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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Empowering Youth and Breaking Barriers: An Interview with Solange El Rassi

Solange El Rassi is the Head of Corporate Communications  at Al Aan TV,  a Dubai-based pan-Arab satellite channel. With over a decade of experience in the media industry, Solange has established herself as a respected professional known for her communication and public relations expertise. 

She holds a Masters degree in Journalism from the Lebanese University and has worked with various media organizations, including MBC Group and Sky News Arabia.

In her current role, Solange oversees the channel’s communication strategy, manages media relations, and ensures the brand’s reputation remains strong. She is passionate about empowering youth and promoting humanitarian causes and is known for her dedication to fostering creativity and innovation among young people. Learn more through our interview below.

Can you tell us about your career journey and how you became the Head of Corporate Communications at Al Aan TV?

My professional journey began with an internship at Annahar, one of the most prominent newspapers in Lebanon. It was an excellent opportunity to learn the ropes of the profession. After that, I worked as a press officer in the Lebanese Parliament with the former displaced minister, where I gained experience in public relations and government affairs.

In 2006, I relocated to Egypt to join the Choueiri Group, where I oversaw MBC’s business in the MENA region. In 2015, I moved to Abu Dhabi to work at SkyNews Arabia as a Senior Director for customer relations. In this role, I worked with both governmental entities and direct clients to create world-class advertising campaigns. During my time at SkyNews Arabia, I gained valuable experience in public relations, media, and communications, which set me up for my current role.

I am the Head of PR & Corporate Communications at Al Aan TV, where I develop strategic plans for public relations and communications. As the official spokesperson for the channel, I represent it at various events and engagements. Overall, my journey has been an exciting and rewarding one, and I am grateful for the opportunities I have had along the way. Each role has taught me valuable skills and helped me grow as a professional, leading me to where I am today.

What is your advice for beginners?

Humanitarian stories can be more compelling and engaging than generic news coverage. For beginners, my advice is to prioritize building connections with people and communities, as being close to your sources can often lead to more successful reporting. Building trust with sources is crucial in getting the inside scoop on stories and finding unique angles to cover. Additionally, it’s important to stay curious and constantly seek out new stories and sources to expand your network. It’s also important to be persistent and tenacious in pursuing a story. Sometimes, getting a source to speak to or uncover new information may take multiple attempts. However, this persistence can often lead to breakthroughs and exclusive stories.

Another piece of advice is to continually hone your writing and reporting skills. This includes reading widely, practising writing regularly, and seeking feedback from more experienced journalists. It’s essential to maintain integrity and objectivity in your reporting. This means being honest about your biases and striving to present a fair and balanced portrayal of events and people. Ultimately, journalism is about telling stories and uncovering new information; through these stories, we can create a more informed and empathetic world.

How do you balance your role as a spokesperson with your other responsibilities, such as hosting the program ‘Tele Thérapie’ on Al Aan TV?

Media and journalism have been my passion since childhood. As the head of communications for the channel and a TV host, I prioritize maintaining a balance between my two roles, even with other responsibilities. While it’s not always easy, my determination, passion, and ambition, along with my employer’s and management’s support and guidance, have enabled me to navigate both roles smoothly.

How do you motivate your team to go the extra mile? 

Motivating a team to go the extra mile is essential for achieving success in any workplace. Tinypulse, an employee engagement software, conducted a study asking employees about their motivations to go above and beyond. The top three responses were the camaraderie and peer motivation, feeling encouraged and recognized, and an intrinsic desire to do well. These findings align with my approach to motivating my team. I maintain close relationships with them, provide ongoing support, guidance, and inspiration, and encourage a collaborative and supportive work environment to help everyone succeed.

How do you think technology is leading to changes in businesses? 

Technology has revolutionized the way businesses operate and has led to significant changes in areas ranging from marketing, promotion, and sales to accounting. For instance, the development of Chat GPT, an AI algorithm that understands and generates human-like language, has transformed the way businesses communicate and share information.

Moreover, technology has become integral to human life, facilitating communication, enhancing productivity, and streamlining various business processes such as manufacturing, purchasing, advertising, and sales. As a result, businesses are now better equipped to achieve their objectives with greater ease and effectiveness.

You have been involved in various youth-oriented events. How do you believe these events help empower youth, and what is your message to young people? 

I strongly believe in the crucial role of youth as today’s pillars and tomorrow’s future in line with Al Aan TV’s slogan, “The story belongs to everyone.” However, many young people often feel unheard and undervalued. In all the activities, workshops, and events that I organize, I ensure that I highlight and promote the talents of young people and provide them with a platform to express themselves freely.

My dedication to empowering youth spans all areas, and I have been instrumental in fostering creativity and innovation among youngsters. Through various workshops and sessions, I have shared valuable insights and concepts with university students, motivating them to pursue their career goals and ambitions. My focus is to empower young people in diplomatic work, raise their awareness of body language best practices, and encourage them to maintain a positive attitude for success in their personal and professional lives. The results of my efforts have been significant, and it’s gratifying to see young people thrive and make a real difference in the world.

My advice to young people is to always stay true to yourselves, express their thoughts and feelings without hesitation, seize every opportunity that comes their way, remain positive, and continue to nurture their creativity.

Tell us about your views on women in the media industry and the challenges that she faces.

The media industry plays a crucial role in shaping public opinion and creating cultural narratives. Women have made significant contributions to the industry and have been breaking barriers in various media professions, such as journalism, film, television, and advertising. However, despite their accomplishments, fewer women hold top management positions compared to men.

Women in the media industry face unique challenges in balancing their professional and personal lives. The industry is known for its long and unpredictable hours, which can make it difficult for them to fulfil their family obligations and responsibilities. Additionally, women in the media industry often work in high-pressure environments with tight deadlines and constantly shifting demands. This can make it difficult for them to plan and manage their time effectively, leading to additional stress and tension in their personal lives.

What are your future plans and aspirations in your role as the Head of Corporate Communications at Al Aan TV? 

My goal is to inspire and encourage the younger generation, serving as a positive influence and role model within this industry. I am committed to assisting needy individuals and seeking compelling humanitarian stories that deserve attention. My passion for working in this field drives me, and I aspire to contribute to the betterment of our world, people, and the planet by tackling the various challenges that we face.

Would you like to tell anything else to our viewers?

Maintain a positive and optimistic outlook, exert relentless effort to accomplish your aspirations, and refuse to let anyone dampen your spirits or discourage you. Remember, life is full of ups and downs, and facing obstacles and challenges along the way is natural. However, it is essential to stay positive and optimistic, as this can help you overcome difficult situations and make the most of the opportunities that come your way. It is also crucial to work tirelessly towards achieving your goals and dreams. Hard work, dedication, and perseverance can help you reach your desired destination and lead a fulfilling life.

If you are unhappy with where you are, don’t be afraid to make a change and seek what you truly desire. Take care of your physical and mental health, as they are the key to leading a happy and fulfilling life. Finally, cherish and prioritize your relationships with family and loved ones, as they are the ones who will always stand by your side and bring you true joy and happiness.

Connect with Solange El Rassi on LinkedIn.

Find Al Aan TV on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Twitter.

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