In this exclusive interview with Mrs. Doris, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at SFI BANK, we explore her extraordinary career journey, highlighting key moments and decisions that have shaped her path. With a profound desire to create a better world through finance, Mrs.Doris embarked on a mission to establish a bank that prioritizes people over profits, overcoming numerous challenges along the way.
As a seasoned expert, Mrs. Doris provides insights into the Gulf market’s trajectory for the next decade, envisioning it as the world’s financial hub. She shares her approach to continuous learning and professional development, emphasizing daily reading, relentless study, and adaptability to navigate the evolving financial landscape.
Mrs. Doris also reveals her strategies for fostering innovation and creativity within her team, emphasizing the importance of embracing individual passions and dreams. In a region that values authenticity and selflessness, she underscores the significance of sustainability and corporate responsibility in the Gulf’s dynamic business landscape.
Join us as we gain invaluable insights from Mrs. Doris, a visionary leader dedicated to reshaping the finance industry for a more compassionate and inclusive future.
Would you mind recounting your career trajectory, emphasizing pivotal moments or decisions that have been instrumental?
I started my career in Finance and Investment in 2012. I chose this path after a trip I took to Central Africa in 2008, which made me realize the importance of innovative financing to accelerate the development of Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Eastern Europe. I was born and raised in Canada but am of African origin and always wanted to give back to my roots through a fulfilling career path. I studied Corporate Banking, Finance, and international business and specialized in Alternative Investments. I was a banker in my college years. I was trained on the biggest Stock Exchanges in the world and became an Investment Banker. Once I saw how much funds banks moved around the world in a single day, even during financial crises, I decided to create a bank that would use the Power of Finance in the Service of Humanity. I have dedicated the past 12 years of my life to this project.
In the Financial World, people are cutthroat, not always ethical, and, for the most part, put profits before people. Thus, my humanitarian and philanthropic vision of banking was very challenging to bring forward in a world that strives to take rather than give. But with God’s help and guidance, this bank is seeing the day in this year of 2024 after many sacrifices beyond words, hard work, and overcoming mountains of obstacles. It is an honor for us to be able to bring this project to the world as the first bank ever in the world to put people before profits.
What motivated you to pursue a career in this particular field?
The desire to make this world a better place.
How do you handle setbacks or failures in your professional journey?
I prayed nonstop, and regardless of all the times I wanted to give up, I remembered that all great achievements require perseverance, confidence in the belief that we are going to make it even when we don’t know how and when. My unwavering faith in God kept me going, gave me strength, courage, and wisdom in impossible situations and circumstances I encountered tirelessly.
Can you share a project or initiative you’re particularly proud of?
I am proud that we are opening our first branches across the Middle East and Africa, God willing, before the end of 2024.
As a seasoned expert, what projections can you make about the Gulf market’s trajectory in the next decade?
The Gulf is going to become the financial hub of the world. We aim to be the banking partner of reference for large institutional investors, public investors, and corporations of all sizes seeking globalization.
What’s your approach to continuous learning and professional development?
I focus on daily reading, constant study, the utilization of technology, and maintaining a flexible and adaptable mindset. I am always prepared to embrace the next adventure that life offers, so that I can stay updated with the changing markets.
How do you foster innovation and creativity within your team or organization?
We let people be themselves, encourage them to share their passions and dreams, and tailor their tasks accordingly.
In the current Gulf business scenario, how important do you deem sustainability and corporate responsibility?
The Gulf is all about authenticity and selflessness; they focus on heritage for the next generation. Thus, being sustainable and responsible in your corporation is the only way to be part of such a culture. It’s the natural thing to do and the path to embrace.
Finally, what book or resource has had the most impact on your professional life?
There is only one book that I truly care about above all others: it’s the Holy Bible. It’s the book with all the answers to any questions that are asked, will be asked, or have ever been asked. It’s also the book that wipes away tears, and brings a smile in the middle of despair, hope in hopelessness, courage amid fear, power in the face of defeat, and solutions when all hell breaks loose.
However, I have read the Quran to understand the culture of Islam, and it has many stories in common with the Bible, such as Yusuf, Ibrahim, and Musa. I also like the story of Mujadila (Surah Al-Mujadila – 1-22). We are more alike than we are different.
I use this opportunity to say that as a Christian, I am charmed and impressed by the kindness and authenticity of the Muslims in the Gulf region. They are wonderful and admirable people; it’s like paradise on Earth. I feel so safe here, and I am convinced that one day the world will agree with me.
Connect with Mrs. Doris on LinkedIn.