How I got here: Saad Issa Audeh, director, Audeh Group, chairman, Campbell Gray Hotels

“I believe there is strength in self-confidence. Most hurdles can be overcome, and it is always best to lead by example,” says Audeh



Education

I was privately educated in the UK after leaving Lebanon in 1977. I was a good communicator and enjoyed interacting with my peers from all walks of life – I was always curious and fascinated by how things worked. I attended the University of Reading and gained my degree in electrical and electronic engineering.

My start

After leaving university, I gained experience within several companies until I decided to break away and set up a consultancy of my own. The birth of the internet fuelled my passion to open up communications opportunities with other parts of the world. I soon realised my potential was in trading and networking and decided to focus on these skills. In 1991, my natural progression was into the family business started by my father in 1990. My primary focus was to develop new business partnerships, improve and implement new business operations and seek out exciting opportunities for the company. The Audeh Group is now a conglomerate of 30 companies operating in 11 countries across Europe, the near Middle East, GCC and Africa.

Approach

I believe there is strength in self-confidence. Most hurdles can be overcome, and it is always best to lead by example. It is important to have an up-to-date understanding of trends and in-depth analysis of the different market segments in which you operate. I also believe it is of paramount importance to find ways to benefit the environment and improve people’s lives. I am currently involved in an initiative to develop ecological and environmentally friendly products that include water solutions and renewable energy, in an effort to make our world a better place for all.

Dos and don’ts

Networking is very important. Get to know the people within your organisation, as this will encourage positive energy, ideas and commitment to move your business forward. Actively seek opportunities to meet new people and don’t hesitate to approach them, or corporations you admire, as these encounters can lead to great things. As an example, Campbell Gray Living Amman came about due to my encounter with Gordon Campbell Gray, founder of Campbell Gray Hotels. I was staying in Le Gray, Beirut, fell in love with the property and wanted to replicate it in Amman. I approached Gordon for a meeting and the rest, as they say, is history.

High and lows

A successful project in my family’s home country of Jordan was certainly a high and a very proud moment for me. In any business, there are always highs and lows; this is a reality of life – success is always celebrated, but lessons can be learnt from adversity to make a person stronger and more determined. I have been extremely fortunate to meet and work with many interesting and influential people throughout my business and personal travels and have enjoyed experiencing varied and diverse customs and cultures.