Ten Years of Mastery Playing!
“The Secrets behind the Name of IBDL”
Well, before I start threading my story and not to get anyone disappointed afterwards, I’m not writing a motivation article or sharing an experience. I’m simply conveying the truth!
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway
Today, when I woke up I felt like I want to talk about my journey, which I’m still going on:
My Faith in God:
Egypt Winter 2006/ Saad Sadek’s Farm — Al Amiriyah
My esteemed prof. Saad Sadek listened to me attentively while I was expressing my dreams and ambitions to establish a professional testing platform and design an internationally recognized business administration certifications. After I had finished my talk, he stared at me and told me a quote that will be engraved in my mind forever.
“If God wouldn’t help the man, then the first thing to ruin him is his diligence!”
California winter 2007 / Claremont Graduate University.
With a big smile on his face, my renowned professor exclaimed in delight saying “You say you have a dream of launching a certification in Business Administration equivalent to International Professional Certifications by only YOU “The Egyptian founder”!
The only thing that was wandering in my mind enthusiastically “Yes…I have the right to dream “.
The idea captured my heart and soul and I started a 3D imagination of the IBDL. I tried to hide my disappointment, as such comment seemed ridiculous somehow, especially when it is said by a renowned professor in instructional design. Yet, the funny thing is my esteemed professor is now one of the huge supporters of IBDL certification in the United States and all over the world.
Well, in fact, gentlemen, everything we have in our lives now was someone’s dream one day.
London — summer 2008: I was invited to dinner at a (Sushi samba) restaurant located at the top of (Heron) tower, and this invitation was from my friend (Phill Williams) — MD of one of well-known International Professional Certifications. After we finished our dinner, I offered to pay as a kind of participation or courtesy as I used and that’s how it all began!
He told me with a trace of a smile on his face “Never mind I am wealthier than you!”. I replied with a great sense of humor “So, let’s bring our bank statement “and I know very well that I’m a stone broke comparing to him. While we were sitting there enjoying a breathtaking view at the top of London- eating the finest types of Sushi- and with every hour passed over throughout that day, my company’s account was deposited with flows of cash from testing and training centers all over the world.
At that moment, I told him humorously “One day, I will invite you to dinner and who knows I might be richer and more famous than you are”.
That was the moment that we agreed on the promise which is to be fulfilled ten years later!
I was born in 1979 August 24th at the day of Eid Al-Fitr which is one of the most popular occasions in Muslim communities. My father went to Al-Eid prayer and when he returned back, I was waiting him!
I grew up in a simple and very traditional Egyptian family. Every member of my family works in a simple governmental job with a very narrow-minded perspective to private sectors as they believe that the future belongs to the government’s for them, it is their (comfort zone) as they think that the private sector is simply (cold zone) to work for!
As my family thought of me for many years, I’m a born loser as I wasted a lot of opportunities to join governmental jobs and stepping out of the (comfort zone) which is the favorite to most of them. My family was showering me with flood of accusations of not taking the responsibility basically because I ran away from working for the government. At that time, I was running my profitable start-up company where I earned hundreds of thousands annually and worked for me a fair number of employees.
Without any notice, my friends of my generation left me. I started to make friends with those who are in their fifth decade.
I don’t know why exactly. Maybe, I have always felt that I belong to them and their interesting talk about businesses, start-ups, the challenges and moments of failure and success. What I believe they had and still have a magical effect on my journey as it goes without saying “old is gold”.
Now, when I am encountering a certain business situation or face a challenge; my intuition called one of their golden expertise as it is often the key solution for me.
To my friends, you have my full appreciation and many thanks for giving me your valuable experience with nothing in return!
The Power of Ten
Now, let’s have a quick glance at number (TEN) from December 2006 till December 2016
During these ten years, I got married on (10–10) and God blessed me with a big gift (my five children), Marwan- Mariam- Malak — Malika and my little angle Maya. My sense of responsibility all started and I began to see life from fatherhood perspective to these group of wonderful children sometimes!
During these ten years, both my grandfather and grandmother passed away, with whom I had and still have a love-respect bond, The only solace that keeps me going during my life journey is when I feel their hidden spiritual support which I used to get from them giving me motivation and encouragement, r. “My God, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] little”.
Throughout these ten years, I have learned the ten key rules in my life which are: (Contribution — Cooperation — Willingness — Making Decision — Respect- Responsibility — Self-confidence — Critical Thinking — Focus and Patience).
Social Circles and I
During these ten years, I almost prevented myself from appearing in social communities (conferences, exhibitions, seminars, parties and gathering).
I don’t consider myself as a motivational speaker who talks about his achievement all the time. I’m a kind of modest success seeker whose aim is to succeed, learn from his failure and most importantly work hard to keep the promise of establishing IBDL.
As a founder who strives to stick with his glamorous dream, my passion was totally dedicated to IBDL. Consequently, my time, effort, mind and passion are divided into 80% to my work in IBDL and 20% to my family, I know that this task is nearly impossible, but the credit of all the success I ever achieved and cherish is to my wife… Thank Nada!
Selecting the Co-founders of IBDL
Atlanta summer 2008
During these ten years, I chose the most important founding partners in IBDL. The story begins in Atlanta, the summer time of 2008 when I started to get intensive courses in Entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. I was attending unique workshop called “Selecting the Team of Co founders” Where I have learned the magic rules of establishing a company.
I would like to take this golden chance and share some of these keys,
The First key “The Partner is like a wife”. Obviously, you need to carefully select your wife as you won’t marry a person you have just met.
The Second is: One builds, other manages and the third sells.
The Third: The motives should be integrated in terms of starting point — Goals- Plans — Direction.
The Fourth: Working with smart, committed and positive teams.
The Fifth: The Design of DNA (The Company constitutes of the founders, its culture which is an extension of the founders’ personalities, their cultures and inclinations).
The Sixth: Partner up with generous people with high morals.
The Seventh: Know everything about your partner (Previous Experience, Skills, Relationships, Dreams and capabilities) for the success of your company.
If you want to test these keys you have to know (Adel sadek, and Mustafa Refaat) IBDL co-founder partners.
The Amazing Team (The Armored Battalion)
During these ten years, I had to build the founding team of IBDL and I had two options; the first, was to head-hunt a team of experienced calibers in the field of executive education, professional certificates and international tests management. By doing this, I won’t need time or a lot of effort to train them and I will be playing it safe. The second option was to build a team of fresh-grade juniors with humble experience but have the eagerness to learn, innovate, and be part of different working environments and ready to fight for their passion as well. And those who knows me well will know my choice.
I always find pleasure in working with millennial generation and enjoy seeing them successful in what they are doing. When someone tells me or to anyone of my team members that this is a difficult task, I always say “So? Watch us”, and then we procced to complete the work, and I think we find pleasure in this. I think the most important strength point that I got is to keep looking for the idea, build a team to achieve, work with a shared vision full of excitement and fun.
One of the most important reasons behind the success of IBDL is the diversity in the workplace. Luckily, I have been working with terrific colleagues from Canada, United States, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Malaysia who supported me profoundly and still their giving is abundant thanks to my amazing team.
From Frustration to Optimism
Vienna / Austria — Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I came out angrily from the meeting room in the Park Inn By Radisson after long days of negotiations to get the franchise of one of the European Professional Certificates in Business Administration. We were discussing the contract and at the moment of signing the contract, which was the best thing that happened to me in my career, a disaster stepped in. When a person from Arab origin intervened the meeting to prevent the signing process. At that moment, I was very frustrated.
In that moment I told myself, then this means war either be a victorious or get vanquished. “My challenging mission is to impress the world by providing a model of valuable international qualifications in Business Admiration” that exactly what I told myself when I was standing in front of my mirror constantly to stick with my promise. Later on, I decided to return to Cairo after this furious meeting.
Dubai — November 2007:
During this period, I was living on my own and I worked hard, days and nights, on preparing an integrated study about the finest test platforms in the world, and the most thumping international certifications in all fields. My goal was to build a perception of professional certification and executive education framework to ensure the highest quality of international test models.
Thank Goodness, I designed the initials of feasibility study, bottom lines that could help me to start off my journey.
Designing IBDL Business Model (Readiness for taking off)
Like any start-up business, there were many risks awaiting me when I was establishing the foundation stone of IBDL. The most threatening risk was that I had a vision but I didn’t have the tools to implement the company’s vision or even the business model.
December 2007-Mina House Hotel –Egypt:
Most of the historical incidents were documented in this place and so was the beginning of IBDL. I was setting in the hotel lobby waiting three Irish experts. Their mission was to help me in building IBDL Business Model (Quality System Manual for Operating and Management) and to work on basic standards. They actually added a great value to IBDL by providing manuals and standards which we are using until now.
Venture Capital for Journey:
After we finished the structuring feasibility study and business model. We found that we need significant funding somehow. From here, we began the door-knocking phase to get funds. We did not know when or how we will get this funding (we know it’s a challenging mission).
Here I have to admit that I am a lucky person as we got offered this long-term investment with a Low- return rate to a group of investors from Qatar, United Arab of Emirates and Tunisia. Surprisingly, they agreed on the funding under no conditions or restriction. They simply believed in IBDL as its counterparts in Europe and America
We can develop and provide the executive education to the world!
Recalling the experience when I needed
I have worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) at World Bank Group. in Business edge project. This project aimed to support the small businesses in MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) by designing and providing executive education for owners of small business with a very solid methodology.
Here I have to admit that I was the first beneficiary of this program over several years in the Middle East.
The school was always available for me; there I learned designing the structures of executive education, the design and development of quality systems of operating network of global training centers at the hands of a group of leading experts in the world.
Eventually, I learned to work professionally and ethically. In 2006, I received the best Business Development Award. thanks to IFC!
Alliance with Seniors
Houston United States -February 2008:
To become a great businessman, you have to convince the seniors that you deserve to get a chance. (Only the opportunity and experience!)
Praises be to God, we managed to convince one of the most important international publishing houses (McGraw-Hill) to ally with us in the design of all IBDL educational resources and content of our certification in three languages (Arabic, English and French) by the best Business professors around the world, as what all the top business schools in America and Europe do. (It is an amazing performance for us. Thank God)
Missouri States University — May 2008:
We were close to finishing the mission, which is to convince the university leaders and leaders of Management Development Institute (MDI) to get the IBDL certificates’ recognition and accreditation of IBDL exams based on Professional Testing System in the United States.
Surprisingly, we got the recognition around the world from the University and MDI for our certifications and examinations as a International Professional Certificates!.
He who fears God needs not fear the world
You either make things happen, watching it happens, or deny what is happening. Choose what you want for yourself (it’s the journey of life).
As usual, a group of those who do not make anything happen and deny what is happening. They tried to contact the group of investors in IBDL and told them (Don’t do it! It’s a stolen idea, it is futile, work with us we are the best! …etc.)
A Man of His word:
The answer was shocking actually when one of IBDL investors told them “the first time we met, we saw you at the office of this man and he introduced you as his friends. Also, we didn’t see anything bad from his side and we gave him our word, and the word is (a contract)”. And that’s when I learned that all i have owned in this life is my word. I strive to keep it as much as possible.
Playing several shirts!
I had to come down to the stadium and playing with several shirts because i wasn’t able to provide the necessary money. Things usually go like this when you run a new business which is growing day by day. and Later on, when the company grows and has its assets to protect, it is bearable then and your role as CEO will be restricted to the strategic and leading role.
During these ten years, my mission was to work on the company’s growth, building its assets, products and trademark. I was and still trying to pave the way as soon as possible and I knew very well how things go. Now, it is easier for me to choose other Players and give them IBDL shirts and welcoming them to play together!
Working with Real Experts!
Throughout these ten years, it was and still one of my favorites is sitting for hours with real experts whenever I have a chance. This gives me the opportunity to learn and discuss the challenges that IBDL face which could halt or delay the company’s growth.
I always remember the most important meetings that contributed in the company’s growth and picturing them in my mind. Thus, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to them. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to retrieve these valuable memories.
• Houston— Missouri — Dubai — Qatar — Cairo — Luxor: Several meetings with Scot Scobee and Glenn Pace whom are senior experts in Human Resource Development (GPHR) .They provided IBDL with smart solutions to build human capital and link them with IBDL certifications.
• Dallas — Houston — Riyadh: Experience of working with Pat Woods-CEO founder of Supply Chain Education in Texas.
• Minnesota — Cairo — Doha: Experience of working with John Kaliski and Phil Anderson from Minnesota and OAKTREE Business Simulation . They provided us with valuable and effective consultancies about the development of online tests and education platforms.
• Missouri — Houston — Doha — Dubai — Cairo: Experience of working with Rayanna Anderson-Director of Technology Development Center and Small Enterprises. Allen Kunkel- President of Gordon Valley of Creativity. They were and still a large business incubator for us.
• Around the world: Finally, the experience of working with my best friend Jeffrey Schmedeke-Director of MDI. Jeff was and still the best one I have worked closely with him for long periods. He is such an objective person, honest, positive and neutral mentor. He has a lot of viable ideas and more interestingly he is good at developing business and gives generously. Thanks Jeff for being part of IBDL!
The world is waiting for us!
Products is first, Borders is second, then Restrictions
I’ve always been convinced that the whole world is waiting for our products!
During these ten years, I enjoyed the experience of exploring things in more than 40 countries, we have begun in the United States, where we worked with the community colleges in the rehabilitation and testing of youth in essential Business Management Skills to join the labor market or even the establishment of start-ups. Then, the experience of working in India in helping millennials to get professional management skills to work in start-ups or get job offers abroad. After that, I had the experience of working in MENA region where we have the Arabic version of IBDL products and certifications in more than 20 countries. And then the work experience in countries of Morocco and West Africa, where we presented the French version to more than 25 countries. Following that IBDL was conducted in South and East African countries.
Finally, I worked in Southeast Asia and now we are trying to hit the Chinese market next year, God willing!
Now after ten years of establishing IBDL, I still feel like a beginner who has the same fear, the same passion and the same happiness. This feeling that I have been talking about throughout my story. The feeling of cold zone which I love!
Now, IBDL became stable, flexible and prevalent.
IBDL today is not a dream, it is a promise. A promise that Egyptians and Arabs are able to jumping forward and bring about making change and participation in the formation of the next generation of professionals around the world!