Letter from the Chair - May Nasrallah

06 Aug 2018

Dear Members and Friends,

It is a great honour for me to have been entrusted by the Board of LIFE to Chair this remarkable organisation and a real privilege to have the opportunity to engage such an accomplished group of Lebanese globally. 
I would firstly like to thank Marc Malek for his leadership and tireless commitment over the past 4 years as parting Chair.   

I look forward to working with the new Board, the superb management team led by Nadine Massoud and of course each and every one of you in building on our strengths and accomplishments to drive LIFE to achieve new heights. I believe it is incumbent upon each of us as LIFE members to represent a beacon of hope on how a well governed, well run and well executed organisation with a cohesive vision and plan, can in fact have a meaningful impact not only on Lebanese finance professionals in the diaspora but also on Lebanon itself. 

In my role as Chair, I plan to dedicate my time and efforts on enhancing our value proposition, broadening our appeal to include new verticals, building a self-sustainable financial structure for our organisation and harnessing our collective energy to bolster our next generation of professionals as well as boosting our country’s economy. 

To note on our three pillars:

Connect:
Connect has been instrumental in creating a solid professional and personal network for all of us globally. We need to ensure that we continue to enhance our value proposition and enrich LIFE’s offering through unique and attractive content that is value accretive to our constituents and to adjacent professions such as consulting, fintech, legal and insurance. Our challenge going forward is to adapt to our global members’ needs in a rapidly evolving environment while providing a personalised offering for the varying profiles of our constituents.  

Nurture:
Nurture has been extremely successful over the years and has helped and guided our younger generations with over 190 scholars supported since inception, 122 of whom have graduated and found jobs thanks to the LIFE network. As we continue to grow, specific attention will be required to increase diversity in gender and socio-economic backgrounds as well as expanding our placement efforts across sectors globally. In line with our efforts to expand across the broader finance ecosystem, we will also look to extend our support for candidates interested in adjacent areas including technology and entrepreneurship more broadly, perhaps in collaboration with other organisations with a similar ethos.

Promote:  
Given the precarious economic situation in Lebanon, there is much more we can do in order to contribute towards more employment opportunities and economic development by focusing on lending our expertise to the relevant policy makers to advance important priorities such as fiscal consolidation, debt management, better governance and transparency. While Promote has made a difference on the ground in Lebanon through a number of initiatives such as Lebanon for Entrepreneurs, the LIFE/Endeavor Business summit and the Policy Initiative Committee program, I remain convinced our organisation has acquired the credibility and independence required to continue helping to build a stronger, sustainable and financially stable Lebanon.

The Future of LIFE: Content, Impact, Beyond Finance:
While LIFE has grown over the past nine years and has reached an organisational maturity we can be proud of, I believe it is an appropriate time to focus on where we would want to be 10 years from now. I am a strong believer in the power and impact of LIFE on a broader scale, beyond finance. LIFE itself can continue to focus on its own value proposition through its pillars and strategy of servicing the finance professionals in the diaspora. However, the creation of an enhanced LIFE umbrella can lend our experience, our corporate governance, our structure, our skill set and track record in “powering” other disciplines, such as entrepreneurs, family groups, industrial organisations, healthcare, medicine, education and beyond, where Lebanese are prominent globally. With this, the expanded LIFE, or “Powered by LIFE” will have greater prominence, influence and impact not only on our enhanced Lebanese members but also ultimately on Lebanon itself.

I am keen to debate and explore these dimensions with you in the weeks and months to come. In particular, I would like to hear your views (even if it is just by return email) on the following topics as we further refine our strategy going forward:

  • How do we further enhance and scale our value proposition?
  • What is the most effective way to widen our membership into the broader finance ecosystem?
  • Is this the right time to proceed beyond finance into new disciplines? If so, how?
  • How much of an investment and commitment are we prepared to make to create a lasting impact on the ground?

A further forum to debate these points openly will be during the Senior Offsite to be held in November, although I look forward to hearing your thoughts beforehand.

In summary, I have been proud to be actively involved in LIFE since inception and it is a pleasure and a privilege to assume the role of Chair of this formidable organisation. I am committed to provide LIFE with the leadership, oversight, commitment and dedication necessary to build upon our successes, expand our reach and bolster our impact to ensure an even stronger LIFE going forward. 

For us to achieve these goals, there is no doubt in my mind that I will need your help, each and every one of you, as individual members to work with me, the Board and the management team to further grow and enhance LIFE to make a lasting impact and handover an even better, stronger organisation for the next generations to carry forward and be proud of.

My Warmest Regards, 

May Nasrallah
Chair of the Board