It’s funny how in life, we tend to start out working towards a certain career path that would only lead us somewhere else. This was the case with Nouf Al Hajri, who’s six-year journey with PH7 Group, one of Kuwait’s leading publishing houses, led her to eventually operate the Group as General Manager and Project Manager for the prestigious annual Kuwait Yacht Show. A true optimist, it is Nouf’s unwavering belief that there is goodness in everyone, anything and everything, that directs all of her energy toward making her projects succeed.
With an educational background in political science and international relations, Nouf’s career in publishing came as a surprise to her. “My journey with PH7 Group began back in 2010 when my sister was working as an editor for the group and she had to leave to continue her studies. The publishing house was looking for a replacement and she had nominated me based on my ridiculous collection of Moleskines filled with thoughts on life, personal diaries, quotes and Arabic poems. PH7 had introduced Arabic at that time to one of its publications and I fit the post. I started as a Junior Editor for Men’s Passion, then Senior Editor of THE TALK, and Managing Editor for Seas & Deserts until I was appointed General Manager of the Group.”
Armed with the belief that content should always have a purpose and goal in both the short and long term sense, she embarked on her journey with an open mind and her collection of notebooks, and never looked back. To this day, Nouf always gets a thrill out of the ability to create, be it in publishing or the events that PH7 are renowned for successfully managing. She said, “I’ve also been privileged to have built so many great relationships with industry leaders, business owners, governmental bodies gaining invaluable lessons from the best people in our society through my journey with PH7. Even the challenges and hurdles we faced, they gave us an incredibly resilient attitude in the face of hardships.”
Two years into Nouf’s journey with the publishing Group, she experienced their first event: the successful 2012 launch of Azimut Yachts on behalf of their client, Seas & Deserts group. This inspired the team to build on the Gulf nation’s love of the sea and marine lifestyle – and thus the Kuwait Yacht Show was born, and as Project Manager of the newly formed events division for PH7 group, Nouf is truly a valuable member in making the KYS the grand annual event it has been for the past three years. The task can be daunting, but she’s always ready to tackle it and turn it into something spectacular! “Managing KYS is a privilege that comes with great responsibilities. Luckily, I have grown not to believe in barriers. If one has a vision, one has to persevere and be prepared for all the inevitable obstacles that need to be overcome.”
Since its inception in 2013, the KYS has been adding new elements with every new edition. Their hard work truly paid off when the team first launched the event with the presence of five Kuwaiti Ministers of State. “After the First Edition, our crowning achievement was to secure the Prime Minister’s patronage. Securing his patronage has put us on a completely different level. It has made us more determined to give Kuwait an annual show befitting its heritage and vision. So, for 2014 and the Second Edition, we doubled the size of the First and it started encompassing more international exhibitors and regional exhibitors – these were the highlights of the Second Edition. The 2015 Third Edition’s highlight was our step towards securing membership of the International Federation of Boat Show Organizers (IFSBO). In 2015 we became part of this prestigious organization, we satisfied all their rules and regulations and we became international. Now, the Kuwait Yacht Show is recognized on the international calendar of boat shows and is part of a global organization.”
Nouf paints a vision of the KYS today, “Attendees of the annual KYS have the possibility to see and experience all the exciting and new happenings the marine industry has to offer from the latest boats and yachts, marine engines and accessories, fishing gear, diving centers and a combined mix of marine lifestyle exhibits offering the complete visitor experience, with something for everyone. The opening ceremony for this year’s edition included an air show by Kuwait Air Force inline with a water formation by the Coast Guard all while the Maritime Rescue Tugboat unleashed water fountains 20 meters far as a sign of opening the show. Sea trials were conducted in the morning before the show opened and guests had an all-yachts-access experience.” This year’s edition, having taken place from the 1st- 4th of February 2016, was the most successful yet, with the involvement of eleven Middle Eastern and Gulf premieres. “The value of the products exhibited was 25 to 30 percent larger than the previous editions – more than USD 100 million dollars so; we can say that the Fourth Edition was truly our best yet!” Something Nouf could definitely be proud of, as she celebrated the end of another successful Yacht Show in her favorite way after dismantling the venue: heading home, straight to bed for uninterrupted sleep.
The avid traveler and busy bee General Manager is a true inspiration to us all, and we can’t help but marvel at how she manages to take on so much responsibility, and now the personal journey that is motherhood, with such poise! Because every admirable leader must be recognized, we’ve decided to get Up Close and Personal with Nouf, hoping she’ll give us an answer to the age old question: “I wonder how she does it?”
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
On a beach in a private island with my husband.
What is your greatest fear?
The Avenues on Friday.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
I don’t know personally but admire – Deepak Chopra.
I know personally and admire – Zeina Mukaddam.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Seriously? Are you kidding me?
What is it that you most dislike?
Which talent would you most like to have?
A photographic memory! Or is it a gift? Both ways I would love to have it.
If you could have any job, what would it be?
The president of the United States.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your most marked characteristic?
Where would you most like to live?
What are your favorite words to live by?
Tomorrow is not a promise. Laugh, love, forgive – Live and let live.
Follow Nouf on Twitter and Instagram @noufilosophy.
Photography by Noura Al Hajeri.