Career Profiler-Heba Kelada

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  1. What is your background? What's the career path you took to reach where you are now?


I have a BA in Business Administration from the American University in Cairo and an MBA from the same university. During my last undergraduate year I was fascinated by the Marketing Research course and dreamt I could be working in this field. At that time, this field was primarily limited to social and economic research with few players in commercial research. I joined one of those very few research suppliers, where I learned how to conduct professional scientific marketing research. Two years later I joined the client side in the same field with a deep passion to some day go back to the supplier side until I got the opportunity eight years ago to join Ipsos – formerly known as IMI-Marketing Research.  


  1. Did you have any mentors or role models who inspired or guided you?


During my first working years my role model and mentor was the late Dr. Mohamed Wafai. From him I learned the passion for consumer insights. My following career steps were all inspired and guided by my present Manager and friend Dr. Amr Kais. From him I learned the persistence to achieve goals. He also taught me that nothing is impossible and that failures are only opportunities to start again. He has been my counselor and guide throughout my post-graduate studies and all my career moves until now.


  1. What were the most influential or challenging moments in your career?


Eight years ago when the idea of the formation of IMI (International Marketing and Management Institute) emerged I had a very critical decision to make. Back then I was happily employed with one of the leading local conglomerates in Egypt and the wild idea of forming this new company emerged. So I was faced to choose between my satisfactory and comfortable job and a passionate dream. I chose the latter with no hesitation and never regretted it.


  1. Looking back at a large track record would you have made anything different in retrospect?


In terms of career I am very satisfied and pleased with what I did. But on the academic side I would have wished to work on a doctorate degree. I still didn’t give up this dream, but haven’t put a time frame for it yet.


  1. Do you believe that women in the field of marketing and communications are treated with equal opportunities?


Yes I believe so. On the contrary I think that these two fields in particular are dominated by females. I think they make great marketers because by nature women focus on details, are good listeners, with a soft touch. This is what makes them understand consumers better and thus, make excellent professionals in marketing and communications.



  1. Do you believe in gender discrimination in Egypt private sector companies?


Not at all.


  1. Looking at the younger generation of fresh graduates, what advice could you give them?


I get exposed to fresh graduates a lot, whether on the professional or personal levels. Unfortunately many of the younger generation take life very lightly and have very little desire to and perseverance to earn the future. My advice to all fresh graduates is to develop passion for what they want to do and to be patient enough to work hard and earn results. “No pain no gain”. The most important issue in career development is to always observe and keep an eye open for everything that goes on around them and never to miss an opportunity of learning even if not directly related to the current job tasks.



  1. What about Marketing Research in Egypt, how do you view its situation and developments compared to the early beginnings? In terms of quality, ethical conduct etc?


The Marketing Research business has gone a long way since I first started my career over 15 years ago. Many organizations are realizing now its core values and the critical role it plays in the success and growth of companies. The market is witnessing the growth and development of many research tools and models essential to strategic business decision making. In terms of quality, there still remains a lot of room to improve. That is because still many organizations – researcher buyers – are not familiar or educated enough to work with quality marketing research. Thus, this allows for taking short-cuts which jeopardizes quality research studies and reflects negative perceptions on the research business as a whole. In terms of ethical conduct, I believe that it all depends on the right management approach as well as the ongoing and consistent follow up and control.


  1. With a demanding job and family, how do you balance yourself? How do you handle both? Is it possible?


The most important issue in balancing career and family is having clear priorities. Once priorities are clear, it is all about self organization, time management and giving each of this its right size and weight in ones life. I learned that nothing is impossible and all what is needed is some adjustments in scheduling in order to fulfill both obligations appropriately.

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