FEMALE CEO OF THE YEAR – CEO ME CEO MIDDLE EAST HAS AWARDED ERICSSON’S MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA PRESIDENT, RAFIAH IBRAHIM AS FEMALE CEO OF THE YEAR

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  1. How does it feel winning this award?
  • I am honored! It was a complete surprise and I only found out that I was nominated when I received the email. It gives me a great pride to be recognized by such a reputable organization in MMEA – the ITP group.
  1. What are the biggest challenges (A) in your current role and (B) what have been the biggest challenges in your career so far?
  • MMEA is a very dynamic market, very diverse with extreme market conditions and different market realities adding to that multiple time zones, languages and diverse cultures. This, combined with a challenging macro-economic environment and the accelerated digitization of industries, call us to consider different type of focus, new ways of working and revamped business models (indirect channels as an example).

With this, it’s important to focus on what matters most; give enough attention to our customers at all times, focus on engaging our employees around our priorities and keep our shareholders informed and engaged around what we want to achieve.

  1. You’ve been with Ericsson since 1996 and lived in several countries across different continents. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from your career at Ericsson so far?
  • To listen and learn before making decisions.   If you don’t listen and you think that you know everything, you will fail. We learn more by listening than talking.   Listening makes us unfold and expand our understanding of the current environment.
  1. What are the priorities for the Middle East market in the future / what do you hope to achieve?
  • On the short term, my top priority is to bring back Profitability to MMEA and deliver on my commitments to the Group. I am working with my team around the clock to achieve that.

At the same time, my priority is to position ourselves as the key partner to our customers by remaining relevant to them, helping them in their technological advancement and in their business evolution. Hence engaging the organization and rally the same goals.

  1. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the company since starting with Ericsson?
  • Throughout the years, I’ve seen the company becoming too widespread in our engagement, the processes are also complicated for our customers to do business with. By focusing on what matters most, simplifying our organization, building the culture of accountability and the new roles and responsibilities, we already can be fast, flexible, responsive and appeal to our customers and I believe more will be achieved by time.
  1. Do you have any advice for young leaders at Ericsson?

  • I would say ‘Dare to dream’. Not only dream but go far with your dreams, then work hard to accomplish them. You might win sometimes and sometimes you might face setbacks. Remember setbacks are part of life so we have to learn to take them in our stride gallantly but most importantly, when you are faced with a setback, you need to put your fear aside and reaffirm your goals.
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