Episodes

  • We hope you’ve enjoyed listening to Season 2 of What I Did Next! 
    We’ve had a great line-up of guests, great feedback and some Apple Podcasts love by being included in their Best of 2021 selection. What more can a podcast ask for?!
    Tune in to our wrap-up episode where we discuss the highlights of the last 8 episodes and look ahead to Season 3. Listen to the show to hear about an exciting new announcement as well!
    Happy holidays everyone :)
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  • I’m delighted to welcome Prince Abbas Hilmi onto the last episode of Season 2. Prince Abbas Hilmi is a descendent of two Middle Eastern royal houses. Through his father, Prince Mohamed Abdel Moneim, he is a descendent of Mohamed Ali of Egypt, while his mother, Neslishah Sultan, was the granddaughter of Mehmed VI, the last Ottoman Sultan. A quiet and modest man, Prince Abbas Hilmi spoke to me about his unique life journey, weaving stories of royalty and history with the more contemporary realities of the region’s finance and business industries. 
    This episode is brought to you by Marakez, building spaces for life; and by EFG Hermes, the leading financial services the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets.
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  • Meet Kim Ghattas, journalist, writer and lecturer. Kim’s career has been extensive and multi-layered. Kim, who is half Lebanese and half Dutch, shot to prominence as a BBC reporter, first covering Lebanon and then reporting on U.S. foreign policy from the United States. 
    Lately, she has gained recognition as an author of bestselling books. First came The Secretary and more recently, Black Wave, a must-read for all those interested and concerned about Middle East politics. 
    Listen to my conversation with her where she unpacks what inspires her and more profoundly talks about the shadow that growing up in the Lebanese civil war still casts across her life and outlook. You can find the episode in Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Podbean.
    This episode is brought to you by Marakez, building spaces for life; and by EFG Hermes, the leading financial services the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets.
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  • Bobby Chinn—celebrity chef, raconteur, comic, mimic and globetrotter—is my guest on the show this week. Perhaps best known in the Middle East as one of the judges on MBC’s highly rated show, Top Chef, Bobby brings a unique perspective on what a life journey should look like. 
    Our conversation covers everything from his peripatetic childhood to his steep learning curve trying to find the path that was best for him. Taking us on his journey we are entertained and awestruck by his innate positivity and optimism. 
    The most striking thing for me was his deep love of family and country that he kept reverting back to time and again during our chat.
    This episode is brought to you by Marakez, building spaces for life; and by EFG Hermes, the leading financial services the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets.
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  • Meet Dr. Lama Al-Sulaiman; Wife, mother, business-woman and most notably, an unexpected pioneer of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Listen to her story, where she comes across as thoughtful and compassionate. She opens up about her challenges and talks passionately about helping the underdog and less fortunate as well as her fight to get women treated equally in the boardroom.
    This episode is brought to you by Marakez, Spaces for Life. Marakez is one of the largest mixed-use developers in Egypt that designs, builds and manages their own properties which have grown to become the heart and soul of the communities they serve.
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  • Today Hassan Al Damluji, the Deputy Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is our guest on the show. 
    We trace his life journey, from a young adult discovering his Iraqi roots, to his current role in public health. We talk about his work in the region and his developing a more global world view. Discover how chance trips and encounters have contributed in shaping Hassan’s path.
    This episode is brought to you by Marakez, Spaces for Life. Marakez is one of the largest mixed-use developers in Egypt that designs, builds and manages their own properties which have grown to become the heart and soul of the communities they serve.
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  • Today I welcome Nada Debs to the show. Nada is a Lebanese designer who has re-invented the Levantine tradition of wood-work making. She has taken traditional techniques and given them a modern, contemporary twist. Nada works across a wide range of design including furniture, accessories, crafts, fashion and interiors.
    Nada’s life—from her childhood in Japan to graduate school in the US—have all laid the foundations for her professional and personal journey. The 'less is more’ aesthetic that Nada brings to all she does has gained her wide recognition and this has translated into very interesting and dynamic collaborations with such diverse brands as Louis Vuitton, Converse and IKEA.
    This episode is brought to you by Marakez, Spaces for Life. Marakez is one of the largest mixed-use developers in Egypt that designs, builds and manages their own properties which have grown to become the heart and soul of the communities they serve.
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  • Today I am delighted to welcome journalist Max Rodenbeck to the show. From 2000 to 2015 he was the Economist’s man in the Middle East—in 2010, in an article for the magazine, Max predicted the seismic changes that were to come in Egypt in January 2011.
    Having been raised from the age of 2 years old in Egypt, Max is not your usual expat; his wife is Egyptian and he has deep roots in the country. Max is also the author of one of my favourite books, Cairo: The City Victorious, a must read for those interested in history and cities.
    This episode is brought to you by Marakez, Spaces for Life. Marakez is one of the largest mixed-use developers in Egypt that designs, builds and manages their own properties which have grown to become the heart and soul of the communities they serve.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • We’re kicking off our new season with Fatma and Amina Ghaly, the two talented sisters who are the driving force behind the luxury jewelry brand, Azza Fahmy. They work hand-in-hand to ensure their mother’s philosophy and aesthetic are moved forward for a new generation of customers. The sisters have been instrumental in taking the firm from a local Egyptian niche company to a luxury international brand with 19 retail doors across the Middle East as well as in London and Washington DC, and a staff of over 280 people.
    This episode is brought to you by Marakez, Spaces for Life. Marakez is one of the largest mixed-use developers in Egypt that designs, builds and manages their own properties which have grown to become the heart and soul of the communities they serve.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 📣 Season 2 begins August 23! 
    We’re thrilled to back with you for a new season of What I Did Next, starting Monday.
    Season 2 is a bit less Egypt-centric, we’ve cast a wider net to include an amazing line-up of guests from across our amazing region, and across a range of industries.
    We’re also excited to announce that the season will be sponsored by Marakez.
    Whether you listen to the show on your walk, your commute, your workout or simply bumming around, we hope you enjoy this season! Remember to stay connected to us for the latest episodes and news.
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  • We're wrapping up season 1 today with a slightly different episode. My producer Chirag Desai is turning the tables on me and asking me about my own life journey and the show's two staple questions.

    A big thank you to our guests this season, and to all of you for joining us, and leaving us wonderful reviews. A new season of _What I Did Next_ is currently in the works with another amazing line-up of guests coming your way in a couple of months. Until then, please stay tuned to our [Instagram](https://instagram.com/what.i.did.next) where we'll be sharing bonus material from Season 1 and news on what's coming next.

    Thanks to [Marakez](https://marakez.net) for their support of the show.
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  • Omar Samra is the first Egyptian to reach the top of Everest, he’s climbed the 7 Summits and he has skied to both the North and South Pole. He is the founder of [Wild Guanabana](https://wildguanabana.com), one of the region’s leading adventure travel companies.

    In 2017, Omar took up a maritime challenge with his friend Omar Nour to highlight the plight of refugees who were crossing dangerous waters to seek a better life. That journey ended just 1000 kms later, and the men had to be rescued. The trip has become the subject of a documentary called [_Beyond the Raging Sea_](https://www.beyondtheragingsea.com), which has garnered rave reviews at various film festivals.

    This episode also brings us towards the close of season 1. For the final episode next episode, the tables are being turned on me. I'll be in the hot seat, answering the questions I've been putting to my guests all season.

    Thanks to our partners [Marakez](http://marakez.net) for sponsoring this episode. Marakez is the leading mixed-used developer in Egypt, with an ever growing portfolio of commercial and residential projects.
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  • My guest today comes from the world of advertising. Ali Ali is the co-founder of Good People Films and one of the most highly respected and sought-after advertising directors around. The Gunn Report named him one of the 10 most-awarded directors in the world and AdWeek placed him amongst the top 10 most exciting directors of 2020.

    Thanks to our partners [Marakez](http://marakez.net) for sponsoring this episode. Marakez is the leading mixed-used developer in Egypt, with an ever growing portfolio of commercial and residential projects.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • My guest on this episode is Jehane Noujaim, a multi-award-winning director from the world of documentary film-making, specifically, the cinema verité genre. Jehane has captured the zeitgeist time and time again in her work. She’s the engine behind such well-known documentaries as Startup .com (2001) and Control Room (2004). More recent films include The Square (2014), the Great Hack (2019) which is available on Netflix, and the series The Vow on HBO, all produced in collaboration with her husband, Karim Amer.
    Thanks to our partners Marakez for sponsoring this episode. Marakez is the leading mixed-used developer in Egypt, with an ever growing portfolio of commercial and residential projects.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • My guest today is Samih Sawiris, the founder of Orascom Development Holding which operates 33 hotels with over 7,000 rooms and controls approximately 100 million sqm of land. He is perhaps best known as the person behind El Gouna, a tourist resort town on the Red Sea coast of Egypt.

    Samih is above all, a sort of renaissance man, and a person who doesn’t define himself by his career or profession. He has a multitude of interests and he consciously prioritises the work / life balance. Now that he is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the company, he is spending time developing his passions and checking off his extensive bucket list. Our interview was recorded at the end of 2020.

    If you’re enjoying the show, leave us a review in [Apple Podcasts](https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/what-i-did-next/id1549640242), or [IMDb](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14051098/), or reach out to us on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/what.i.did.next/).
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  • My guest today is a multi-award winning powerhouse in the NGO landscape of the Middle East. Dina El-Mofty is the co-founder of [Injaz](http://injaz-egypt.org) in Egypt in 2003. Dina’s first pivot came at the start of her career and she has been shifting gears ever since. Moving from education to the start-up world, Dina has used her entrepreneurial know-how for the benefit of others; helping people garner employment skills and then translating them into businesses and new opportunities. Dina’s positive and upbeat approach are dynamic and impactful.

    If you’re enjoying the show, leave us a review in [Apple Podcasts](https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/what-i-did-next/id1549640242), or [IMDb](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14051098/), or reach out to us on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/what.i.did.next/).
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  • I’m joined this week by Lebanese hotelier Sarah Trad, who is the owner of [Beit Trad](http://beittrad.com/), an idyllic and luxurious guesthouse in the mountains of Lebanon. She is also the co-founder of Skoun, the first-of-its-kind drug and addiction rehabilitation center in Beirut.

    But beyond her professional pivot points, it was a major change in her personal life that resonated with me the most. Sarah has consistently pushed the bounds of convention and has chosen to go down her own path, even when those choices are at odds with what is expected.
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  • I’m joined on the show today by Jalal Abu Ghazaleh & Dalia Sultan, the husband-and-wife team behind Gourmet Egypt, a company that has raised the bar for food retail in Egypt. Join our conversation to hear about their pivot points — from the cute way they met to the challenges they encountered in the evolution of their business. The conversation blends the personal and professional and we meander down memory lane to key cross-roads along their path.

    If you’re enjoying the show, leave us a review in [Apple Podcasts](https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/what-i-did-next/id1549640242), or [IMDb](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14051098/), or reach out to us on [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/what.i.did.next/).
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  • My guest on the inaugural episode of What I Did Next is Ahmed Alfi, a well-known name in the tech start-up world in both Egypt and the Middle East. From starting his career on Wall Street, Ahmed moved to Egypt in 2006, went on to co-found Sawari Ventures and is also the co-founder of Flat6Labs and the Greek Campus, a startup innovation hub in downtown Cairo. Tune in to the episode to find out all about those turning points in Ahmed’s life, who he’s inspired by, and what makes him tick.
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  • What I did Next is a show that will explore life’s pivot points, both professional and personal. We’ll look at life’s journeys through this lens and how sometimes certain circumstances can lead to life-altering changes. Season One launches February 4, 2021 with a fantastic mix of guests from the Middle East who share their pivot points. Do you take the left or right at the fork in the road? Do you choose the path less traveled and go against what is expected? These are the big questions at the heart of this show—questions that inform and shape our lives and the paths we take. The people I’ll be interviewing will either be from the Middle East or have a connection to the region in some way. These are people who are multi-national, multi-lingual, are engaged, curious and passionate about knowledge and aim to leave a positive imprint on the world. They represent a variety of industries and careers but they all have one thing in common: they aren’t afraid to do it their way.
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