Learn more about Waleed Badr, Head of Sales (MEA): SubSea, WebScale and Large Enterprise at Nokia and Regional Director (MEA) at Nuage Networks from Nokia
Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?
I head up Nuage Networks, SubSea Segment, WebScale and extra-large enterprise for Nokia in the Middle East and Africa. Working with a great team to support and align Nokia objectives toward our Middle Eastern and African communities. We believe that enterprise segments will maintain a unique vertical use cases that need to be address directly with the enterprise segments. We look closely with financial, media, WebScale and cloud providers and SubSea. The world is moving towards a new type of providers that address the enterprise segment’s needs and contents. That will be a strong driver to a digitalisation and content awareness journey.
When you look back at your career what has been the most memorable achievement?
The biggest achievement would be helping a start-up entrepreneur, looking for a space in this highly competitive world, using our technology to create an opportunity for them to serve their customers, and ours, with the right technology. While this has been the narrative for a while, we are still seeing IT and telecommunications converging, because customer demands are changing. For me, the most memorable achievements do not hinge on big financial gains necessarily, but rather helping a smaller business digitalise and step up the competitive plate to compete against bigger rivals and provide their customers with the best possible services to meet their needs, using our technology.
What made you think of a career in technology?
I became involved in technology at a time when most people wanted to have careers in technology. That said, this is a very dynamic landscape that is constantly changing, which allows me to continuously grow as I navigate the changes that my clients must go through to remain relevant and be successful. Technology helps enterprises deliver their best in business and deliver value to their clients, so working with these clients to find the right solution to enhance their business operations in terms of excellence of operations, saving costs and driving efficiency is very gratifying. The satisfaction I get from helping a client meet their operational objectives reminds me why I entered the world of technology.
What style of management philosophy do you employ at your current position?
I believe in taking a collaborative approach to management, playing on everyone’s strengths to help the team and organisation fulfil its mandate and deliver to its clients.
What is your style as a team leader?
I like comparing my team environment to an orchestra. We all work together, bringing different elements (sounds) to the work environment, working in harmony to create a final product or a symphony of solutions that enhance our clients’ businesses. When this team work comes together, we can help our clients, partners and channel in the most agile and effective way so that they, in turn, can deliver results for their customers. We don’t have a defined approach to communication, but because each member of the team knows what their role is, they are able to work together closely and know exactly when it is their time to step up and take control. So, on the surface it’s very much orchestrated and synchronised. This is the way in which we work and manage each other.
What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2019?
Times have changed. Where in the past we had four or five technology providers that we were dependent on, we are now spoilt for choice with a lot of start-up players with innovative solutions continuously emerging. We have moved beyond the Internet era building communication layer, data centres after the industrial era building machines and in today’s world it is all about the ‘colour’ you add to the technology. The focus has shifted from the basic infrastructure to the value or ‘colour’ that is layered on top. It is that ‘colour’ or differentiators that enable so many start-up technologies and new entrepreneurs to enter the world of technology. Cloud is most definitely a buzzword that continues to come up in business discussions. So, as technology providers we need to continuously evolve to ensure we support this move to the cloud, providing the technology that supports it. If you look at Nokia, we start from under the sea, with major optical connectivity that connects the major data centres around the globe. Then we go to the surface with our network virtualisation to be the glue between private and public clouds to serve our clients in the most agile, secure manner and cost-effective way by offering Nuage networks SD-WAN Platform.
What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?
I like spending time with my wife and my two children, or just having a conversation with a close friend. I am also very fond of music, reading and enjoy swimming.
How do you cope with stress and demands of your career?
In my opinion, stress is not necessarily a bad thing that needs to be managed. Instead, I rather see it as part of our daily routine where we live with it enjoy our challenges and achievements. That said, we all need time to recharge our batteries and relax, to return and continue tackling those challenges.
My family plays a big role in this. Having a conversation with my two-year-old son and six-year-old daughter is one of the fast-charging ways. Reading a fictional book can also be very fulfilling.
Swimming is another quick time out to return to the court with a full battery and clear vision and. This is not to serve any sub-sea optical objectives – I go under water and I detox electronically, which enables me to come back refreshed and ready to take on the challenges that this industry presents.
What gives you great job satisfaction?
I would be very happy to see a young organisation or a young entity idea come to life based on our technology and solutions.