Imagine being stuck in your desk on an incredibly busy day, keeping your focus on the work at hand: Out of nowhere, a stress ball would hit you on the shoulders. As soon as you decide to get up and maybe confront whoever threw that ball, you look up and see the smiling face of your “assaulter”—about to break into a laugh.
Before you know it, you were laughing with him. Let’s be honest, we all need that kind of a laughter break in the middle of a hectic schedule.
That cheerful character, ladies and gentlemen, is our Business Development Head, Awais Ahmed.
He is a certified kid at heart, a jolly fellow spreading positivity across the room; a word of caution though, that is but one side of his personality.
Awais is one of the most productive, passionate, hard-working team players you’ll ever meet and his career milestones reflect just that.
Over the last 13 years with Gulf Dunes, he has risen through the ranks. Starting out as a database manager in 2005, he moved to manage various parts of the business until he became Head of Business Development in 2015.
“Since I graduated with a degree of Computer Science from University of Texas at Austin, I started my career as a software developer. When I joined Gulf Dunes in 2005, I was assigned as database manager who would be tasked to maintain the software that the team uses,” Awais shared.
“After some time, I got a bit bored just fixing everything up. So, I essentially asked for other things I can possibly do. Considering my English proficiency and my knowledge in IT, I got involved in Marketing and PR. I worked with our multimedia team and recreated how our proposals were structured. Until 2015, I was promoted to the position of Head of Business Development as I had been, for a few years now, managing large-scale projects, the database, marketing, FAM trips and product development of the business,” he added.
For Awais, the secret to enjoying the work that you do is having an awesome team to collaborate with.
“When you have a great team to work with, you don’t mind working the insane hours or having to troubleshoot situations, last-minute requests or changes. You definitely get stressed on occasion but with the support of your friends, colleagues and clients, it all works out well,” he said.
He also cites teamwork as the main ingredient for a phenomenal MICE project Gulf Dunes did for 1,250 people on a six-night convention.
“The program was very tight but we had an amazing team working on the project, great support from the hotel and a really fun group of clients. Everything just went perfect with this project,” Awais shared.
Gulf Dunes takes pride in its destination expertise and we’d have to say that Awais perfectly fits the bill as he has been in Dubai long before the iconic Burj Al Arab was built or way longer before the Burj Khalifa rose to fame.
“Originally from Pakistan, I came to Dubai in 1982 at the tender age of four. None of the iconic city landmarks existed yet. All we had was a small piece of beachfront area where we had our picnics,” Awais said.
“I have seen Dubai, along with the rest of the UAE, grow to become the world-famous destination that it is now. And all these developments that are happening now continue to amaze me,” he added.
The best-kept secrets of Arabia, Awais said, lie in its food, its culture and its people.
“In Oman, for example, the kindness and friendliness of the people are simply mind-boggling. Did you know that if you are driving on a highway and want to change lanes where another car is, that car will slow down to let you go? Add to that are all the warm, smiling faces you see everywhere and your heart melts,” he said.
Oman, he adds, is a place for the greatest adventures and a cross-country drive is one he would never forget.
“Go to Nizwa and see the cultural side of the city. Head for the top of Bilat Seet Mountain and have a picnic lunch 2,000 meters above sea level, then brace for an off-road drive down the mountain. Cap it off with some time at the wadis with natural swimming holes. Amazing itinerary,” Awais said.
Now that he is a family man, Awais shares most of his recent escapades, as well as all his free time and weekends, with his wife and two kids.
Al Wadi Desert by Ritz-Carlton tops his list for a family hideaway. “Escape to the desert away from the normal work life and book a tented villa with a private pool. Can’t ask for more or a better place to relax and unwind,” he quipped.
We at Gulf Dunes always introduce ourselves as a fun team of MICE specialists. Awais, by just being the adventurous, cheerful and passionate team player that he is, makes doing MICE a whole lot of fun.