A letter to Gracy

Executive owes much to its longest-standing member, Graziella Nassar Aouad

Dear Gracy,

Over the past few years, Executive has dedicated considerable editorial efforts to identifying entrepreneurs running young businesses that deserve attention. In particular, we have strived to highlight the exceptional but often under-appreciated work of Lebanese business women.

Finding and acknowledging these people has been one of the most rewarding tasks for us as journalists and editors. Every time we nominate a top 20 entrepreneurship listing or switch off the dictaphone after an inspiring interview, we feel confirmed in thinking that Lebanon has a future worth sticking around for. It’s a pleasure to venture across the country to find and honor inspiring people.

But all this time, a walk across the hall into the Executive business office would have provided us with an interviewee who is both an intrapreneur and a leader with a talent for helping others to be the best they can be.   

You worked full-time with Executive longer than any of us. Attracted by the content and quality that you saw in the “zero issue”, you joined the advertising sales team and very quickly became the head of our marketing department. Until a few weeks ago, you were the face of Executive for our advertisers. Year on year, despite the Lebanese market’s many limitations, you stayed true to your commitments and delivered the growth figures that you promised. Executive’s presence as the English-language magazine at the top of every media plan is your achievement, and you equally deserve credit for communicating our mission and values to all the corporate heads in the market.

In tandem with delivering economic results, you always remained cheerful and gave all your energy to maintaining the best relations with clients, whether they happened to have a budget for advertising or not. We don’t think we ever heard a single shout of anger from the business office in over 17 years. In training your team and leaving a legacy of being on top of the market, you proved yourself as a leader from whom everyone can learn.

You started exploring personal entrepreneurship six years ago, spending evenings planning an interior design venture with your sister. It was your dream and you called it Itsy Bitsy, or, in prosaic business language, “a one-stop shop that provides parents-to-be and young families with room concepts for babies and children of all ages.”

We will always be journalists, so we have to ask: Was it because you had personally chosen to merge motherhood and work life from before the births of your two children, or because of your first-hand experience of witnessing how so many colleagues were combining parenthood and careers as part of the Executive family? We know that we are the magazine with the highest share of delivering analytical insights in the national market, but we strongly suspect that we are also the team with the highest number of childbirths. In this one instance we want to forget about keeping all entrepreneurial stories at arm’s length and tell you from our perspective of being young parents: we certainly appreciate the idea of an interior design service for kids.

You said that you needed to take your business forward and that your family, which has been supporting you in your career, deserves much more attention. You also said that you hesitated to leave your Executive family but knew that the day would have to come. You used an opportune moment.

Like you, we feel that you still belong, totally, and we appreciate very much that you act as if the magazine is still a part of you. We will keep your guidance in mind and work much more on the online edition, including the commercial and marketing platform. Yasser has promised that he won’t just rush into something when he comes up with one of his many great new ideas.

You said that you have lost hope in the Lebanese government. We all have. The reason why Lebanon has a future is people like you.

A great thank you from your Executive family,

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