x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

My UAE: twofour54’s community management associate Waheeda Al Hadhrami

The young Emirati talent-development professional Waheeda Al Hadhrami, on her many hobbies and ambitions.

Waheeda Al Hadhrami. Delores Johnson / The National
Waheeda Al Hadhrami. Delores Johnson / The National

Waheeda Al Hadhrami may be young, but she has a strong sense of her identity, goals and passions. The 21-year-old Emirati, from Abu Dhabi, works as a community management associate at twofour54’s creative lab, which funds and supports Arab artists.

Al Hadhrami works in talent development, helping a new generation of creators reach their potential. “We work with filmmakers and graphic designers and we try to take them in and give them experience in order to help them grow.”

Al Hadhrami, who has two brothers and two sisters, previously interned in the internal communications department at Masdar and in corporate communications at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. She has studied marketing at the American University of Sharjah, which she says “set [her] up for the real world”.

While she may not be an artist or musician herself, Al Hadhrami appreciates the arts, especially music. She regularly attends performances and concerts supporting the local music scene. “I go to one they have in Abu Dhabi, and Dubai as well, called For the Love of Music. It happens every couple of months, and they have a line-up of local artists.”

It is not just the arts that she supports, but local entrepreneurs and start-ups, too. “I support Emiratis starting up their own businesses. We have so much creativity in us and now we have the tools to get it done.”

She says the ever-rising number of young Emirati entrepreneurs, especially women, is a “great” sign of things to come. “Women are pushing forward more and more now and people are encouraging this.”

Al Hadhrami also loves travelling, having visited Bali, the Philippines and Kenya in the past three years. Next on her agenda is a cross-­country tour of the United States, travelling from New York to Los Angeles by car and plane. She leaves next week.

Quick chat

Do you enjoy sports?

I take classes for boxing, spinning and kickboxing. I’ve been doing them on and off since the end of last year. I just do them for health reasons, because I don’t really like weightlifting.

What is your long-term career objective?

I would like to be part of the team that grows the media industry within Abu Dhabi – all types of media.

What does family mean to you?

Family is my number-one priority. My family are very important and they’re very supportive, especially my parents, of everything I do – my work and my career. Even when I work late nights, they always support me, and always push me to do more programmes.

Where is the best place you have travelled to?

Bali. I have been there twice. It has water activities, you can go to the islands, you have the beach, there is adventure, mountains – it’s gorgeous.

What is your favourite restaurant?

My favourite restaurant would have to be Camacho (at Al Khalidiya in Abu Dhabi). It’s a small Italian-Japanese restaurant.

Why is work important, and what can it teach young people?

You tend to work with people from different cultures and nationalities. You learn how to deal with people from all over the world, especially in our part [of the world].

Do you have a philosophy on success?

My best advice is that if there is an opportunity behind a door, don’t be shy to knock on the door to get it.

What is your favourite type of food?

I love trying out different cuisines, say Japanese or Lebanese. I like food that is not so common too, and I love Moroccan food.

What music do you like the most?

R&B – I love 1990s music, I’m always going to be a 90s chick. I like Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey. Craig David is one of my favourites.