This isn’t the first time LebNet hosts a panel on building sustainable careers and businesses, but it’s the first time it does it in Phoenix Arizona. 

October 23rd, 2019 marked the first event organized by LebNet’s newly launched community in Arizona. It is led by Dr. Lina Karam, a Full Professor in the School of Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering, the Director of the R&D Image, Video, and Usability (IVU) Lab, the President of PICARIS, LLC, and the Editor-In-Chief of the IEEE Journal. 

“I heard about LebNet through a colleague who works at Qualcomm. As an engineer who worked with industry and professional organizations on initiatives and networking events to push forward  innovations and entrepreneurship, and knowing that we have a relatively large community of Lebanese descent in Arizona, I reached out to LebNet and proposed that we start a LebNet Arizona community,” explained Dr. Karam. 

A cake to celebrate the launch of LebNet Arizona’s community

George Akiki, the CEO of LebNet, kicked off the event which was held at the University Club at Arizona State University with the great help of the President of the Lebanese Student Association at the university, Karam Abi Karam. Akiki gave an overview of LebNet’s activities, programs, membership benefits and communities, in front of an audience of 40 people. 

The speakers, who came from different backgrounds, shared tips on how young professionals can progress in their careers and achieve bigger goals. 

 The panel was moderated by Dr. Karam and featured Aziz M. Safa, vice president and interim Chief Information Officer of Intel Corporation; Glen Abousleman, Ph.D., Director of the Tactical Algorithms Laboratory at General Dynamics Mission Systems; Kamil Kaloush, Ph.D., P.E., Professor of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, ASU and Director of the National Center of Excellence on SMART Innovations; and John Matta, Engineer at Water Works Engineers. 

Here are their 6 tips on how people can advance in their careers:

1- Don’t be invisible. One of the most important factors determining success in the corporate world is the ability to communicate well and convince management to adopt a certain proposal. 

“If you are invisible you tend not to progress in your career,” said Abousleman. 

2- Don’t ask for permission. When managers focus on a certain line of thinking within their projects or missions, they sometimes reject new suggestions fearing these will ruin the plan.  Abousleman advises employees to believe in their ideas and just execute it.

“Try not to ask for permission to do things, just do them. Instead of asking [the managers for permission] I would go do it then present results after I achieved a certain level.”

3- Consider it a marathon. Succeeding in the business world requires a high level of resilience and endurance. Ideas will get rejected a lot and that’s normal. Ambitious professionals must endure, accept failure and keep trying to succeed. 

“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You fail then you will succeed. Get used to it, don’t give up,” said Matta 

4- Know your boss and leave your comfort zone. Another interesting point highlighted by Matta was the employees’ responsibility to understand their boss’ mentalities and mold their proposals to fit into their expectations. He also pointed at the importance of constantly looking for new challenges at work or outside.  “If your job doesn’t stress you, find another one. Look for a new challenge and keep yourself in an uncomfortable position. That’s how you succeed and progress.”

5-Work beyond your scope of expertise. Employees must be flexible enough to adopt new skills and move from one area to another at work at a quick pace. Those who want to move up need to be patient, authentic, and keep up with the ever changing tech trends. 

“It used to take us 10 years to change a system. Now we do it every 6 months. Many companies have now disappeared because they did not keep up. That’s the new shift in the mindset,” said Safa. 

6- Always remember to be passionate. This isn’t a clichéd advice. Even the brightest employees can lose interest or fail due to a lack of interest. Kaloush strongly believes that if someone really likes what they’re doing, their chances of success will be higher. 

“I would not get a PhD into transportation if I didn’t like it. Enjoy your work and advance, innovate, make a change in your daily life and move on in your education.”

As a first in Arizona, LebNet’s event drew 40 people who showed interest in forming an active community to help each other and share the knowledge. The next step for this community is to elect a steering committee and start discussing potential events.