The merits of success

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The merits of success
Hadeel Al Masri, Managing Partner of Merit Management and Economic Consulting.

Dubai - Hadeel Al Masri is the main driving force behind one of the world's leading business process outsourcing firms

By Muhammad Raiz Usman

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Published: Sat 30 Apr 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 1 May 2016, 9:38 AM

In just a few years, Hadeel Al Masri established Merit Management and Economic Consulting as one of the world's leading business process outsourcing organisations.
Merit is an Abu Dhabi-based consulting firm that specialises in the provision of economic research and management consultancy to private enterprises and government organisations.
"When Merit Consulting humbly began its journey in 2004, presiding as one of its team members at the helm, I took this crucial step of taking along with me a small number of dedicated employees holding the passion and determination to make Merit a top-performing management and financial advisory firm in the industry," Hadeel Al Masri, managing partner of Merit Management and Economic Consulting, said.
Today, with a multitude of local and international clients and a highly-experienced team of consultants spread across the globe, Merit Consulting's name has become synonymous with success.
"Merit has come a long way since its inception from a small firm to gradually expanding into a well reputed and trusted name in the field of consultancy," she said.
Hadeel said Merit's innovative ideas and concepts allowed it to be recognised by the leaders, government and public sectors in the UAE.
"We are honoured to be part of some of the most important projects that have contributed in economic growth and prosperity of the country," she said.
Hadeel recalled when she founded Merit, along with her partners, with a very small capital.
"Merit started off at a small office. However, we had a big support initially from our families, colleagues and friends," she said.
"Marketing, achieving corporate profits, dividing time for high-level meetings, measuring the performance of the staff and operating as a point of reference and support for our clients - all were very difficult, yet I took it as a challenge," she said.
Hadeel said during her initial years as a professional consultant for various renowned organisations, she realised that there was a common perception that women were less capable than their male counterparts.
"About 15 years ago there were few women in workforce and majority of top positions were occupied by the men in government and private organisations," she said.
"It was then I decided that through my innovative ideas and achievements in the field of consulting I will try to change this perception as much as I can."
"And that is what I exactly did."
As the main driving force behind the team of Merit Consulting, Hadeel has worked physically in more than 26 countries and has provided services as part of teams in more than 80 countries.
Merit's consultant team has provided its services to high-profile government projects in the UAE, the GCC, Europe, Latin America and the Far East, among many others.
"All of our projects so far proved very successful stories, and we as the Merit team are proud of it," Hadeel said.
"Guided by the motto of 'Thinking beyond Tomorrow,' Merit's core values reside in having integrity in everything we do while holding a dedicated commitment towards excellence. These values guide us along the path to distinction and help us reinforce Merit's standing as an effective advisory firm," she said.
"With the encouragement of my family and my bosses, I can say now 'my little dream to be a consultant has come true'."
Hadeel said the UAE is the best place for start-ups as the country is quite welcoming and an attractive destination.
"The UAE offers highly-developed infrastructure, a venue for top international conferences and events and one of the best telecommunication networks for flourishing businesses," she said.
According to Wamda's 2015 Country Insights report, the UAE outperforms all other Middle East and North African countries in most global rankings and ranks among the top 30 countries worldwide in global competitiveness, entrepreneurship, global opportunity and prosperity.
"From my personal experience I do agree with this report. The UAE is a hub for international businesses. It is a diversified market for suppliers of the most of the products. It is an accessible market for international business owners with great potential," she said.
Hadeel is a staunch supporter of closing the gender gap in start-ups. She said she always gives special consideration to women professionals and support them in unlocking their full potential.
She said the UAE is "the land of dream and opportunities" for women entrepreneurs and professionals.
"Of course, initially things might be turbulent and there would be a time where you would just want to give up but that's exactly where you need to gather yourself up and move ahead," she said.
"Don't be afraid to take risks; life is 10 per cent of what happens to you and 90 per cent of how you respond to it. The fear of making an error is a cause of risk aversion or the inability to move forward with decisions," she said.
"Operate with a positive mindset and act with respect and integrity in your business and do not forget that you have a family and social responsibilities in the first place. As for men, I tell them that 'a woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water'," she said.
Hadeel advised startups to be consistent with their businesses identity, integrity and honesty.
"Define your goals, draw your business roadmap clearly, brand yourself and commit to it," she said.
She said at Merit, they are trying to use technology to improve customer care by allowing our clients to reach us easily and learn about our approach and methodology.
"Information technology plays important role in business, and it is a significant enabler of business success and innovation either to Merit or to our clients," she said.
"Utilising IT helps us to provide simple and clear information, minimise errors and mistakes in our work and expedite services with high quality and efficiency, she concluded.

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