The Hissah Enrichment Center (HEC) provides the Middle East with education, training and consulting services. In August, the center was named among the winners of the 2018 MEA Excellence Awards programme as the ‘Leading Mentoring Service Provider of the Year’. Following this deserved win, we spoke to Dr. Anastasia Kamanos who, as Director of Development, offered a remarkable insight into the center’s considerable achievements and core mission.
The United Arab Emirates has, for the last decade at least, been a region of extraordinary business growth. In more recent years, it has also been a hub of immense societal change, driving development across the Middle East. In light of this, the UAE has become a popular ‘hot-spot’ for young professionals and expats to achieve the long sought after equilibrium between career development and family life. The Hissah Enrichment Center was created to provide essential services to the region that truly put the client at the center, offering training and consultation to strengthen personal and professional relationships in the workplace, home and community.
By all regards, Dr. Anastasia Kamanos can be considered an expert in the fields of gender, creativity, identity and empowerment. Her practised skill set makes her an invaluable asset to the center, as she enriches her client’s interpersonal skills, and teaches them about the importance of personal power and self-esteem. To start the interview, Anastasia explains the philosophy behind HEC’s dedication to the client experience. ‘HEC embraces a client service philosophy that is intrinsic to our workplace culture and is anchored in a simple though crucial principle of ‘the needs of our clients come first’. That said, the HEC ‘culture’ doesn’t exist on paper; it exists in the way we interact with our clients and each other. The success of our business relies on having the ‘right’ people in place who embody the practices, high standards and philosophy of well-being that we promote. When the core of your business is personal development, there is no room for mediocrity as each day is an opportunity to thrive.’
Anastasia continues, emphasizing the importance of the HEC in the context of the Middle East region. ‘The UAE is a popular hot-spot for young professionals, offering an unprecedented balance between home and work life. Abu-Dhabi in particular is a hub of cultural, educational and leisure opportunities that attract both expat and local families. However, the challenge of bridging home life and work life don’t occur seamlessly. Young families face personal, professional, economic, and mental stress. Businesses that want to attract and retain top talent must be ready to adopt a growth mindset that supports the needs of this very diverse cohort of professionals. Adapting to the changing profile of potential employees is challenging, and easier said than done.’
‘Success requires that knowledge be broadened, beliefs reshaped, and awareness heightened. For example, traditional infrastructures and business models that have not been the domain of women, now need to respond to the needs of women who want to pursue careers while bringing up their families. Acknowledging the economic and social benefits of day-care facilities, flexible work hours and at-home work possibilities requires an evolution and shift of business mindsets.’
This ties in closely to the unique advantages that the United Arab Emirates has to offer, as it looks to become the manifestation of modern living. ‘The UAE has a unique vibe that speaks to the very ethos of individuals, families, and businesses of 21st century who seek out personal and professional opportunities and challenges. Their quest for personal development is understood within an ecological framework of well-being that includes social, physical, emotional and psychological health. HEC is the service epicentre of a growth environment that provides individuals, families, businesses and educational institutions with diverse programs, workshops and individual sessions that respond to their specific needs.’
Within the UAE, the HEC remain leaders of an industry that is slowly seeing growth. Their honed expertise distinguishes them from the competition, and their record of success speaks volumes about their ability to provide best in class education and training. Anastasia believes that their reputation for excellence provides a springboard for further expansion as the region becomes rooted in the cultural paradigm shift. She takes a moment to explain how the HEC has forged itself as the go-to enrichment center. ‘Clients today are savvy. They have access to a wealth of information that allows them to make informed choices. They use the information readily available as a guide to recognizing and acknowledging their best options. Time and again, our clients seek us out because they have done their homework, researched the background of our accredited professionals and generally prefer a deeper, more meaningful and developed, professional relationship that matches their values and that goes beyond the information readily available on the internet or found in popular magazines.’
As drivers of this change, the HEC have settled themselves at the head of a rising demand for personal enrichment services. In the last couple of years, the area has seen a considerable injection of resources and investment, leading to swift advancements in research and available knowledge. In Anastasia’s eyes, this is a blessing and a challenge: ‘The sheer volume of information available requires critical thinking, understanding and thorough investigation of sources. It’s a daily challenge to ‘separate the wheat from the chaff’ when keeping abreast of research.’
‘The impact of recent research in neuroscience has revolutionized the way we understand brain functions and has spawned different trends in relation to well-being and lifelong learning. Knowing that not all trends are created equal is crucial. At HEC, we go beyond empty clich’s and provide our clients with practical steps that will improve their lives. Education, knowledge, curiosity, creativity and courage help us to seek out answers to questions we weren’t aware we were asking. This allows us to step out of our comfort zones to new forms of knowing that disrupt routine ways of thinking and seeing.’
In her closing comments, Anastasia offers a brief look into the future of the HEC, as they move towards expansion: ‘We have recently moved our offices from Dubai to Abu-Dhabi and are looking forward to providing our services to the larger GCC community.’
Company: Hissah Enrichment Center
Address: Office 102, Block 6, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Telephone: 971 4 391 4306
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