The evolution of a CEO as a leader with Fadi Ghandour

August 3, 2018 by STEP Conference

In a conversation with Wamda’s Fadi Ghandour, Hande Cilingir, CEO at Insider and Hosam Arab, CEO at Namshi share their stories as founders, and CEOs, discussing how one should deal with changing roles as leaders for the sake of their people and the business itself.

The chat kicked-off with Hande and Hosam noting that people’s motivation and company’s culture are their main concerns as CEOs. 

According to Hosam, his transition from being a founder to becoming a CEO supported him in maintaining the company’s culture which is very important for a company’s sustainability and success. Fadi Ghandour then approved, by saying that although his transition to different positions was always accidental, he was always concerned about his team’s excitement to the business. 

Hande explained that leadership depends on 2 things when it comes to culture and motivation, which are people’s perception, as in how they choose to perceive you, and the level safety and opportunity that you offer to these people. 

Hosam, on the other hand, said that it’s the threat of competition that drives leadership and pushes his people to initiate a feeling of belonging, winning and survival in the organization. Mentioning that “giving people a sense of belonging to something meaningful is essential to keep a team engaged and motivated.”

As the conversation came to an end, Fadi Ghandour dropped a few concepts to the leader CEOs on stage to share their opinions, and here’s the outcome:

What does it mean to manage from the front-line?

Hosam mentioned the importance of being present while keeping in mind that there are other people managing for you, then Hande agreed and added that confrontation, transparency and communication are also key when it comes to managing from the front-line. 


According to Hande it’s about welcoming people from different backgrounds, as well as ideas related to the product. For Hosam, it’s diversity of skill-sets and backgrounds.


To Hande, it’s about following someone without sometimes even knowing where the business will go, and leading by example. While for Hosam, it’s giving people your word and sticking to it. 


Hande said just act and perform. Hosam, on the other hand, referred back to the concept of tribalism, common mission of surviving and winning, and sharing common goals.

 What do you think you need to build an organization that will thrive and continue even after you?

Culture and people was the answer that both CEOs agreed on. 

From this conversation we can point out the fact that not all CEOs and managers are leaders, although it’s becoming a major need for the sustainability and continuity of businesses. 

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