Renowned powerhouse Hugo Boss Egypt brought together seven industry leaders to share their entrepreneurial journeys and re-imagine their identity as maestros, believers, educators, and chess players.
Luxury brand Hugo Boss Egypt gathered seven of Egypt’s most successful businessmen to share their journeys, while hand-picking the outfits that best embodied their entrepreneurial persona. Unveiling their inquisitive, restless or unwavering spirit, Hugo Boss
Egypt re-imagined their identity as maestros, believers, storytellers, and chess players.
From entrepreneurs, to CEOs, to managers who helped establish a strong presence for their companies, these seven leaders have one thing in common; their unswerving pursuit for excellence in their every move. “Instead of deciding what I wanted to become and set a certain role for myself, I just decided that whatever I did, I wanted to be successful at it. This will always manage your expectations and won’t get you demotivated,” says Abdel Karim Fathy, whose role as former general manager at Red Bull catapulted him into a power player in Egypt’s F&B sector.
“Life is all about success and love: you have to be loved to be successful and you have to be successful to be loved. Everything else is a side effect of these two,” adds Hussein Nassar, the man behind the design of one of Cairo’s favourite no-brainer, go-to spots in town: Sequoia. And while these businessmen's perseverance and pursuit of leadership ballooned into a successful career, they all highlighted the relentless principles that guided them uphill. “You need to do something that you really, truly believe in,” says Sameh Kamal, founder of cosmetic empire Celia Professional. “When I first started, everybody told me I was crazy and now half of these people want to be my partners.”
Having defied the norm and raised the bar across different Egyptian industries, these men were challenged by Hugo Boss to showcase the persona that best embodies, to them, what it means to act like a boss. And this is what they came up with:
Ahmed El Ganzoury: The Maestro
Life is an orchestra and you’re the maestro – that’s the motto behind the success of Ganzoury, a man whose name has become synonymous with the best parties Egypt has ever seen. The founder and CEO of byGanz Extraordinaire, the businessman has set the bar for luxurious and out-of-the-ordinary parties not only in Egypt, but also in London, Ibiza and Mykonos.
Having started off early on as he followed his passion for parties and entertainment, the entrepreneur affirms nothing – not even failure – happens by chance. “Every day you close one door, I promise you, a million ones open. Just keep trying and keep believing that you can do it. You will,” he says, stressing the importance of persistence when chasing your passion. “Always dream of something that is far away; it comes a lot easier than you think. You just need to believe that you can do it and you will,” he says.
Abdel Karim Fathy: The Chess Player
“The saying goes like this: ‘Quitters never win and winners never quit’. So whether you want to go this way or that – corporate or on your own – you just keep going,” says the craftsman who established and solidified the success of Red Bull in Egypt, a brand that is not only iconic in the field of energy drinks, but also a leading figure as patron of entertainment and culture.
As he now takes on a new challenge as the General Manager of marketing solutions company Lead, Fathy reveals his life philosophy as pivotal in shaping his success. “You go to work every day playing chess; you’re playing chess with your team so you capitalise on each person’s strength by empowering them, and you drive them forward to reach a certain objective with this strength,” he explains. Indeed, his period at Red Bull was marked by his emphasis on the importance of the development of young talents, one of his main mottos – and one that shapes his very idea of success. “You’re talking about building generations of leaders for the future. The feeling of contributing to these people’s future and seeing them grow is my definition of success,” he says.
Hussein Nassar: The Coursing River
“When you’re a leader, you can’t fear anyone. It’s like comparing a swimming pool with a river – rivers set their own path through their flow,” says the man behind Sequoia, Hussein Nassar. In fact, that was the first project that he took up as his own boss, a short three months after he graduated from college. Since then, he has taken up small and big projects, residential and commercial, leading him to where he is today: founder of Hussein Nassar Designs, one of the leading interior design and contracting companies in Egypt.
“There are certain things – skills – that you have that no one can take away from you,” he stresses. To this day, his name is the landmark behind the designs of some of Cairo’s favourite spots, such as Gaby’s and Baltazar. But starting off, he admits, implied listening to the market's demands before setting standards. “You have to follow to lead: you have to play their game and be really good at it so then they started asking about what you want to do. That’s when you start doing your own thing and setting your own rules,” he explains.
Sameh Kamal: The Believer
“Yes, I was afraid. But my fear was becoming an average employee,” says the inspiring Sameh Kamal, founder of Egyptian cosmetics brand Celia professional. The entrepreneur started off while still in college, that's when he decided to buy cosmetics during a trip to China to sell back home. What initially started as a side gig then turned into his own company, as he started producing his own products and set up his own company in 2012. “You don’t need to rely on anyone to be who you want. Set your own goals and be different,” he affirms.
Juggling between the position of founder and his day job as Senior Sales Manager of Capital Group Properties. The businessman asserts that working for such an established company pushes him forward on his entrepreneurial path. Now, Kamal is starting two new brands, one of which produces Egyptian cotton apparel, and another makes cotton sheets and towels.
Bassem El-Hady: The Educator
“Regardless of your religion or belief, I think God created us so we have an impact on this world. Everyone has their own skill and everyone can do something that is unique to them: the key is to find it and use it,” says young entrepreneur Bassem El-Hady, the mastermind behind Egyptian digital agency Kijami.
A wholehearted believer in the power of storytelling to educate people, the young entrepreneur founded TEDx Cairo with two of his friends in 2010 while still in college. “I’m in love with education and development. Educating people and helping them see what they can do is something that makes me happy and satisfied and really drives my team forward,” he says. It was that passion that led him in 2011 to kick-start Kijami, driven by the realisation of how much power digital media has on Egypt. “Passion is not the feeling of ‘I love this’ or ‘I want to do this’, it’s the whole extreme, undefined feeling that you wake up every day to pour your mind and soul into doing something great for your team and company,” he says.
Hassan Morshedy: The Storm
“Failure is good because it tells you what not to do in the future,” says Hassan Morshedy, a real estate rising star and CEO of Memaar Al Morshedy. “There are many things you can fail at, but you need to always learn from your mistakes and know that you’ll overcome them.”
And something tells us he knows what he is talking about: under his 10-year reign, the 35-year-old company saw a growth close to 300 per cent, which stemmed from his vision and philosophy. “You fail, so you start to develop your own tactics. The key is not repeating the same mistake twice. You will always need dedication, knowledge and a good supportive team.”
Through his collaboration with international design giants, like Philippe Starck and Marcel Wanders, he was able to bring to Egypt the lifestyle that he saw in Los Angeles, where he owned and operated a luxury furniture and interior design company. Now, having built over 60,000 residential homes in Egypt, the tycoon is expanding beyond Egypt to include projects in Greece.
Hussein Heiba: The People Person
“My favorite motto is ‘Keep going’. If things are going great, keep going; if things are not going well, just keep going, as long as you have the right path,” says Hussein Heiba, managing partner of real estate consultancy OWH Properties.
Focused on turning houses and apartments into high-end “magazinesque” spaces, Heiba’s dream is to see Egypt’s real estate developments transform into spectacular structures. Heiba sees his strength not only in his study of construction engineering, but primarily in his study of political science, which gave him the skill of being able to understand different people from different walks of life. This led him not only to adapt to different mindsets but also to secure international presence with branches in London. “You always need to care about the people. You need to treat people with the same morals, but you need to communicate with them differently. Not everyone is the same, so you have to adapt,” he says. “People are my motivation in life”.
Management and Production: Maison Pyramide @maisonpyramide
Photography: Hassan Hamdi @thehassanhamdi
Styling: Yasmin Abdel Bary @yabdelbary
MUA: Aisha Taha @glamourbyaishataha
Interview: Nolly Dakroury @nollydak
*The content of this article is sponsored)