Back in November 2017, Natasha Nelson spoke with excitement about her upcoming Middle Eastern adventure. Recently we caught up with Natasha to find out whether her hopes and dreams for a new life in Dubai have been realised.
What were your first impressions of Dubai and working there?
I had never been to Dubai in my life, but I’m the kind of person who jumps into something. I’d lived in built up cities before, but the bizarre constructions with holes, tiers, and enormous heights along with the huge amount of building work you see in Dubai, are extraordinary. The sheer scale of the city built in the middle of a desert is amazing. As for work, I hit the ground running, a lot was happening and there were a lot of projects.The work escalated and it was challenging, especially when you’re working four hours ahead of some of your colleagues back home and have a different weekend.
What’s been the greatest difficulty?
Investor Relations is so new over here that we have to spend a lot of time supporting clients and explaining what they have to do. We are generating the majority of the content for them, and having to translate that into Arabic. You get really deeply involved throughout the report process than maybe we do in the UK, where IR and reporting is more developed.
And the highlights?
The blood sweat and tears of the last year have paid dividends, and we have had some great feedback from the clients. What’s more, we are being recognised by other organisations, even competitors, as experts within our field and that has been quite wonderful. The collaborations and working with Edinburgh, have been amazing and what comes from all that hard work is great comms work and even a couple of awards - DP World (this was all London - I’m not taking credit), Almarai, Savola and Aldar were all in the top 10 reports in the Middle East Investor Relations Association Awards.
What goals do you have for the future?
My aim was to contribute to something I could help shape and grow, translating what we do so well in the UK to the Middle East. There’s a market for what we offer, along with all our other propositions like sustainability and employee engagement. The more our clients in Dubai, Saudi and Qatar open themselves up to international investment, the more need there is for companies to be answering these sorts of questions. We are poised and ready to seize those opportunities, and it’s a less contested landscape than the UK.
What are you working on at the moment?
We are knee-deep in delivering annual reports. It’s all December year-ends over here, which makes it even more fun! So pleased to have more support on the ground this year and it’s really working well. Seven get signed off by the end of March so it all just gets very busy at the same time. Grateful also for the support we have in the UK and couldn’t do this without the Edinburgh team.
Would you recommend the switch?
Moving to Dubai didn’t phase me but I’m shocked by how difficult it was to move - the visas, the forms, what people don’t tell you. When I get the chance, I’m looking forward to exploring the region and taking up scuba diving but contrary to many people’s expectations, and even though it’s so hot, it doesn’t feel like a holiday. Despite the minor trauma of relocating, looking back on it, and where we are now, I don’t regret anything.