My name is Ally Salama. I'm 25 & my purpose is to make empathy go viral. Today, I'm recognized as a global youth leader, Forbes 30 Under 30, WHO, UN & MIT Keynote Speaker & the Middle East & North Africa's Mental Health Ambassador. My journey to founding my startup, EMPWR, started in 2019, as a Mental Health Magazine, winning Harvard's Top 7 Most Impactful Social Initiatives and earning recognition from the WHO. The rest is history.This podcast aims to share my weekly journey & lessons on Self-Care, Youth Leadership & Entrepreneurship. New episodes every Tuesday. Please rate & review the podcast if you enjoy it! In life & in business Empathy Always Wins.
#74. Building a Unicorn with Philip Johnston
Philip is passionate about helping e-commerce entrepreneurs realize the full value of their brands. He is the co-founder and co-CEO of Opontia, the only digital-first consumer goods group in EEMEA. Opontia was one of the fastest companies in MENA to raise over 40 million dollars in under 9 months. The company was featured as #12 on the Forbes Top 50 Most Funded Startups list in 2021. Prior to founding Opontia, Philip worked for 2 years at McKinsey in their Dubai office on e-commerce strategy, private equity, and post-merger integration. He also spent 2 years working in venture capital across Africa and 5 years in banking between London, Singapore, and New York. He holds an MPA from Harvard University, an MBA from The Wharton School, an MA in Mathematics from Columbia University, and is a CFA Charterholder. In this episode, Philip shares with us his journey of founding Opontia by reflecting on his past and present.Key Timestamps:- [00:46] Introducing Philip and Opontia- [03:10] Philip’s Educational Investment- [06:40] Opontia Launch- [10:25] The Founding Team- [12:10] Breaking Records - [14:20] What VCs Look For- [15:40] Leading in Chaos- [19:10] Startups, Governance, and Leadership- [23:00] Fire RoundKey Quotes from Philip Johnston:- “Your chance of founding a unicorn if you do go to an ivy league is 500 times higher”- “I looked at all the companies which produce the highest number of unicorn founders”- “It took a week to raise $3.5M in seed from scratch with no deck or model”- “You should be looking for the idea that best fits with your founding teams’ skill set”- “You need either an extremely credible founding team or a lot of convincing traction”- “Leadership is a choice; anyone can be a leader if they decide to be”---About Ally Salama:Forbes 30 Under 30:https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/lists/30-under-30-2021/ally-salama/ Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/allysalama/Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/allysalama/Twitter:https://twitter.com/allysalamaAbout Philip Johnston:Website:https://opontia.com/LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnstonphilip/TechCrunch:https://techcrunch.com/2021/12/08/opontia-gets-42m-to-buy-more-e-commerce-brands-in-eastern-europe-middle-east-and-africa/---Support the show by dropping us a rating and review!©Ally Salama 2022 | Produced by https://www.empwrhouse.com/ ( EMPWR House)
#73. Disrupting Education and Leading the Way with Khalid Abou Kassem
Khalid has a passion for breaking things and moving fast. He is an experienced entrepreneur reshaping the tutoring industry in the Middle East. Khalid founded AlGooru in 2018, after just graduating from his business bachelor’s degree, raising over 2 million dollars in seed investments to date and his startup was recently recognized as the “EduTech Business of the Year” during UAE’s regional SME Awards for 2022-2023. He is currently leading a team of over 50 employees across various locations and connecting learners to private tutors for over 200 subjects. In this episode, Khalid shares his learning outcomes in entrepreneurship and growth as a leader in this industry. Key Timestamps:- [00:55] Introducing Khalid and Al Gooru- [02:40] Joining Accelerators- [05:10] Entering the Competitive Tech Industry and Start up Launch- [10:28] Value Proposition of Al Gooru- 13:40] Leadership Methods - [15:45] Common Challenges Faced - [18:50] Fire RoundKey Quotes from Khalid Abou Kassem:- “You can’t learn the ABCs of launching a startup all alone”- “Stay as humble as possible”- “I am still making mistakes and I am still learning”- “Armor yourself with enough references and resources before launching a venture”- “Starting a business is like jumping off a cliff and then building an airplane while jumping off”- “We stride as talented owners”---About Ally SalamaForbes 30 Under 30:https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/lists/30-under-30-2021/ally-salama/ Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/allysalama/Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/allysalama/Twitter: https://twitter.com/allysalamaAbout Khalid Abou Kassem:Website:https://algooru.com/LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/khalidwak/Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSupport the show by dropping us a rating and review on Apple Podcast!©Ally Salama 2022 | Produced by EMPWR House
#72. Unlocking AI Education in MENA with Christophe Zoghbi
Christophe Zoghbi is an experienced software engineer and entrepreneur focused on building the Artificial Intelligence (AI) ecosystem and democratizing AI education in MENA. Chris founded Beirut AI in 2017 which grew to become the largest applied AI community in Lebanon, and enables participants to explore impacts of AI, explore employment opportunities, engage with others, and develop projects. To take things to the next level and on a broader scale outside Lebanon, Chris founded Zaka in 2019, providing AI bootcamps and certifications taught by industry leaders to accelerate one's career or business in AI. In this episode, Christophe discusses his take on AI and the future of AI in the region as well as tackling internal and external challenges.Key Timestamps:- [00:30] Introducing Chris and the Power of Data- [03:00] Tackling Industry Challenges in the Region- [04:55] Why do we need AI?- [07:58] Creating an Environment where your Team can Thrive in an Unstable Country- [11:45] Driving Emotional Intelligence in AI and the future of AI- [18:00] Will Arabs use AI Chat-bots?- [21:30] Fire RoundKey Quotes from Christophe Zoghbi:- “People need to understand what AI really is”- “The first thing we had to is educate the market”- “Get the right people who believe in that mission to be part of your team”- “There is no environment that is free of challenges but it's about the mentality and the approach”- “You can think of AI as the next version of software, it's actually software 2.0”- “AI allows me and the product developer to customize the experience for very user”- “AI is not something to be afraid of it's actually going to elevate our lives”---About Ally SalamaForbes 30 Under 30:https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/lists/30-under-30-2021/ally-salama/ Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/allysalama/Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/allysalama/Twitter: https://twitter.com/allysalamaAbout Christophe Zoghbi:Website:https://zaka.ai/LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/christophezoghbi/?originalSubdomain=lbInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/zaka.ai/?hl=en---Support the show by dropping us a rating and review!©Ally Salama 2022 | Produced by EMPWR House
#71. A LAZE Lifestyle with Saadallah Sarkis
Saadallah Sarkis is an entrepreneur and strategy consultant focused on building a people-centric venture and culture. His experience in Strategy& across clients in the MENA region, has enabled him with the needed skill-set to launch LAZE, a global rolling papers brand with a community invested in art, creativity, and entrepreneurship. In this episode, Saadallah discusses his story in launching the disruptive “People Beyond Papers” brand and encourages young aspiring entrepreneurs in taking the leap. Key Timestamps:- [00:35] Who is Saadallah and What is LAZE?- [04:25] Why People Beyond Papers?- [11:36] Working with Friends and Style of Leadership- [17:40] What do you do to handle that level of stress of entrepreneurship?- [28:00] What would you advise people who want to start a business?Key Quotes from Saadallah Sarkis:- “Who said that the brand should be owned by just one person?”- “A unique brand developed and created by a global pool of people, we never saw this model before”- “Don’t fear about exploring any stereotype” - “Perception to entrepreneurship is still outdated”- “Whenever I want to know about a topic, I prefer to go to an expert of this topic”---About Ally SalamaForbes 30 Under 30:https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/lists/30-under-30-2021/ally-salama/Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/allysalama/\Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/allysalama/Twitter: https://twitter.com/allysalamaAbout Saadallah Sarkis:Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/laze.ltd/?hl=enLinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/saadallah-sarkis-babab4165/---Support the show by dropping us a rating and review!©Ally Salama 2022 | Produced by EMPWR House
#70. The Secrets of Microdosing with Peggy Van de Plassche
Peggy Van de Plassche is an author and international speaker focused on microdosing for mental health and personal transformation. In her memoir, “Paris, Mushrooms, and Me” as well as her speaking engagements, she shares her experience from being a banker and venture capitalist for 20 years in the financial services and technology industries, as an executive, investor, board member, and entrepreneur to becoming an author of narrative non-fiction. Her audience acquires a first-hand understanding of her transformation process and the role microdosing psychedelics has played in giving her a new lease on life.Key Timestamps:- [01:00] Introducing Peggy- [02:30] Diving into Microdosing- [06:00] Paris, Mushrooms, and Me- [09:00] Getting Past the Fear of Uncertainty- [12:00] Knowing the When- [13:58] Peggy’s Truth- [17:12] Is Microdosing for Everybody?- [19:30] Trends in Microdosing- [21:16] Peggy’s Secret Sauce- [23:56] Fire RoundKey Quotes from Peggy Van de Plassche:- “I had a very successful career but it was not me”- “Being aware of doing the right thing instead of just what you’re told”- “I see people from all ages, different genders, different backgrounds, being very interested with that”- “Microdosing is taking 5-10% of a dose that someone takes for a trip”- “I should live my life for myself and not to please others”---About Ally Salama:Forbes 30 Under 30:https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/lists/30-under-30-2021/ally-salama/ Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/allysalama/Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/allysalama/Twitter: https://twitter.com/allysalamaAbout Peggy Van de Plassche:Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/@PeggyVandePlasscheLinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/peggy-van-de-plasscheWebsite: https://peggyvandeplassche.com/---Support the show by dropping us a rating and review!©Ally Salama 2022 | Produced by https://www.empwrhouse.com/ ( EMPWR House)
#69. The Real Magic Behind Being Kind to Yourself with Jasmine Navarro
Jasmine Navarro is an award-winning family & youth coach, the author of the creative confidence program, and the founder of Nava, a coaching company focused on helping teenagers and adults flourish. Jasmine is on a mission to teach the key tools and techniques that prepare teens and adults to manage the pressures of modern life. She considers her international career in education a great influence on her work today, and is wary of the challenges youth are undergoing today, especially from the over-exposure to social media. Jasmine delivers various workshops to companies and educational institutions with an emphasis on supporting family wellbeing and equipping participants with preventive tools.Key Timestamps:- [02:32] “What impacts adolescence in our times today that are overlooked?”- [05:06] “How has technology changed the scenario that youth experienced from a hardship perspective?”- [07:01] “The struggles are one”- [09:13] Looking backward- [10:59] Mental health in the region- [14:49] Fire RoundKey Quotes from Jasmine Navarro:- “We are now more aware of mental health problems but they have always been there”- “Perfection doesn’t exist”- “You are not your thoughts, and when you realize that it sets you free”- “Appreciate now - Living in the now”---About Ally SalamaForbes 30 Under 30:https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/lists/30-under-30-2021/ally-salama/Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/allysalama/Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/allysalama/Twitter: https://twitter.com/allysalamaAbout Jasmine Navarro:Entrepreneur:https://www.entrepreneur.com/author/jasmine-navarroLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasmine-navarro/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/withnava/?hl=enWebsite: https://www.withnava.com---Support the show by dropping us a rating and review!©Ally Salama 2022 | Produced by Produced by EMPWR House.
I think the most important skill of the 21st century is leadership. And no ones is teaching it to young people better than Ally Salama. Start with your heart, do the right thing, love your neighbours... his message is pure and I couldn’t be more excited to tune into the show!
Worth the listen.
Ally’s choice in bringing world class guests speaks at the level of quality his content is on leadership and mental health!
Empathy always wins
Ally offers unique insight on how we think and approach things, and it’s refreshing listening to his content!