‘Search for the value in criticism’: five minutes with UAE’s Heba AlSamt

By on 28/11/2022 | Updated on 29/11/2022

The awaan manager at Dubai Media Incorporated tells Global Government Forum about the draw of the civil service, venturing outside your comfort zone and UAE’s ‘Projects of the 50’

What drew you to a career in the civil service?

The civil service allows me to work for my country and its citizens. It offers an attractive and challenging career to ambitious graduates and trainees in a wide variety of roles.

What have you achieved in your career that you’re most proud of?

Establishing and managing an integrated digital media department in a leading government incorporated, managing social media accounts, websites and an online video on demand platform.

What barriers or challenges have you overcome in your career?

I have faced challenges that have threatened to take me off ‘my game’ but have had the confidence to get comfortable with those challenges and to overcome them. I am clear on my purpose and on what I am trying to achieve.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your working life?

Venture outside of your comfort zone, think of yourself as a lifelong learner, and search for the value in feedback and criticism.

Which country’s government or civil service are you most inspired by and why?

Austria, which ranks highly in the World Bank’s Government Effectiveness Index.

Are there any projects or innovations in the UAE that might be valuable to your peers overseas?

UAE’s ‘Projects of the 50’ initiatives. [These are a series of developmental and economic projects covering sectors such as space and advanced technologies that aim to transform UAE into a hub for talent and investment].

What attributes do you most value in people?

Humility and the ability to accept and love ourselves the way we are, without pretensions. Also, the ability to learn – and not just in a pure-knowledge way but in a life changing way.

Is there something about you that people find surprising? 

How calm and patient I am.

What is your favourite thing to do at the weekend?

Spend it with my daughter.

Who is your hero?

My father has always been and will always be my hero.

Read more from our ‘Five minutes with’ series:
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‘Great projects are being pushed out slowly and quietly’: five minutes with… Iceland’s Vigdís Jóhannsdóttir
‘They call it public service for a reason; you are serving something that is bigger than yourself’: five minutes with Stephen Burt, chief data officer of Canada

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About Mia Hunt

Mia is a journalist and editor with a background in covering commercial property, having been market reports and supplements editor at trade title Property Week and deputy editor of Shopping Centre magazine, now known as Retail Destination. She has also undertaken freelance work for several publications including the preview magazine of international trade show, MAPIC, and TES Global (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) and has produced a white paper on energy efficiency in business for E.ON. Between 2014 and 2016, she was a member of the Revo Customer Experience Committee and an ACE Awards judge. Mia graduated from Kingston University with a first-class degree in journalism and was part of the team that produced The River newspaper, which won Publication of the Year at the Guardian Student Media Awards in 2010.

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