the soul of an artist with a brilliant business brain
Nora grew up in a family of artists. Her art background, doubled by her business education, allowed her not only to understand the creative department, but to be an asset among clients. After graduating with honors from the Lebanese American University with double BAs in Graphic and Digital Design and Business Marketing at the age of 19, Nora started her career as an art director in Beirut and evolved into a remarkable account leader for Dubai agencies, working on $12 million annual businesses. Nowadays, as VMLY&R Dubai Client Servicing Director, Nora is handling all major current and new business while helping create innovative solutions and award-winning ideas. With diverse assignments, Nora got the chance to immerse herself in different cultures. She has lived with families in Pakistan, worn the veil in Saudi Arabia, listened to the stories of Arab expats in Brazil, shot with the upcoming youth in Jordan, survived the upheavals in Iraq, climbed the mountains of Oman and encouraged the Palestinian Woman’s National team.
1. What would make your soul sing?
My first thoughts went to the good times spent with the right company at the right places. Then my thoughts bring me to the present and I can say that my soul sings when I get home and I hear my little niece yell “Noa!”.
My soul sings when I take time to sit back and appreciate the good people around me and the opportunity to be a part of it, all.
2. A childhood story that announced the creative person you are today
My first day of kindergarten – parents were emotional leaving their crying and moaning toddlers among strangers, separation is not easy. Not my case though. Unlike other kids, I told mom in a very confident voice: “You can go, it’s my time now”. My mom was both astonished and proud and she is sharing this story almost every Christmas
3. Best context ever for inspiration was:
Books– latest: “The woman who runs with wolves”; meditation; traveling – most inspiring: Cuba, Iceland, Puerto Rico, South Africa; mountains, ocean – Philippines; family time; kids time; music – I love jazz and grew up with a music composer, my brother who plays 8 instruments.
4. The project you loved most:
The quickest one I can think of is a project called ‘hope’ from the International Committee of the Red Cross. It raises awareness of the attacks that hospitals and health workers suffer in areas of armed conflict. Although it’s work that has been done in Spain, it’s very touching for a Lebanese that can relate to it.
5. The project others loved most:
A lot of things others loved and I did too.
6. The best thing about Creativity in UAE is:
Creativity in the UAE like this country is a few decades old, generations are building on each other to get us to where we are today. It is getting more and more cultivated and educated, which is essential to start minimizing bad or average work.
7. Best statement of UAE humor:
It’s difficult to think of UAE humor without sounding biased given it’s a melting pot and humor for me is culture.
8. Advice for international head-hunters, related to Emirati creatives:
Try to head hunt passionate people, people who care, they can change the world – I think it is important for every industry. Passion is crucial. Recruit the youth with a vision to innovate in our industry. Our role is to help stop losing all our people to the Googles and the Facebooks of the world.
9.Best place in Dubai?
There are a lot of gems in this city: XVA ArtHotel. It feels like you are outsidethe city, lots of birds singing. I also like Al Serkal and D3 areas for non-commercial reasons.
10. Best place in the Emirates?
Diving in Fujairah, Camping and glamping in thedesert, Hiking, SirBanYas, Rafting inMangroves AbuDhabi, Cycling in AL-Qudra.
11. Your opinion on money
Money keeps people exhausted physically and spiritually. The pace of this financial system is for machines and not for magical human beings. You have to know when is enough and what really makes you happy.
12. Your opinion on spirituality
I might need a book to give you my full opinion.
I can try to summarize it in 1 line. I never met my grandfather. He passed away when I was 1 year old. My mother told me he used to say that ‘life is a state of mind’. I grew up with this core belief.
13.Most disturbing cliché about UAE
That everyone is rich.
14. The Emirates should be known for:
Healthy City, Entertainment City, Sports City. In addition to what it’s already known for such as: Hospitality kindness, Land of Opportunities and Possibilities, Future, Innovation, Tolerance.
15. Recommend a book for a young creative:
There are too many: I started with a few: “Hegarty on Creativity”, “Hegarty on Advertising”, “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield,“Damn good advice”, by George Lois, “All Marketeers Are liars” by Seth Godin.