Having worked in both television and radio, Murtadha al Lawati will be a familiar face and voice for many. He built up extensive experience in the banking and telecom sector before becoming head of corporate communications at Al Mouj Muscat. He tells Y about his determination to make changes to the country while taking the new Genesis for a test drive
Q: What drives you to success?
I think there is a lot of change that needs to happen in the country in terms of communications and media; particularly how the coverage is done and how people tell the story, but it’s not going to happen unless young Omanis get in there and make those changes. The other thing is also my two-year-old daughter; I want her to have the best life possible.
Q: Who or what has been your inspiration in your career?
My biggest inspiration has been my grandfather; he was a journalist and drove me towards communication and languages. My second inspiration would be my father, who has worked really hard to give us the best education. He told us honesty is the best policy and said if you’re doing something, give it 100 per cent otherwise don’t do it at all.
Q: What is your biggest career success to date?
I think it was becoming the assistant general manager (AGM) of corporate communications and marketing for ahlibank. I was 28 then and the youngest AGM in the country’s banking history. I was given that chance because of the CEO at the time, Abdulaziz al Balushi. He was someone who really drove young Omanis. There is this mindset in the country that if you make a mistake you hide it, but he wasn’t like that. He told me to own up to my mistakes, otherwise you’ll never learn.
Q: What are your goals?
I used to say that my goal was to become a big shot executive, but I think that has changed recently. Priorities change when you become a dad and you start to realise what your passions are. I’m very passionate about Oman and I’m passionate about tourism. I think our approach to tourism is not exactly how it should be. We’re not a country that’s about sleeping in a five-star hotel, we’re a country that’s about sleeping under five million stars, so that’s what we need to promote. I’ve started doing this by setting up a small company called Surf Sup. We produce stand-up paddle boards and take people out on excursions.
Q: Career-wise, where do you plan to be in 10 years’ time?
In 10 years time, I see myself running my own tourism company. My career is pushing me in a different direction, which is to be part of corporate life and if I am able to balance both, then great. Tourism is my passion and if you work in something that you love it makes a big difference.
Q: What do you like about the Genesis?
It was my first experience of Genesis and I think it’s a really nice car; there are a few small touches like the Quibla compass that are awesome. It’s a great drive and I think the car can definitely compete with the big boys.