphones?

Do you know Steve Jobs was once fired from the very company he created?

Imagine if the Wright brothers had stopped when they were told that man will never fly. Imagine if HH Sheikh Mohammed had stopped when he was told that he cant bring prosperity to a desolate desert.

Don’t misunderstand the people who tell you, that you cant, let their doubts sour you on because every great achievement was once considered impossible


Once you find what you believe in, the key is to FOCUS on it. Nothing else but your goal should matter. Don’t worry about criticism or ‘well wishers’ who tell you to play safe. Go all out; give it your 100%. The difference between a successful person and a mediocre one is that a mediocre person is distracted. Unfortunately your generation has more distractions than any of us did. You have television, cell phones, BBMs, Facebook and many more. How many hours a day do you think Mark Zuckerberg spent chatting with friends on AOL or MSN when he was trying to create Facebook? He and his team have been known to work without breaks for more than 36 hours.

Remember, followers are distracted by every new trend while leaders single mindedly create their own success

Learn from failure

Failure is only a tool or a lesson we need to learn before we get to success.

Abraham Lincoln is supposed to have said:

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

Failure can either break us or make us. Those broken by failure are

haunted by unpleasant memories. They are convinced that they cannot do it;

therefore, they will not try.

History has been kind to President Abraham Lincoln. He has been

painted as probably the greatest president of the United States of

America but do you know how many times he failed?

These failures could not stop him, he kept moving forward. I have with me a list of his faliures and successes:

In 1831 – Failed in business

1832 – Defeated for legislature

1833 – Again failed in business

1834 – Elected to legislature

1838 – Defeated for speaker

1840 – Defeated for elector

1843 – Defeated for Congress

1846 – Elected for Congress

1848 – Defeated for Congress

1855 – Defeated for Senate

1856 – Defeated for Vice-President

1858 – Defeated for Senate


He was defeated more times than he won, but that did not mean he was a

Failure. Remember, that failures are only permanent if we stop trying.

I believe the only real failure is the failure not to move on.

So no matter what bricks life throws at you, keep moving. Keep moving till you get to your vision