Today we had the opportunity to interview Toufic Hawly, CEO of Feronialab. Toufic and his Feronialab team design, build and manage your projects at Trade-shows, Exhibitions and Online Events.
Toufic has Worked and conducted projects in 35 + countries he Lived and built businesses in 4 countries – Lebanon – France – Spain – Bulgaria
With over 15 years of experience in Marketing, Management, and Sales with expertise in initiating, building and managing ventures. His international exposure has led him to learn 5 languages other than his mother tongue.
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Table of Contents
Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Toufic Hawly: Well in defiance of all things, I decided to start an event and trade-show project management company in the middle of the Pandemic.
Live events, Trade-shows and exhibitions are part of my life. Connecting with people from all over, helping clients and partners prepare for the launch of an outstanding experience for their peers is what makes me tick!
We have successfully delivered a project in Abu Dhabi earlier this year and we are now working on delivering for a major player in the European Aerospace industry a Trade Show in Russia in July !
I guess betting against the comeback of events and trade shows is like betting against human nature. I really believe digitalisation can bring tremendous value to businesses, however excluding the social interaction and the experience a live event can bring is not a viable business model for humanity.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Toufic Hawly: My mother. Of all people I can ever be grateful for, she basically set the foundations of what I became and how I think and behave. One thing you should know about my mother is that she isn’t the typical ” all sunshine and rainbow type “. From a very early age she pioneered as a woman achieving outstanding accomplishments.From volunteering in the Red Cross to being a gymnastics champion to later on in her life become a school director and university professor getting an MBA at the age of 56. I definitely inherited that drive from her. I remember when she was sent to France to train for her Job, she took me with her for a full 3 months, I was 8, and I still get flashbacks. When she passed her certification, I was in the exam room with her and her colleagues and I firmly demanded to pass a test ! I was throughout the whole training, and it seemed just fair to get the same opportunity. The instructor back then was impressed and gave me a few tasks to complete and at the end I got my certificate too.
Hard work, never complaining, being authentic and above all be just and fair. This is what I live by today.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Toufic Hawly: The worst advice I’ve ever received is : Work smart, not hard. Let me develop on this one. I firmly believe that hard work will beat talent and intellect on any given day if talent and intellect don’t work hard too. Pause and read it again. You know zero person that has achieved any kind of sustainable success by trying to take a shortcut or by “hacking the system “. Yes you can get lucky, but to me opportunity looks a lot like hard work.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Toufic Hawly: It’s the ability of accepting that you are in this world for a reason and even if you don’t know what that is on a macro level. If today your reason is to wake up, go to work so that Sally can get her salary, then wake up, go to work and get Sally her salary. Period. You start by doing what it takes ! Then somehow the universe will start putting opportunity and things you like on the table
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Toufic Hawly: I’ve thought about this a long time, and couldn’t find the answer, until one of our clients told me this. ” You guys are the extension of my team. When I talk to your team I’m not talking to a supplier, I’m talking to a colleague that knows our values, that works hard and with passion to help us express those values.”
This to me is the ultimate. When your team cares so much about their clients that they are able to basically behave as if they were your clients. That’s what makes us what we are
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Toufic Hawly: Authenticity – Self-awareness – Conscientiousness
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How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Toufic Hawly: I run a communication business, and the perception of your personal brand is directly correlated to the success of your company. Not only yours, the personal brand of your team as well. Listen, you do not buy Nike for the quality of the shoes only. You also buy them because they celebrate amazing athletic performance and because Air Jordans took off in the 90s .
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What’s your favorite leadership style and why?
Toufic Hawly: I’m a special ops team guy. So I tend to lead by example.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Toufic Hawly: Know yourself first. And spend the amount of time necessary to get to know yourself.
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What’s your favorite “business” quote and how has it affected your business decisions?
Toufic Hawly: Spend on less things, but spend big on the important and valuable things.
I learned that when you are running a company, especially in the early stages, you need to keep your spending habits in check. Especially if you are bootstrapping your business.
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Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Toufic for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Toufic or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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