The Shift: “If you don’t give us a chance, we will create our own chances”

The Shift: “If you don’t give us a chance, we will create our own chances”


“If you don’t give us a chance, we will create our own chances”.  These words echoed across a hall filled with almost 300 people at a summit I attended recently.  The summit was appropriately called the ‘Visions 2 Reality’ summit.  It was a summit where senior executives of organisations as well as experts sat to discuss and debate current and new ideas in areas ranging from leadership, talent, strategy to organisational development.  I had been selected to moderate a discussion during the day on a topic titled ‘Development of Young Local Talent’.  Our session was followed by a couple of interesting sessions by experts in various topics.

However, what impressed most of the audience was a segment that featured a group of young Emirati girls from various local universities such as Zayed University and the Dubai Women’s College.  As the young girls climbed onto the stage we really had very little idea of what to expect from the segment.

Listening to one of my guest panelists speak during my session
Listening to one of my guest panelists speak during my session

The thirty minute segment began with the girls standing on stage and one by one deliver powerful and emotional speeches in topics addressing deep philosophical insights such as the speech that carried the title ‘My Role Model’ to a narration of the story of the latePresident of the UAE ‘Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan’ from a different angle.  The audience was at awe.  It was truly a masterclass in public speaking, and in my view dwarfed the earlier sessions including mine.  I could hear whispers from the tables around me asking if “the girls were just students, or professional public speakers”. “Were they educated in local schools and universities”, and other curious questions. 

Towards the end of their segment and amid a thunderous applause from an impressed audience, a young lady from the group left the audience with a distinct and clear message and it was aimed at all the employers sitting in the summit–particularly the private sector- as well as the skeptics; She announced with a confident voice “This is a message to the private sector; if you don’t give us a chance, we will create our own chances. So stand with us and not against us”.

One of the young speakers who captivated the audience with her speech
One of the young speakers who captivated the audience with her speech

I’m not sure if the audience took the message to heart or read much in to it.  From where I stood, the message couldn’t have been articulated in a better way. It was reflective of a growing frustration of the barriers imposed by community and many corporate and public institutions to anything out of the norm, an annoyance from the perceptions held against a misunderstood generation and a growing discontent with the stifling limitations of what I consider two sworn enemies of mine; the ‘status quo’ and the acceptance of mediocrity.  I truly hope there are more young people out there who live by the attitude the young lady voiced on that day.  We should no longer wait for opportunities to be created for us, doing so will only set us up for a life of regret and untapped potential.  Young people who step out of their comfort zones and go against the grain to create their own chances are the ones that earnestly deserve the title ‘brave new generation’.


Abdulmuttalib (Talib) Hashim



Author: Talib Hashim

Abdulmuttalib Al Hashimi (Talib) was born in 1977. He grew up in a sleepy town called Rashidiya, a far cry from the lights and bustle of Dubai. Talib began his career taking on a number of odd jobs (Yes, the legend of the one month stint he landed as a Magician/Promoter in the summer of '96 during the Dubai Shopping Festival is true). His first taste of the corporate world came with the large international bank HSBC, where he started in a small role as a 'Recovery and Debt Collector'. Fortunately, he moved up quickly during his tenure in the bank and was eventually recruited to be part of an elite team of Traders in the banks Global Market department. Inspite of the "Wall Street" like glitz and glamour that came with his role; Talib decided to submit his resignation in the summer of 2006 and say 'Adios' to his cubicle, a regular income -a well paying one too-, his SUV and the life of employment. Together with a young Emirati lady, he established Next Level Management Consultancy, a recruitment firm with specialisation in the niche market of 'Emiratisation' (Employing and developing UAE citizens). He is always proud of the fact that he has helped numerous Emiratis find employment. And he would like to think that he contributed -even if a little bit- to helping them lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Talib holds a Masters Degree in Strategic Project Management. He is an expert in Emiratisation and GCC national employment issues and initiatives. He is also a regular speaker on the topics of employment, development of people, Emirati entrepreneurship and also cultural challenges in the workplace. He also gives a series of motivational speeches titled "10 lessons I learned in 2009". Talib is an expert in multi-cultural issues that influence the Arab workplace and helps companies bridge the gap between their expatriate and local staff. He is often accused by some to be an idealist and a dreamer, however, Talib works tirelessly to become an agent of positive change in society (and ofcourse achieve amazing success as an Entrepreneur in the process). Talib believes that all Arab youth deserve the opportunity and the right to pursue their dreams and aspirations regardless of their race, caste, colour, status and family name in society; and hence he is a strong advocate of national and Arab youth empowerment. He has a passion for travelling and backpacking. He enjoys reading books on history, autobiographies and self improvement. He is currently trying to improve his sketching skills.

%d bloggers like this: