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Nasab has fast become the most coveted spot in Dubai for those searching for an inspiring hub to work and create. With a tough entry process – including no to selfie takers and yes to individuals and companies who add to Nasab’s community vibe – Ruthie Qadan, Communications Director of Nasab, knows exactly how to build a stimulating and thought provoking space.
Born and raised in Australia, Ruthie moved to Dubai in 2008 and has since led marketing strategies for leading brands under both Al Tayer and the Chalhoub Group. In 2016 she joined Emirati developer Mohammed Zaal in conceiving the home grown KOA Canvas, including exclusive members club Nasab.
What was your favourite subject at school?
I always enjoyed English. I am a bit of a bookworm to this day, so I loved being exposed different genres and authors. I could basically recite Romeo & Juliet at one point.
What was your first job?
In the Marketing team at Esprit Retail at the head office in Sydney. I have really great memories from my time there. They have a really vibrant and supportive company culture. I was really lucky to have such a good introduction to the professional world. It set some high expectations in terms of employer – which have definitely been met during my time at KOA and Nasab.
How tricky is to create a “members only” concept in Dubai?
There are misconceptions with the “members only” terminology. The initial assumption is often one of elitism and social hierarchy which is absolutely not the case when it comes to Nasab. When we were building the Nasab concept, we decided to go down the members only, application-based route to ensure we could curate a community that was really likeminded, that would truly connect, collaborate and feed off of each other. It was about creating value for our members through giving them opportunities for meaningful associations that lead to better work. It’s been an education process for the local market, but we are finding that our members understand it and really appreciate this approach.
What are the key elements of your role at Nasab?
My job is to define the strategic marketing direction for Nasab – how we spread our mission and reach the right people. I work with an incredible team to look after “always on” activities, like our social media aesthetic and tone of voice, PR and media strategy and our community management direction – how we engage with our members on a day to day basis. I also take care of longer lead-activities like our event strategy. partnerships and brand campaigns.
Talk us through your daily routine at Nasab.
The one constant in my day is coffee. My day always starts with a stop at The Tuckshop by LOWE (best coffee in Dubai!). After that it’s very varied. Most of my day involves meeting with the events, marketing and community management team to work on upcoming activities and campaign work. We have our own offices within Nasab but I like to spend most of the day in the shared workspace as I love the energy and connecting with our members. A lot of our ideas come from conversations we have with the community members so it’s a really dynamic and inspiring place to work.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
There is no silver bullet when it comes to a career. Look out for your network, support and help to connect them where you can. Work hard. Ask for help when you need it. Treat people well – it’s cool to be kind.
Which fashion brands can we find in your work wardrobe?
I’m a fan of a classic work wardrobe and sleek silhouettes. Alexander Wang, Tome, Ganni and Reformation are my go-to’s for work.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
I don’t know if this is the best, but it is definitely the most interesting. An old boss of mine once told me to get botox so people couldn’t tell what I was thinking in meetings! It’s not advice I have acted on as yet, but maybe there is something to be said for perfecting a poker face in the business world.
And what is the worst?
I really dislike the expression “fake it until you make it”. Of course you have to put your best foot forward at all times, but being real, open to learn and transparent will take you further than any amount of faking it will (in my opinion).
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
The execution of Nasab, a completely new concept in the Dubai market, has been my biggest professional challenge (and achievement) to date. Helping to bring the concept to life, whether it was defining the branding, planning the operational structure, hiring the team etc, pushed me out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. But Mohammed’s vision was always so clear and inspiring and the entire team behind the project were so motived and talented, that we managed to bring it together and we’re so proud of what Nasab is today.
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