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BLOG | April 23 2021

Why Volunteer? Simply, why not??

Thinking of the bigger picture, Karim outlines the value in volunteering and sharing knowledge in international industry organisations.

Every time I get involved serving in a new organization, whether local or international, I face a storm of “Why?” from colleagues and friends, not to mention from my wife!

Questions that come across are; why overload yourself with things that you won’t benefit from financially?, why share your knowledge among competitors, why not save this time for yourself (wife), etc. The answer is very easy. 

With the smart phones we all carry, each one of us will probably have a zillion contacts on its memory. My question here is; how many of them do you know just by name, compared to how many you know in person? Sharing your knowledge, exchanging views, and partaking in constructive debates is what creates common ground, enhanced knowledge, but most importantly, stronger personal relationships.  

The Middle East & Africa, where I come from, is a region which is obviously less connected to the international world than the western side of the globe. I have been privileged that my mentor, the legendary Elhamy ElZayat, who was a pioneer in launching Incentive Travel in the region in the late seventies, introduced me to this international arena of the MICE industry. I was really young when I found myself communicating with world leaders of our industry from whom I tried to gain knowledge. In return, I felt that volunteering in public service would help share this information, which is the least one can do in ones industry & region. True fact, this has consumed a lot of my private life, but the feeling of “sharing” has paid it back times over.

In addition, what pride exists in being knowledgeable in a less experienced surrounding? If you volunteer & share you will find healthy reciprocation from competitors. You will build friends rather than enemies. Most importantly, you will help improve your business environment through fostering a better image of your surroundings … your own business included.   

Thinking globally, volunteering in international organizations helps exchange regional challenges and facilities. Looking at it from a regional viewpoint, internally sharing new norms, industry expectations, the latest technology etc. will help us, as well as the officials, to strategize policies that can improve our existence in the global industry.

This is how “volunteering”, hence “sharing”, helps our industry, our region, as well as ourselves. So simply, why wouldn’t you?

Written by Karim ElMinabawy, President Emeco Travel, Egypt

Photo of Karim ElMinabawy

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