Her uniqueness is brimming with life. She pays close attention to details and exudes self-assurance.. wise yet considerate. Her leadership isn’t a recent development; rather, it originates in her childhood and adolescence. She prioritises time and continual growth. In short, success is where Christina Kashar calls home.
Interviewed by: Reem Ibrahim
In your own words, how would you introduce us to Christina Kashar?
I would rather start with my mission statement, “Leading effectively, to contribute in global capacities development.”
Throughout my childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and even now, I’ve always perceived myself as someone with an innate sense of effective leadership, and I daily practise my life mantra, “We are created to evolve and change.”
What was the beginning, and what was your first step in training?
I worked with Marriott International for 17 years, and my last position was as a sales manager for Syria and Lebanon. Throughout this time, I gained global experience in the fields of leadership management, sales, professional communication with clients and working effectively within the team.
When their sales agency in Syria ceased operations and closed in 2010, I knew I wanted to have and run my own business. What motivated me the most was already having an EU-licensed Coaching Expert certificate before Marriott International Office closed. So, I gathered my previous experience in the field and established my training portfolio. Thanks to my highly trustworthy, reliable relationships and connections, I have begun my training in counselling with significant momentum.
What are the most important stages in your career?
The most important stages in my career are divided between:
My contribution as a Syrian expert, the only Arab country with all the international entities mentioned on my LinkedIn account when I trained one of my teachers at the primary school during training sessions that I conducted for the administrative and teaching staff of my primary school “Balabel Al-Mahaba Lourdes”. It was an exceptional experience of appreciation to have with this honourable teacher.
In addition to the many humbling encounters that I have had carrying out my community responsibility as an expert, I volunteer every quarter of a year to train an organisation that I believe in its humanitarian, developmental and charitable goals.
How were you chosen to participate in the book “The Successful Mind” as the only Arab author along with world-known experts?
American publisher Erik Seversen reached out to me via LinkedIn after knowing that I was a graduate of the American Marshall Goldsmith Academy of Leadership and asked me to be a co-author with 32 global experts to write a book called “The Successful Mind.” I asked him then if there were any other Arab authors, and he said that I would be the only one. The idea triggered me to participate and do my best, and, thankfully, our book ranked first among best-selling books via Amazon in the USA and the UK.
What makes Christina Kashar more special than other coaches and professionals?
I’d say it is much of unique than special. Individuality is my signature in training consulting, in addition to attention to the finest details before, during and after training sessions, especially through follow-up mechanisms to measure practical and functional development through applying the training outputs.
What challenges and difficulties do you face at work?
I have yet to face any difficulties or challenges during my local or international work. The main reasons for this are the legislating regulations in my country, Syria, which give us a flexible working environment, along with my own intellectual flexibility in communicating and engaging with all those willing to train and develop.
How do you develop leadership and communication abilities? Does the trainee have to have certain qualities before s/he can be trained by you?
My passion and main goal during my mentoring training is to develop leadership and communication capabilities “to develop a skill and not build one”.
I develop these skills through phases: Pre-course + during the course + after the course.
Pre-course: I study, analyse and tailor the training needs in addition to often meeting up with trainees for half an hour before the course to encourage familiarity by sharing the most important training axes.
During the course: I develop these skills by using the latest strategies, techniques, tools and solutions that can be flexibly applied in our country. My training sessions are known to be interactive, mostly by posing effective questions and queries to the trainees, after which I distribute course completion certificates (completion, not attendance or participation).
After completing the course, I share with the trainees the training data as pdf instead of slides to review and apply, after which a follow-up mechanism comes through a prior agreement with HRM, by which we measure the trainees’ response to the training files.
Your success story was mentioned in the Blue Ocean Strategy success stories with global experts such as Anthony Robbins. Why are you the first Arab expert to tell their success story?
When I examined the success stories of the world’s experts, I did not find any Arab experts, so I approached them, and they replied that they would welcome any successful experience from any country. I showed interest in joining their professional website and they sent me a questionnaire that I filled in to check if I meet the required standards, then, they published my success story as a training expert on their website.
In your opinion, what qualities does each trainer have?
A trainer in general, be it a trainer or consultant trainer, from my experience, has got to have:
High credibility under the umbrella of intellectual honesty, fairness, mental wisdom in communication with trainees, effective clarity in using body language, a refined tone of voice and verbal output, often smarter than the circumstances, convincing and influential, effective communication at the collective and individual levels, and the most important aspect of communication is effective listening; to have a high percentage of emotional intelligence, strategic thinking, and professional.
Is opening your own training center a good step that will add value to your business?
The idea of running my own training center has yet to be on my list of goals since the moment I began working in this industry. I work with an individualistic leadership style, and being an international expert requires me to travel to train stakeholders at their home. So actually, for a number of other reasons, I would prefer not to be bound by a training centre and its team. So I don’t believe that it will add much value of any kind to me or my work, and I’d rather keep it inside as an expert, “The Leaders Training Association and the Leaders Training Center.”
In one of your interviews, you expressed that your time and freedom are more of a value than your health. Why?
Yes, to this day, I believe that my freedom and time are more valuable than my health. I am doing my best to take care of my health, and I have found out over time that it is good because I have “a wise sense of freedom” at several levels, the most important of which is the freedom to make decisions about work and personal life. My time is very valuable to me, and I make use of every minute. I get up at 5:00 a.m. and begin my daily routine. I will not allow anyone to waste my time when there is no added value to invest in.
Classification of my life priorities to date:
– Everything related to my personal development and joy “Sport, Reading and Others”.
– The safety of my family and those close to me.
– My success & investment in my profession. “Work comes third in priorities.”
What encouraged you to start with such a confident pace in this profession?
I would say a mix of both of my answers to the first and second questions. The primary stimulant to a confident start in this highly civilised profession is the innate sense of leadership that I have had since childhood, which encompasses credibility and wisdom.
Can you provide some tips for trainers at different levels?
My tips for trainers are various. The most important of which are:
– Live up to the title you obtained through authentic and official certificates. Avoid fake titles and avoid developing ego flu.
– Be wise and true to yourself when choosing the appropriate specialisation of your expertise, and avoid recklessness when choosing due to the diverse nature of the training programmes.
– Be wise when communicating with trainees in the training room, and do not lose your temper under any circumstances.
– Continuous academic learning and professional development because our profession needs to persevere in both fields.
What are your future projects and plans?
My future projects focus on:
– Finishing the book that I have been composing with intellectual diligence for years, which will be a combination of leadership and communication and will be published in Arabic and English.
– Leading an ongoing programme on “Preparing trainers-consultants”. I will announce the title and details shortly. I will convey my full experience to those who want to master this profession. “I will train locally and internationally.”
– Continue to travel internationally for training-consulting “since one of my goals is to move from the title of “a national expert” to the title of “an international expert.”
– Launch my own application as an expert, including my training portfolios.
A final word that you would like to convey to the audience of Arabisk London?
For the second time, I would like to share my life slogan, “we were created in this world to evolve and change”, so make sure that your investment in time and your mental and physical effort goes into your practical and personal development, and be the heroes of your lives.