Welcome to The Dare to Scale Show

Episode 20

Be Authentic with Ramzi Ghurani

Our guest today, Ramzi Ghurani is the Managing Partner of Petra Insurance Brokers. Ramzi shares with us his nuggets of wisdom gained over the span of more than 20 years from his impressive background in insurance, risk management, branding, and business development.

Stay tuned as we discover Ramzi's innate authentic self, his passion for all things insurance related, his lessons learnt about entrepreneurship, leadership and being a parent.

Episode Highlights:
  • Focus on resilience and commitment to excellence, instead of perfection
  • The importance of culture and sharing values with your team
  • How Ramzi integrates technology with a human touch in his business.
  • Being your authentic self and understanding when to quit if things are not working.
Guest Pages

LinkedIn:      www.linkedin.com/in/ramzighurani/

Instagram:   www.instagram.com/ramzighurani/?igshid=1a1wcdisvphfc

Facebook:    www.facebook.com/ramzig

Company page

LinkedIn:      www.linkedin.com/company/petra-insurance-brokers-llc/

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/insurewithpetra/

Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/petrainsuranceuae/

Website:       https://www.insurewithpetra.com/

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Episode Transcript
Warsha 0:01
Welcome to the dare to scale show with me Warsha. So what is the scale over the years that we've been coaching founders and business owners, much like yourselves, we work through a framework called

Evan 0:18
Dare to scale, indeed, that framework has helped loads of business owners. That is what this show is all about. So, put on your big picture thinking hat.

Warsha 0:28
Oh and your headphones and come join us and enjoy the ride.

Warsha 0:28
Hello, welcome to another episode of the Dare scale Show. Today we are talking to entrepreneur par excellence, This is Ramzi Ghurani, the managing partner of Petra Insurance brokers Ramzi, welcome to the show.

Ramzi 0:53
Thanks for having me and looking forward to this one

Evan 0:57
Ramzi Welcome, You have Petra insurance and we'll come to that in just a second to just tell me, just with the side of everything. How did you get into entrepreneurship.

Ramzi 1:08
I didn't really get into it, I just stumbled on it. I was happy being an employee at some point, right, and that was fun, getting a salary and bonus. And then one day I was made redundant about 10 years ago. I'm like this is not cool. So what do I do next. My eldest Tiana was two years old, two and a half. And then there was one coming up, which was Jasmin. And I was stuck. And then I got convinced by friends. Why don't you think, and I had no other choice but to be honest with you, because I wanted to make a living. I'm like, You know what I'm good at this. I'm good at that, let me see what I can. I actually established the company, and it was a brand development company for startups and entrepreneurs. So that's my expertise before insurance. And then the first contract I did. I submitted. I got the deal, to be honest with you and I was quite shocked like okay this is a good start. And maybe this thing actually continued, because the proposal was good and it was a good price, and I was referred to by one of my good friends who was in the entrepreneurial space for startups right, and I went ahead with that and then I just continued on that opportunity led me to where I am today and I can go into the details whenever

Evan 2:33
I mean that sounds amazing, and I've actually forgotten, you have previous life in entrepreneurship. If I remember rightly, you grew up in Dubai, until about eight or so, and then you moved to Canada. So, the business we started was that actually in Canada.

Ramzi 2:46
No, actually, I was born in Jordan, moved immediately to Dubai, right, with my father and my mom and obviously they were desperate they weren't and moved to Canada. Back in 1987. Up until the end of university, and about a year after I was in Vancouver. And one thing about Vancouver, right, is that the are always feeling that the grass is always greener, especially back in the 90s. So if you're from Vancouver, let's go to California. Let's go to Cancun. Let's go to Spain. And I was one of them to the point where I was like, Let's go on a road trip to San Jose, so I was with my friend Reza, if he's listening to this in the future you'll know that this story was a crazy last minute spontaneous trip my mum went crazy on me, and then went there for about a month. So my dad said, Get the hell out of there basically. And then so, from that I moved to Jordan, because I wanted to experience the Middle East culture. I'm originally Palestinian and Jordan is the closest thing to Palestine. I want to have a change, and learn about the culture and work there, and just simply learn about new things, I live in from Jordan I came to Dubai. After a few years,

Evan 3:57
Crazy so branding agency was actually in Dubai, to understand that correctly.

Ramzi 4:04
Actually, Branding agency was created one year before I came to the reason why I am in Dubai, is because of this brand development company, right, and that was the connections, there was no other connections. Keep in mind that my dad had this business going on since the 60s until now, so I could have joined at a time after I was born. So that's why I feel like my journey is unique Yes,

Evan 4:32
Unique and wonderfully colourful, because you're gonna have so many reference points and different touch points within different cultures, I think that's absolutely amazing. Wow, so then you ended up working with your dad and his business.

Ramzi 4:45
Correct. The reason why I worked there. Well first of all he was trying to convince me about 10 years before that to work there. And the truth is I was lost. I had no vision. And I think when I was 21/22 years old, I really didn't know what I wanted to do in life. And that's why I just kind of wanted to see what's out there and maybe this is, I just want to be my own self made man. Right, so I didn't want to go work at 21 years old and you're my dad here, just have that paved out for you without your own destiny, creating your own destiny. And so I worked with some multinational one of them being orange Telecom, you know, I was in charge of the marketing and pricing of mobile phones for the youth segments, which is from a certain age, 15 or something like that, which I do think it's young until like end of university. So I was having pricing for that and offers an expanding markets in that way. Plus I was in charge of a big brand in the Middle East called Fine. That was a regional brand manager for that, and a bunch of so I was very much exposed to different ways of working, and in the corporate world. And, you know, with my language being screwed. From promotions and being promoted and seeing the politics, which was stupid, I cherish today because it helps me run the business. And then when I went for this company. When I create my brand development company. I came to the basically to align with other advertising companies like this service this consultancy, While they provide their service to for their clients right, and then my father's like what are you doing, why are you doing this for others, we need this for our business, or else we're gonna go out of business. It was really on a downward trend. Back in 2011, you're just one of those things, old school and all that stuff but and then from there I just said okay you know what I was wanting to move to the bay. I've always wanted to live here. And I had a family, or I have a family, you know, especially young family back then I thought this would be the right decision for me to adopt what I learned over there with the corporate world. As an employee, and this business as a brand development, to bring into Petra insurance brokers which will be the ultimate challenge and a legacy creator, for me, and continue we're continuing the legacy for my family and move forward as a certain way of creating destiny if you will. Right, so that's kind of why the motivation. At that point back nine to 10 years ago basically, so that's where I'm not sure what the journey was all about and why I joined at that time, I just didn't want to have an easy way at it, and that's the Canadian way. So, I play ice hockey and so I'm a big ice hockey fan, I've never actually probably played ice hockey for a long time but I still played hockey here. Yeah. And so it just one of those things that it helps with the way of doing things here. So,

Warsha 7:43
what do you mean by it helps with a way of doing things and I have another question, but before we go there, tell us a little bit more about what you mean by ice hockey and play ice hockey that we know. I understand how What do you mean?

Ramzi 7:56
it's not just about hockey, it's about the Canadian culture. So, one thing about the culture which I was taught because I wasn't debate, up until the age of eight, and then I'm also at that point that 87 And so as we learn about not complaining. Right. There's no such thing as entitlement to any kind of promotion, or money. I had a rough childhood in terms of, it wasn't easy. I was bullied when I first got there, I don't want to bring in the race card but, honestly speaking, I was the only coloured kid there in 1980 Whatever 87 And further, I don't blame anybody for bullying me actually, believe it or not, because they don't know any better, they don't know any better. Imagine that you bring an alien, which is what I was to them, and then you bring in the word they are going to look at points and all that stuff when you're especially when you're nine seven years old, what do you expect and that for me, it was a very trying time. And then I went through personal issues with my family getting divorced and then you kind of understand early stage life, that life is difficult, and it doesn't go as planned, you got to really work hard and you can blame others for it, but you have to take your own accountability, they can take your responsibility. So, one thing about the sport of hockey is that it's a tough sport, but there's a lot of finesse to it. So, when you get bruised up. You don't expect to leave the game. You better finish the game, less simply can't walk. So you see, I'm sure you've seen like videos of fighting and all that yeah there's fighting for sure and if there is fighting in hockey. But there's a lot of finesse sport, there's a lot of elements of the sport that bring that are important in life, that toughness, with the finesse. With the determination and the grit to move forward I think that is something that is Canadian, in the best shape me as well.

Warsha 9:47
That is absolutely beautiful. And what a wonderful way of taking that lesson, and now applying it into the other aspects of your life. It's like that, that's what life is about isn't it Ramzi, whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're a parent or you're a child. That's what

Ramzi 10:04
life is about 100%, and I think the biggest issue, maybe for me is I don't distinguish between business and work, business and personal, because I believe it's your personality at work can be slightly different, but I don't see that as being authentic, that's just my opinion. I know a lot of people that can simply compartmentalise work and personal. I mean, of course, to some extent you kind of, you have to, but I don't see it that way I see that we're all one. And if you have integrity at work, most likely have integrity outside of work. If you're going to be stealing from the company, most likely be stealing from people you know as well that trust you. And I believe in, I believe that's something that is being discounted. And I think if you mean if we were more humane with each other business better. I mean, I have more fun in business. And I'd have more fun in personal but no salary as easy as that. But that's something that I believe in 100%

Warsha 11:04
Yeah, totally. So talk to me a little bit about this resilience. So when you're playing ice hockey you fall down, you're expected to get up, and you continue with the game, and you finish the game. As part of the team. You do your best because winning is the objective. So how do you see that now, today, reflecting in everything that you do.

Ramzi 11:27
Well, so basically there is no excuses. In my opinion, not necessarily to make others lose, but you have to, I believe. And if you don't win, you better make it hard on other person on the competition to beat you. That's what I'm trying to say. And for me, there's no excuses to lay down and make it easy for others, or make it to conceive in life. I don't believe in that potential is there to be powerful to be something magical, potentially, I don't say there should be that magic is always there, but at least, never believe, never stop believing in that potential, and that magic if you will. And I think we'll have our downtimes. But when the light bulb is not on, not lit on top of your head, that's a time when you should kind of take a step back, when I don't believe that you should concede to life you should. Given the word should is wrong. It's the one has to be that perseverance to at least do your utmost, and even if you do your utmost best in anything, either getting a quote or finalising a deal or whatever you want to call winning an award, you may not win every time. Or you may win it, but how you continue to evolve. And there is no excuses for not growing, in my opinion, you could take a break. But take a break for a while, but doesn't mean you stop forever, or stop for a long time where it could hurt yourself and others.

Warsha 13:05
Yeah, there are two three very strong themes that are coming through and what you're saying Ramzi. So, one of them really his aim for excellence always, is that correct, no matter what you do. It's not about whether you will fail a win it is about having given it your best that you can today.

Ramzi 13:25
And it's not about trying, yet more than that it's about have you thought about it, strategically, have you thought about, you're fed up with something. I had a perfect example today. One of my team members, God bless her. She's working her butt off for this one client, and we may not get it because of politics in that company. It happened. I know that she did her best, and there's really nothing more than she can do, but she's like this is unfair, because we did this, this, this and that, and they're still gonna do that. I'm like you know what that is exactly the emotion, you should hold on to right now. If you're fed up. That's better. that energy, what can you do with that energy. And that's the key to everything. Right. She knows she's done her best. And I told her, Listen, you've got your utmost here I got nothing else to add. But the next level is, how can you take that fed up energy and use it to your advantage. Right. How can you take a negative, and may see it as an opportunity, almost immediately. Yeah, I think that's the key to resilience. That's the key to resilience.

Warsha 14:36
Yeah, absolutely. So it really knowing how to channel, whatever your learnings are from today and channel them for the next step that is coming, or that you are taking, and to make the best of that so it's that constant growth after every experience, whether at work, whether as a parent again I just every aspect of your life.

Ramzi 14:58
That's the commitment to excellence and not perfection. Perfection is silly right then I want to make the distinction of the two perfectionist and I know we've talked about it before. Isn't the healthiest thing in the world and it's obviously in my opinion if it's not perfect, it could be an excuse not to continue. Right. It's human nature. So, when your standard is excellent, there is no excuses right, like you have to always just simply be excellent and at least try to figure it out as you go along. In business, life whatever.

Warsha 15:31
Yeah, we, something that Evan and I usually say is, business is a game, and professional game or professional sports is a business. What is the key in all this one of course you play to win. And to you play to win with your team. And three, whether you're part of the team, or you're the leader of the team. You are always bringing your people together for one big goal, and what you strive for is excellence at that minute. Perfection is subjective, excellence is one thing that we can all give at any time, at any aspect of your life do you agree

Ramzi 16:12
One 100%, and I think that's where you put your money where your mouth is right because there's no excuses. Other than that right and then if you don't have the passion to be excellent. When I say passion it's important, like, I'll be honest with my hockey games. So, We have a team here, not a team that we have a group of guys that basically group of guys and girls, by the way, that play, and it's supposed to be fun, but it's super serious. It gets really intense, like it gets super intense and we get pissed off at each other for not playing 100% You know, if you're not trying. Oh yeah. Last Sunday, like, you know, last Sunday and I believe that our team that specific day was very disciplined defensively and we just waited for the opportunities to come to us and we push them when we had to and we frustrated, the team. And don't forget this is all a fun game, there's no good stuff professionally just simply whatever, but the people that the guys that play there all have a similar objective, which is excellent as well. I believe that, and to the point where we actually talk strategy. And again, I keep emphasising this is supposed to be just for fun. And when we don't get what we want we get frustrated. So how do we correct it what's the strategy now what do we do get on this guy block this one to that and strategically, even to that level, when you care about something like that, the level of competitiveness the excellence that perseverance the drive to be good, because you want to go back home, even if it's serious or not, whether you can hate or not, you come back home and you sleep, and you think about that yourself, and you want to feel good about your efforts, or your minutes you've actually evolved. Right. And that's the key here.

Evan 17:54
Totally love it! and it reminds me of expression I had many, many years ago. It's not what you do compared to anybody else it's what do you do compared to when it's like your team member. You know what, I know I've given them everything in that is excellent. So there's nothing left. So, on this journey with this excellence, sort of piece when you joined in like with your dad's business was there anything you had to learn anything you felt you could do better.

Ramzi 18:19
Yes, yes, of course, lots too much talk about low hanging fruit. Right, I'll share a couple of things if you don't mind, culture, when I say culture. Obviously, my kids when they grow, they're gonna think I'm the old school, right, they're gonna think that this is such an IT WAS, they're gonna roll their eyes at me, and I thought I was only

Warsha 18:43
if they don't already, roll your eyes,

Ramzi 18:46
they've already started. They've already started. Anyways, why don't we just turn 13 Like imagine like even the manual is like rolling her eyes or whatever. Anyways, so my point is that there's always gonna be a new perspective, even when they come on board and I'm not saying that I come on board to the business. I'm not forcing anybody to come it's their choice. But if they were to come into this business or any business, they could have a new set of ideas and ways of doing things right, especially from a technology perspective. So for when I came in, I came in from a corporate perspective and how to build culture was very important for me. That's part of my values. Also don't forget what was my company before I went into insurance was brand development. So what is the philosophy, the strategic philosophy of the company, the values, what is the soul of Petra insurance brokers, so I brought that to the table as well. And that was actually pretty much my initial job besides all the marketing stuff you might see all the social media stuff, All the brand equity stuff that we're trying to build the market. So, those are a few things that we built also empowerment of the team and the staff, instead of calling them employees, we call them, Petra family, or the petra family or team members, You know, we don't say employees, technically their employees, right, but it's that term that can be looked at as something that is not empowering, you know, and that's what I'm trying to build it doesn't hurt to say employee there's nothing wrong with it, but I'm just trying to build the culture. Another one that I would recommend that I have put into the company is our communication, how we communicate. So we say a lot I hope to get back to you on this date, I will try to get back to you understate still happens but I've said, Guys, I'm going to be very strict with this, there's no such thing as hope, or try, you aim to do. Now, if you don't get it done. At least you aim to do it. You don't like somebody who didn't try hard enough, and this language changes the way you believe, and the way you feel is your energy. And that's where I can and I think that's why we've been able to increase your business over the past few years, and that's our plan moving forward. So there's a few things that we've kind of adopted, since I've come aboard and don't realise is nine years ago, I feel outdated. You know, so I kind of find new ways of reinventing myself as well and reinventing how we go more technological on the insurance part and you bought it for me as well, although I know part of it but not enough as much as I'd like, but I'm getting, we're getting,

Evan 21:30
So on that, looking at technology and how it can help the business is there, risk if you will, that you lose the human touch.

Ramzi 21:39
That's a very good question. So the answer is no. I think I'll be very blunt with you guys I think anyways, asking for car insurance quotes or one of those basic quotes that our clients unfortunately treat staff are good but they treat them as if they're our technology platform. I don't like it. I actually despise it. And I don't like us when people talk to each other. And I'll be honest, I've been like, this is not talking to my team. Right. But, you know, on the flip side, there's a case or two, or three, or many cases that I can see right in the top of my head that were very serious cases that no technology can do. Ever. And that is the case of for me when I say that, for example, serious condition medical special approval, approving eight payments which is rare in Dubai, for an individual plant, right. This is rare, very rare. So these kind of empathetic ways of working, computers can do, but at the same time, not everyone needs, empathy. Somebody just need this cheap quote. So for me, as a business owner, it is my responsibility to take away the human element, when people don't need the human element there is that, for me I don't need to order on my phone to order a pizza. It really is useless. I don't need somebody to talk to you what kind of, what kind of pepperoni, mushroom, you know, I don't want to be talking about mushrooms with pepperoni, just ordered them Pizza Online, right, you don't need. But if the order came in incorrectly. I would love to talk to a customer service representative. Right, so that's why I'm saying the balance of both, and it's my job to be able to have that balance where you know, there is a human element. And then there's the technological element, and how to combine both. I love what you're

Warsha 23:35
I love what you're saying, over here, um, see what you're saying is, make it easy for people to buy from you, and yet be available if help is needed. So have that human present when help is needed because insurance is usually such a complex thing and yet today, there are certain things that you just, it really is clicking buy and go scenario so you are taking your company to the stage where it's easy to buy from you. And when somebody needs assistance, you are always there, and your team absolutely is always there.

Ramzi 24:08
That's exactly the point. So we're working on something, it's very interesting. It's been confidential but I'll explain that we're is a bit of a hybrid approach. So instead of wasting time on putting numbers together, we can get a quick solution for that. Right. That gives them more time to recommend their device, and give them the best value for money, offer in front of them. So instead of wasting time, getting the numbers together, the numbers are together and the benefits are there, it gives them an extra hour or two or three or half an hour to think about what they're offering, as opposed to must be deadline and no time to think. So that's where we're headed. Slowly but surely.

Warsha 24:50
Wonderful, it's a definite progression that we're hearing from Europe's so your father senior Mr Gorani started the business way back in the 60s, which at that stage was, of course, in the 60s Today everything is old school what happened in the 60s Like you were saying tomorrow your daughters are going to grow up and saying oh my goodness, but what you have done is really taken such an old school industry you've taken an old school industry you've taken a business started or the old school industry, way back in the 60s, and you're bringing the modern touch to it, because you are fitting, You're still staying relevant you're reinventing to stay relevant, with what is required from the market today as a mark of a great leader, wonderful story.

Ramzi 25:38
Thank you Warsha. This is a thing. I don't feel it's enough to still want to, in my opinion. I'm doing my best. I think I've made some good decisions, and I've made some unwise decisions after the fact that I've learned otherwise and I've also made some notes, I've actually made no decisions before which were ended up becoming the best decisions, as well. I think COVID and the pandemic and how businesses stopped really changed a lot of things for me, too. I believe that that was a major, major impact and that's where the real leadership comes in. I'm proud of how I handled that I got to be honest with you. I'm proud of how the team handled that as well.

Warsha 26:19

Ramzi 26:21
And, you know, we had the most amount of five star, Google reviews, during the pandemic, believe it or not. Brilliant. And I think that's a testament of things here, I think, for me, it's just a matter of, keep going, and continue to improve and get better, and the tough part is, is enjoying the journey, every step of the way, which is a challenge to enjoy every journey, every step of the way. But that is the ultimate, I struggle with that, I'll be honest with you, I struggle with that sometimes.

Evan 26:51
And, look, excellence is absolutely brilliant to be striving for and you're doing an amazing job on that. So when it comes to sort of down tools or done like if you will. What is Ramsey do in spare time.

Ramzi 27:09
Remember the hockey? No, no, I mean, I mean honestly in my spare time is basically consists of spending time with family. I have a new stage in my life right now. Right now, that is, with means that we met at least a couple years ago after my divorce, and has been a pillar in my life. Honestly speaking, and that's a big deal for me the most important thing is having healthy relationships. It's really as the silent killer, or the one that gives you real life to be motivated. Sometimes I feel alone in this business, man, it's important to kind of feel like you're with somebody, either as a mentor with a mentor, a business coach or other colleagues or your team and also personally if you have people that support you, and really, you know, that you trust that they want your success for you. Right. So I created my, my partner for that I really appreciate her and what she's done. And I can't stress enough how much it's been helpful to me. Having that kind of support when I come back. It's a big deal and I want people to know that it's very important to have a good relationship, whatever it is, even if it's by yourself, have a good relationship with yourself with others, so you can move on and be motivated the next morning my daughter's I spent time with my kids is very important to me as a hobby to be the best that it can be. And I mean that I even have books on how to be better that that's true. Just to be the father, we did that. She needs you to be, you know, and God doesn't. We have a very good relationship. And I can tell they love me and they respect me, and I respect and love them back and, you know, even just in my nine year old. She's like a business. Boss, baby. She's already started a little business and in like stress balls. So I bought some stuff on Amazon and she's able to do a costing. I saw the paper on writing costing because make a profit, all this stuff Giana Actually she wants to have a presentation for us, where smoking is bad for you. But if you do smoking he gets sick, get insurance come to Petra insurance I didn't know she was doing this, and she asked for the logo one day. Yeah, this is part of life that is critical in terms of how, if you can have such a life that beautiful. I do think and Giana my eldest, you know, when I started off with this business, she was young. Jasmine was still a baby,my 9 year old was still a baby. Giana at her own and her with own soul was able to motivate me to become very thick that's to go to go to the right. It's a lot of things there. The one sacrifice I think I did, is with the business and the founding. I just chose for this, and my health, in terms of working up. Is that me and my friendships I wasn't able to nourish new friendships. As much as I wanted to, in Dubai, my high school friends and, you know, elementary school friends in Canada were all intact. That's the one thing I chose to sort of sacrifice Not intentionally, but I wasn't able to have friends, but I was able to nourish that kind of super friendships, if you will. And I think in life, that's what it is, you have to kind of choose what you want out of life right and then you go with that he kind of accept that not everything he can have every single thing in the pie, but still be happy.

Warsha 30:38
Oh, you bet. And I think you're talking about not being able to nurture and nourish some other great friendships, the fact that you're doing something really really well and we know this because we're seeing your daughters flourish so beautifully. You're being a fabulous parent from the fact that is beyond the doubt, you really are. So what are some of the things that you have learned by being a parent that you are today, parent to two wonderful girls, and how you're bringing them up, and what are some of the influences that you give to them, and what do you take from that.

Ramzi 31:15
This is very good question. Well, one thing I want them to adopt is the work ethic, the Canadian work ethic, which they don't have, they don't have yet, and most likely they'll be going to university. They hope so. But if and when they do, they'll be going to Canadian University as Canadians and just simply more cost effective and all that stuff, and they'll be living on their own. And you know, when I was a kid, I had to live on my own at a really young age, we're talking at 16 years old, which is a bit below the legal age limit. I'll be honest with you, but I'm past that so nothing will happen to anybody. But it was below and I happen to live by myself at 16 ish, about to turn 17 like this, and I didn't know anything, except for ordering pizza, and even I didn't know how to help throw away the pizza box, and even my father came over one day just to check up on me like you know, our things. There was a pizza boxes lined up to the very top, and then I'm like man, I was an idiot, you know such an idiot. And all the stupid things that I'm embarrassed to talk about I'm sure all went through them. What the hell was I thinking at 18 years old, right, there's not.

Evan 32:21
Trust me, you're in good company. Oh yeah,

Ramzi 32:26
Did I actually do that. And then, for me, it's the values is very important to communicate to your kids and my daughters, there are certain taboo topics which fathers who will not talk to their daughters about, but I have no problems doing it, no issues whatsoever, even to my nine year old, I'll do it in a way, obviously that's not inappropriate, but I'm very blunt with them, like nothing is off the table. And even if it's a little bit awkward. I don't care, because at least we're honest, at least we're authentic, you know, and if it's not even if there's an argument or two, I don't really care as well because they're they were family. And we have the best intentions for each other, and there's a trust. Okay, and, you know, if they were to do something wrong, which they have, and they were caught with something. How do you address that situation. As a parent, determines who you are as a parent, and I think that is something that's pretty remarkable. Pretty remarkable in terms of, you know their kids for God's sakes, you know they're gonna do stupid things and they shouldn't do stupid things but not confidence, destroying things. That's where I draw the line, like you can just try anything you want, that's, you better hide that stuff from me, you better hide that from me, you know, and there's some things they can communicate and some stuff they better hide from me I better not know, you know, but I'll be communicating that in advance proactively, so they know it's not right. As far as I'm concerned. Those are values, and that's my job, and I want them to grow up and be happy and have healthy relationships. Let me tell you a funny story in the side guys asked both of my daughters separately. You guys want to have kids when you grew up. Awesome said no, we see how much of a headache, we are to you. We're it's, like, it looks like it's too much work.

Warsha 34:26
You have to unmute myself for this this is absolutely amazing. Oh my goodness what a brilliant answer

Ramzi 34:31.
So I asked them, I'm like, my young one, I'm like you wouldn't want to have another jasmine in your life. She's like, I don't know.

Evan 34:42
That's amazing. In terms of that, so young that already having an answer and like I didn't even know what that meant. At that time it was still running around outside, you know, maybe those are the days when he did run outside. Yeah, amazing, amazing. So look, I would ask you, what's a top tip for your listeners and I'm like, dude, you've given us like 2 million already absolutely wonderful and the pivotal piece about the values is just wonderful. I mean, thank you so much for sharing that this authentically.

Ramzi 35:08
My pleasure, my pleasure. I mean, look, one thing I have to say, I know that I've given quite a few thing but I think what I'm trying to, I think the central theme of all this is be real, be authentic and this word is used like Zen situations but, you know, the truth is, just be yourself and make mistakes and man like don't repeat those mistakes you know this is the point of excellence, right. So, you have a benchmark and that's my point is continue evolving, and the only way you're going to evolve is the truth, know your truth. If you suck at least you know you suck. And you can get better. This is the point, Right and I think that's the part of shame and we have to get over. Yeah,

Warsha 35:46
yeah, but that is absolutely true. So, again, what he's saying really is, don't be afraid to fall, just know how to get out.

Ramzi 35:54
Exactly.One last thing I want to say about this part is my team after the eighth is finished and we have a full team on board here, full day sorry I'm bored, I'm going to ask them a question is, and they don't know this yet, maybe this will be asked but that's public I'm not sure, but I'm going to ask them what mistakes they do this past week. And if they say nothing, there's a problem for me, there is an issue. you know, and I think as a leader, which is what they look at me as, this is what I'm paid for as well as to be a leader, right, is I'm going to have to step up and say this is the mistake I did this past, which I've done. I think I've done like three or four during this call during this podcast. So the point is just to be real like that and I think that will loosen up and you can have some fun at work I think the key is to have fun at work, don't be so uptight, you know, that helps a lot with life, enjoy the work as much as you can.

Evan 36:44
To me being ex corporate that is difficult in a way, you know, sort of showing a vulnerable side but equally. It is about. There are no mistakes has any feedback and everything you've said is along those lines where, if you're not moving forward. There's no point right, absolutely

Ramzi 37:00
Everything there's no point and I will say one other thing, there's nothing wrong with quitting, when things are not working. Maybe there's another path for you. One thing I've learned in my life is that doors will close for you. Without you deciding. And sometimes when there's one door that closes the second or the closest third of the closes you know exactly this is not the right place for your the right thing for you and it's happened to me a couple of times, the Jordans doors were closed in an epic way, I can tell you some unfortunate situations where I had a job lined up or something like this and then something silly happens which is quite rare. I left Canada because I forgot to pay this credit card bill, I really forgot I wasn't trying to be a thief. I forgot to pay this credit card bill and I was trying to work in a bank and the bank, which I'm glad I didn't. The HR lady was one of my best friends, and she still is, actually, we're still super close, and then she's the HR, I had the job. It was a wasp thing had the job in them in my pockets. And then she called me up I was in the gym I'm like yo, what's up, and she's like, I'm sorry, I can't employ you I can't hire you. What I just checked your credit rating, you're in black, you got to pay your $300 for this jacket, you bought from Holt Renfrew, three years ago $300

Warsha 38:12
I'm like, oh my goodness,

Ramzi 38:13
I'm a bank I can't hire you, and you can't work anywhere in Canada, see better pay that off before you press some charges on you. And I'm like, Oh my god, and then within about three weeks, and this is after like doors closing other doors closing in Canada. At that point, it was after my university. And then I'm like, You know what, I had a job offer and Jordan, ready for me. And I was saying no to the mic then I, I emailed Nazif, and God bless him, he passed away last year and he was one, he was my first boss, taught me everything, a lot of things that I know today, actually. And, you know, he took a chance on me. I'm like hey let's see if is the job still available, you know, it's like, Yes, I'm like, Okay, I'm coming to Jordan and I packed my suitcases and I left, one to Jordan with

Evan 39:02
Mubrook and here we are having this wonderful conversation with so much colour and wonderful stories, good, bad and otherwise it just makes for lovely bedtime reading if

Ramzi 39:14
We try fantastic

Evan 39:15
So you alluded to a little bit of something that you're looking at doing in the future. What else might we sort of look forward to, down the track.

Ramzi 39:24
So one thing that I did over COVID was, I had a lot of time on my own.

Ramzi 39:31
But a lot of evenings on my own, especially during the months during April, When it says, you know, I wasn't living with my kids right so you had to get a permit, and he last April, to visit anything, including children, and that was a really difficult situation to be honest with you, but at the same time I had a lot of time on my own. So I used to see them almost every day. So wasn't better became more structured with them, that allowed me to be to have more time to think. Think strategically, and I kind of put forth a document as to how I see the future of the industry, and be our company. So technology is a major part of it, and what do I mean by that. It means that how do we improve the life of your employees or your team members, or your family at work, to be more efficient for them to enjoy work and to come into work and also how can you reduce your expenses while keeping your service levels high up if you will, and you don't have to reduce the amount of staff from your team. But, reengage them in different ways of working. And basically I came in I started joining partnerships and, you know technology here technology they're seeing which one would stick because unfortunately one thing that I've learned is that when you stick to one way, it may not work until it becomes solid. That makes sense. And nothing is forever. The crazy thing is, is that we've started both different the different options started working out, and then it became overwhelming, actually, to be honest with you, so it's a matter of how can I bring this together. If you want to get a home insurance quote. How quick can you get that. How quick can you pay for that can other people benefit from that, What products are available in the market. Right. And how do you bring that here. It's where I think there's about 160 - 270 brokers, so it's very red ocean. So what I'm trying to say is what I've been trying to do is how to create a blue ocean in the sea of red ocean. Okay, and that's a challenge in itself, and I think it's very frustrating. And sometimes I say this is so such a waste of my time What am I doing, but then at the same time this is also part of the challenge is how do you win. This is the part of the hockey Canadian part in how do you win in such a difficult market, and sometimes you might see me like as an eccentric scientist like thinking about insurance, you know, that's exactly how I feel sometimes that I'm crazy like people like holy crap you're very passionate about insurance. I am I really am, but the market here in Dubai is so competitive, and the margins are slim and nothing would make me happier than winning, I'm not saying, others to lose, this is the point. How do you win in this market, how do you create the blue ocean. And that's what I'm fighting for, if you will, even today, you know, most of my phone calls, is most of my escalations and phone calls and emails, even this podcast is how to create the blue ocean for yourself, and that is the biggest challenge for me. And that's what keeps me going. In such a tough market, and this market sometimes can be very demoralising insurance is very cutthroat, there's no way to overemphasise this to you are always it's always one of those markets that are just simply cutthroat here especially. So that's my challenge. And I'll be honest with you, like if I see certain something's not working, I will put a stop to and move on to the next thing in terms of part of the business, but that's it. I want to say one more thing about the Canadian side is also my pap must say the respect of the Palestinian blood in me. There's a lot of resilience there as well to fight to keep going, you know, without feeling sorry for yourself, that's the key, and my father is very Palestinian very pro Palestinian is Palestinians got a home still in Ramallah, and he visits there before clothing used to go there quite a few months of the year, and he's in the business, at least in the office, as we speak. And there's that those combinations of that kind of heritage, if you will, the resilience of being Palestinian and being exposed to that, and the cutthroat way which is what has happened, you know, in the region. And then also, the Canadian combination is what kind of the culture, the nature and nurture is there to make up for this. I just feel for me to be very honest with it with the listeners and with you guys, I just want for one thing that I'm not too stubborn to find the blue ocean. And that's my only concern with myself, is will I keep going until I die. You know I don't want you right, there's a point where I have to hold back and open up my eyes and say okay this is going to work. Stop right there. Or this is not going to work, move on. So that's my only, that's my pure honest vulnerability speaking to you guys right now.

Warsha 44:35
Absolutely fabulous, golden nuggets throughout. That is something, that is sometimes missed and there are so many people who ask me this question, at which point does one stop. What you said is so wonderful. Know when to stop, what's the song? Know when to fold them.

Ramzi 44:54
Kenny Rodgers.

Warsha 45:01
Exactly Kenny Rodgers, know when to fold them. Know what's in your hand right now, know what you can do with and know when to take the risk and know when to say, you know what I'm gonna fold them right now

Ramzi 45:16
It's all about energy management right so I don't I mean, I'm just going with the flow, to be honest with you, right then. I'm very grateful that I was able to tap into the healthy drink COVID and physically healthy, right, there was some tough moments I'll be honest with you, and that tough moments where I was unable to see my family, but I think I tried recovered from COVID fatigue, which has helped me get the energy today and I think that's the key is to manage your energy.

Warsha 45:34
Fantastic Ramzi, I have to ask this, because we'd love to hear this specific point from all our guests, and I repeat this and every episode and I'm going to say this again is, we usually show our courage, through our actions, we usually show our courage through how we show up, we usually show our courage through every role that we play in our life. And it all amounts to us showing never really saying. So, we would like to hear from you. What is your I dare to statement, we all stand for something, there is something always within us that we say, I dare to do this because that's who I am. So what is your I dare to statement.

Ramzi 46:24
I have one that's for myself, but this could be across to all by I dare to win, and help others when times are bleak. And that's the most important thing and this is why I love insurance as well is because, you know, your money is protected. That's the bottom line, your house burned down. It's a crappy situation, you can build a new house.

Ramzi 46:54
That's the point. So, nothing can take away your health, atleast your not screwed in your your finances as well, lets put that.

Evan 47:02
Very nice.

Warsha 47:03
Very nice. Oh wow, what a brilliant conversation this has been and Ramzi, we know that after this many people are going to want to say hi, gonna want to say, Oh, we want to know a little bit more about you and we want to connect. What is the best place for someone to connect with you Ramzi, the best place as usual will be LinkedIn. So we can take any kind of conversation forward from there. Fantastic. Hey, our wonderful listeners, you already know that in the show notes we will of course include the link to Ramsay's LinkedIn profile, so feel free to connect with our fabulous guest here today. Ramzi, or can I say, thank you so much on behalf of all our listeners. Thank you for your time. Thank you for sharing so generously and thank you for showing that being vulnerable and sharing is a strength in itself.

Ramzi 47:56
It is the least that I can do. Again, it's about being yourself and being authentic and being a human. I think that's the way to win in this world is to be yourself.

Evan 47:58
Brilliant. Fantastic, Ramzi thank you so so much for such wonderful conversation.

Ramzi 48:08
My pleasure. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity and time you've given me. Thank you very much.

Warsha 48:19
Hey, thanks for joining us, and listening, right to the end.

Evan 48 : 23
Head on over to daretoscale.fm to subscribe and access the show notes, and transcription.

Warsha 48:29
Also, did you know that we have a Facebook page for our podcast listeners, come join the conversations at Daretoscale.fm/Facebook.

Evan 48:43
Oh and also remember to give us a five star review so other entrepreneurs can find this podcast like you and get value to scale forward their business.

Warsha 48:49
Fabulous, we will see you at our next show. Bye for now.

Meet your hosts:
Warsha Joshi and Evan Le Clus
We are business mentors and business owners operating out of the vibrant city of Dubai, UAE.
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