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Bossing It: Encouraging Initiative with Gabriel Chamoun

Bossing It 310 Add to collection

The Talkies’ CEO Gabriel Chamoun talks about the influence of his late grandfather, Camille Chamoun, former president of Lebanon, on his development as a leader and how that shaped him during the times of constant battle

Bossing It: Encouraging Initiative with Gabriel Chamoun

Gabriel Chamoun has been the CEO and a major shareholder at The Talkies since 1991, where he has produced a number of high-end TV commercials, feature films and series. He is also vice-president at Fondation Liban Cinema, which aims to support and finance local Lebanese cinema. Raised by some quite influential leaders of his time, and in one of the most politically conflicted countries in the world, his surroundings have fostered in Gabriel a passion for leadership, storytelling and authenticity. 




LBB> Have you ever felt like you've failed whilst in charge? How did you address the issue and what did you learn from it?



Gabriel> You fail every day! Whether it’s losing a pitch, not managing to convince someone, being late to an appointment, or suggesting a lousy idea… What you learn is to look at the long-term strategic objectives and keep fighting to reach them. Those who don’t fail are those who don’t try (except for Elon Musk, Marc Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates ☺)




LBB> In terms of leadership and openness, what’s your approach there? Do you think it’s important to be transparent as possible in the service of being authentic? Or is there a value in being careful and considered?



Gabriel> I’m a big fan of transparency, openness, and authenticity. When you’re managing a company, you want to keep this culture and try to reduce internal politics in order to retain the good talent and ultimately the clients. I see my team as family members no matter how long they’ve been with the company. Empathy is a buzzword today, but it has always been there at The Talkies.




LBB> As you developed your leadership skills did you have a mentor, if so, who were/are they and what have you learned? And on the flip side, do you mentor any aspiring leaders and how do you approach that relationship?



Gabriel> As I said earlier, my mentors were there when I was growing up. I truly believe in leading by example. For me mentoring is not about lecturing but rather about sharing experience, showing support, encouraging initiative, lifting up the morale, or just being there for the people around you.




LBB> It's been a really challenging year - and that's an understatement. How do you cope with the responsibility of leading a team through such difficult waters?



Gabriel> In hard times, people should stick together. I try to be supportive, I work twice as hard, and try to find solutions 24/7. But as I said above, Lebanese people have unfortunately had to build resilience over the years. So Covid 19 is just another one of these storms that will eventually pass.




LBB> This year has seen the industry confronted with its lack of action/progress on diversity and inclusion. As a leader how have you dealt with this?



Gabriel> I have not realized it’s different from other years in this regard. I think the crisis affects everyone equally. For many people, working from home has allowed them to remain closer to their families, so I think there’s a benefit here. I have always recruited and promoted people based on merit and this will not change.




LBB> How important is your company culture to the success of your business? And how have you managed to keep it alive with staff working remotely in 2020?



Gabriel> The culture has always been there, and according to our clients, a major reason for remaining loyal to The Talkies. The problem we faced on a couple of occasions was with people we recruited recently and who had never experienced the “company culture” in presence. That led to many challenging situations indeed.




LBB> What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help you along your leadership journey?



Gabriel> My wife, who’s not in the business or same industry often gives me an external perspective on things that I’m not capable of seeing. In addition, she has a very critical eye, so she notices things I may have skipped. Very helpful. Guess who’s getting a good meal tonight. :) )


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The Talkies, Thu, 02 Dec 2021 14:23:28 GMT