Dr. Samir Thabet’s life is the stuff dreams are made of. Coming from a Palestinian family, he spent the first 25 years of his life in Libya till he graduated from the University in Tripoli in 1994. Like many Palestinian families, they were forced to leave the country and subsequently moved to Jordan.

Starting a new life was not easy at all. “It made a big change to my perspective of life; it taught me that whenever I face challenges that can’t be resolved, press the delete button and restart a new life.”

After graduating as a Mechanical Engineer, Samir started working in the Construction industry. He served multiple work fronts – from equipment manufacturing to the design and build of electromechanical services, and in recent years, construction megaprojects – wearing the different hats of a Contractor, Consultant, and Project Manager. He is proud to have been part of project teams that delivered numerous iconic buildings in the GCC region, such as hospitals, high-rise buildings (commercial and residential), and oil & gas projects.

Today, he’s based in the Saudi Arabia and is the Corporate Sustainability Manager at Nesma & Partners, a leading contracting company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia specialized in diverse fields such as engineering, construction, electro-mechanical, infrastructure, oil and gas, and hospitality.

Along his journey, Samir realized that learning is an ongoing process, and was thus determined to invest in enhancing his skills. In 2010, he completed his M.Sc. in Business Administration to improve his leadership attributes, and in 2021, he received a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development and Diplomacy to address the new set of global problems shaped by Climate Change.

“Once I noticed that companies in the construction industry were lacking the knowledge necessary to embed Sustainable Principles in their business, I decided to gain the expertise and experience required to assist organizations with their sustainability endeavors. My objective is to use my technical know-how and academic background to develop a sustainable strategy for companies and build the necessary tools to ensure success.”

At the beginning of his professional life when he was a refugee, Samir just wanted to survive and provide his children a better life than the one he faced. In recent years however, his passion for business includes building a sustainable model for business and showing organizations how this model can help them sustain their investment.

A respected industry leader, Samir believes that he must share the knowledge and passion he has with other people. This prompted him to take up teaching and trying to help others become better informed on how to recognize and pursue their passions. He also provided many lectures and webinars on Sustainability in both English and Arabic at various conferences, local universities, and schools.

On a personal level, he decided to build a ‘green home’ and used all applicable materials that reduced energy and water consumption by 50% each. His intention was to show that at a minimal cost, a sustainable home is feasible and also promotes human health and environmental protection.

Samir’s other proud achievement was being chosen among ESG Power 50 in the Middle East for embedding the ESG culture and sustainable practices into corporate strategies and driving sustainability in the GCC region. Besides that, he has received various sustainable awards for his work at different companies.

How did he overcome his share of challenges, we ask him. “My desire to succeed professionally pushed me to set aside my own well-being. After I got married, I realized that creating a harmonious work-life integration is critical to improve not only my physical and mental well-being, but also my career. Therefore, I decided to only join companies that are committed to providing environments which support work-life balance for their employees.” 

As a leader, Samir believes that delegating work goes a long way in achieving work-life balance. “It helps me work more efficiently on tasks that need my specific attention. Plus, it allows my team members to strengthen their skills. The common thing I learned while working with various organizations is: 1) No one at your company is going to appreciate or love you the way your loved ones do, especially your father and mother 2) Everyone is replaceable at work, and no matter how important I think my job is, the company will not miss me if I am gone.”

All you need to achieve success is working ethically and honestly, says Samir. “Being kind to people is the main reason for a person’s legacy. I try to give whatever I have to help people - I have donated blood 60+ times, I financially supported people for academics, and now I’m teaching. Sharing knowledge is the most powerful tool to inspire people. At work, my door always remains open to all, and I try to assist whenever I can.”

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