“It’s Important Not to Underestimate Yourself”
Maria Ougarram, the Co-founder of MarCom Consultancy, says women should believe in themselves, their abilities, and their potential, and shouldn’t be afraid to take on new challenges
What do you do, and what is a typical day like for you?
I am the Co-founder of MarCom Consultancy, we specialize in marketing and communications consulting as well as mentoring services. We give strategic and practical advice to help boost our client’s marketing efforts and we pride ourselves on delivering quality work that helps them achieve their business objectives and drive business growth through effective marketing. In addition, we provide a marketing mentorship program that is designed to guide and support professionals in building or improving their marketing capabilities.
Our main objective is to help our clients navigate the complex landscape of marketing channels, trends, and technologies as well as develop strategic and practical marketing skills. I decided to co-found MarCom Consultancy after over ten years of working in the marketing field harvesting knowledge and experience. My typical day starts very early at 5 am with a meditation session followed by a workout at 6 am. Sticking to this routine has had a considerable impact on my ability to stay productive and focused throughout the day.
Then I’m ready to take on the day which typically consists of client meetings and managing the daily ops of the consultancy. A typical day for me is a hectic and busy one! But since I genuinely love my job and what I do, I tend to not feel the stress throughout the day. Plus, I am extremely lucky as my business partner is also my best friend so a typical work day for me is also time spent with my best friend!
Did you always know that working in the industry you represent was what you wanted to do? How did you decide on it?
I always knew that I was gifted with excellent communication skills and had to use that in my career. That’s why I ventured into marketing from the early stages of my career, first in the social media field when social media had just started to be implemented as a marketing tool for businesses. Hence, I was fortunate to work from the very early stages of implementing it as a communication channel for businesses and expand my knowledge as the industry evolved.
Working in the tech industry has also been an incredibly fulfilling experience for me, especially during my time with Huawei. From my initial role as a social media manager to heading the Public Relations and Communications department for the Middle East and Africa region, I have had the opportunity to grow and develop my skills alongside a rapidly expanding brand.
During my time with Huawei, I was fortunate to work on amazing projects and created successful campaigns for the Huawei brand and products as well as organized press conferences and events in various locations worldwide, from Dubai and China to London, Riyadh, Paris, Vegas, Munich, and more. I have had so much fun in the process! Working for Huawei has taught me much about the tech industry, corporate communications, and successful branding.
As the company grew and expanded, so did my career, and I am proud to have been part of such a dynamic and innovative organization. My time with Huawei has been a pivotal period in my professional life, and I am grateful for all the experiences and lessons I have gained while working there. I am excited to have embarked on an entrepreneurial journey and co-founded MarCom Consultancy.
As a professional who thrives on challenges and constantly sets new objectives for my career and future, the decision to take this step was a natural progression. With my wealth of experience in the industry, I am passionate about utilizing my expertise to help businesses grow and succeed. The opportunity to build and lead a team of like-minded individuals in delivering innovative and effective marketing solutions to clients is one that I am grateful for.
I believe that success comes from taking risks and stepping out of one’s comfort zone, and I am excited to apply this mindset to my entrepreneurial journey. By creating a platform for creativity and strategic thinking, my team and I can achieve great things in marketing and communications.
What first got you interested in the industry you work in?
I think my natural communications skills allow me to get the message across to people around me clearly and quickly, plus I have always been a problem solver and always have had friends and family coming to me for advice and guidance.
So again, I think it’s essential to combine your natural gifts with the career you choose, and right now, as a marketing and communications consultant, I like helping brands and clients from different industries who come to us for strategic advice on how to grow their sales, how to overcome their marketing challenges or reach their target audience, etc. But I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the tech industry specifically because I am fascinated by it as it’s such a fast-paced industry and in my opinion the best school or industry you can learn from.
Do you have a role model?
I don’t have a specific role model I look up to. Still, I find inspiration in people surrounding me, like my parents, who taught me the ethics of hard work, determination, and believing in myself. My sisters have always been my support system, and they also inspire me in the way they were able to manage their careers in parallel to having a family and raising kids. Ultimately, I am inspired by any woman who perseveres and goes after what she wants. My mantra in life is the famous quote,” she believed she could, so she did,” and that’s what I ultimately strive to be.
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
It wasn’t always smooth sailing throughout my career; I always had to push myself to work harder and be the best version of myself, as I like to excel in anything I do. From learning and speaking many languages to excelling in my studies and ultimately breaking through in the tech industry and reaching leadership positions where I had to manage predominantly male teams, none of it has been easy, but the more significant the struggle, the bigger the reward. The tech industry is known to be a male-dominated industry, so I had to work harder to prove myself, for years I had to put my personal life aside and sacrifice a lot for my career, but again nothing is impossible when you love what you do and believe in yourself and your dreams.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the industry you represent? What do you wish you had known?
First and foremost, it’s important not to underestimate yourself. The tech industry as an example is notorious for its lack of representation and the stereotypes that can discourage women from pursuing a career in this field. However, don’t let these barriers prevent you. Believe in yourself, your abilities, and your potential, and don’t be afraid to take on new challenges. In addition to this, it’s essential to continuously learn and stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies.
Both tech and marketing industries are constantly evolving, and staying informed about the changes and innovations is vital. Finally, never stop growing, and do not get comfortable in your comfort zone! Always be open to new opportunities and challenges. Ultimately hard work and perseverance, hard work always pays off, and when combined with determination, it is a 100% guaranteed winning formula, do not give up! The road might be bumpy, and it will not always be easy, but you must believe in yourself, and you ultimately get where you want to be.
What do you do to unwind after work?
One of the best ways to unwind for me is to put my phone away at least one hour before bed so that I can rest my mind and “disconnect” I am also fortunate to live by the beach, so I usually go for a long walk by the beach by the end of the day to clear up my mind, then go home and listen to audiobooks or watch a documentary about the universe! I wanted to be an astronaut as a kid, so I find documentaries about the universe fascinating. As an ex-pat living in Dubai, I also spend much time with my friends, whom I consider family now.