Estimated Time 12 min
July 20, 2020
.. And I’m finally back in Malta. It feels really, really good to be back on the Island and being back in my apartment. Even though there is a lot of construction work still going on – so you might hear that in the background from time to time. I’ve kept going on, kept going on recording and interviewing a lot of people during my time abroad and now when I’m back in Malta. I want you to be introduced today, to a person who has a really inspiring biography.
She is a Senior team lead and commercial partner at NetEnt. But she has also started initiatives towards bullying back in Lebanon. She’s been a salesperson her entire life, a spokesperson and delegate at UNESCO HQ…and she is also an award-winning entrepreneur. Please meet Nour El Assaad.
Disa: So why don’t you introduce yourself and and let everybody know who Nour is. I am not sure if I pronounce your name, properly? First of all…
Nour: Yes, Nour, exactly.
Disa: Nour, ok, great.
Nour: So, Nour El Assaad, I am a Senior lead and commercial partner at NetEnt Live and also a Team leader for one of the teams here, the commercial team for Live Casino. I came to NetEnt almost a year ago now, 11 months. Actually, I came to Malta in August 2019. I did not come from the industry. Before I used to work within E-commerce and marketing. I used to be the Marketing manager at a company called Careem. Then we got acquired by Uber. Then I moved to Malta and started to work within the Igaming industry, with more of a B2B role than the B2C role which I had in the past. That’s a bit of a backdrop of myself when I came to Malta and the Igaming industry.
Disa: How have you found the Igaming industry so far? I guess, you kind of got thrown into it and have been dealing with a lot of different tasks and projects so far?
Nour: Yeah, so basically it is a whole different world. I have to say that. It is very different, especially where I come from. I come from Lebanon. I love working in the Igaming industry because on the personal level it feels that there is a lot of ownership and there’s a lot of hunger to deliver numbers…more and more. Before I decided to take a step into Igaming, shifting career, I read a lot about it. With Igaming, everything is just the beginning. And I think everyone knows that, even though the industry has been here for a while. There are certain markets we haven’t tapped into… and you know this is just the beginning. I like to be part of something that is not per say new but growing and scaling.
Disa: I mean it is so global. You can pretty much work from wherever in the world. The world is your market, which is very interesting. Are you looking into the US market more and more?
Nour: Yeah, so that’s actually what I wanted to say. Basically, the Igaming industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry and still has not been tapped into US or started to be tapped into the US. Imagine how it is when the market entry happens. I am personally looking forward to how this will shift everything. How we will shift perception, how it will shift for operators. What the competition will be over there. Of course, it is a different audience. Coming from Live Casino and where they have been focusing on Poker. For me it will be a learning experience, but it is definitely something I look forward too.
Disa: I can imagine. If you’re going to tell your surrounding and the audience who is watching this, what is actually your key role on a daily basis? What do you actually do?
Nour: On a day to day basis, you know, I think it’s like any Account Manager role which combine with sales. On a personal level, I am very data driven. I come from a high scale industry you know, in my previous role. I love data and I love making sense to numbers. So, when it comes to my role as well with many other Commercial partners at NetEnt Live, it’s combining data consulting customer to what’s working for them. Our role is mostly like a consultant. By the end of the day we want what’s best for us, along with what’s best for the customer. We are trying to build a relationship that will not last over a couple of months. On a personal level I like to build long time relationships with my customers, and you will only establish that if you trust your customer and the numbers. By carefully managing the accounts, telling them what works or what doesn’t work, trends, what’s happening and feeding them with insights. It is an Account Manager role. But without the data, or without being on top everything else, you wouldn’t be as valuable as well. When it comes to NetEnt Live we’re trying to attract some Native speaking Live dealers, so we are always out there looking for talent. By the end of the day we want to improve what we’re offering and our portfolio.
Disa: What would you say have been the most rewarding part about your role at NetEnt so far?
Nour: I do love the quote that says ‘’ Do what you love, love what you do’’. Because it’s not only going to be part of your job, it will be a part of your life. So, first of all: The team that we have is very rewarding. For me, I am able to grow and thrive in a very high and proactive team. There is a lot of energies and chemistries between our team members, which is very rewarding for me. Another thing that is very rewarding for me is results. I am a very result driven person, very goal driven. As long as I see the results happening, my goals and my numbers – that alone is my motivation. My drive everyday coming to work – and simply do what I like.
Disa: What is key for your business and your team in general, in order to be successful and reach your goals?
Nour: I’ve learned that moving forward and knowing your mistakes, will give you a high level of awareness- first of all. Hmm. I think I kind of forgot your question, ha ha.
Disa: As a Team leader and for your colleagues, of course you do have clear goals and targets you need to reach on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. So, what is key for you and your team to reach do goals?
Nour: Awareness. We’re sitting down discussing ‘’ what do you want, what is your plan? What are the achievements that you want to achieve this week, month, quarter?’’. It can be number driven or personal driven. You know, you can only achieve this when you sit down with your team and having open conversations and feedback. That’s what keeps the team going forward and where you build your trust and relations. The influence of the trust starts within and you can drive your team forward. High level of awareness and call to action, the collaboration from weekly meetings and sharing insights. ‘’ What happened, what can we learn from this colleague?’’. By the end of it all, I am a very number driven person and always have ‘’ value, value – results’’ in my mind. Let’s sale – let’s focus on numbers. All these meaningful conversations.
Disa: When you started at NetEnt and when you became a Team leader, did you have someone you were admiring or taking inspiration from in order to become a great Team leader?
Nour: I did look up to two specific people, from the industry. It’s my Director and Direct Manager – Andres Rengifo and Simon Field. Andres is a very special character; he has achieved a lot in order to reach where he is. So, I took certain characteristics from caring about your team and lead your team. Trust your team and give ownership. That’s what I learned from Andres himself. From my Direct Manager, Simon, I’ve learned about how everything is part of something bigger. Influences and how to do better every day. Pushing and leading from behind: are a few leader qualities that have been allowing me to progress in my role. Also, to gain the industry knowledge and what makes us succeed.
Disa: It’s funny that you mention Andres. I used to work with him back in the days as well. He’s a really nice guy. When I saw him at work, he was always the leader with a smile…and he’s probably going to like this when he watch it.
Disa: So, when you’re not working – and I do know that you work a lot, what are you up to on your spare time? Who is Nour, what would she do on a Saturday?
Nour: Well, I don’t want to sound geeky… but I learn. Every 1,2, or 3rd month there is something I need to learn. I am addicted to learning and I’m studying something. Getting inspired and opening up my horizon is something that I’m enjoying. In addition to my ‘’9 to 5’’ if we can call it that, I’m a Life Coach. So, I took my professional Coaching Degree a couple of years ago. In my spare time after work when I have time or in the weekends, I have my coaching clients. I coach my clients on a personal level, development level and as well on a professional level (career level). That’s what I do on my free time, I learn, try to coach people to get what they want and achieving their goals. Along with having a bit fun on the Island. I was born in Lebanon, in the Mediterranean, so I love the Maltese Island and vibe. I try to make the best out of it.
Disa: Inspirational. I mean, if someone would ask me the same question, I would probably say: I like to eat great dinners, be very dorky, hang out with my friends. No, but it’s a great thing and we always need to continue learn new things and be inspirational for each other.
Disa: If someone is watching this and want to do what you’re doing today and thinking ‘’ Oh, she is super inspirational’’ – what you give them as an advice? In terms of a special education, or when you decided to apply for this job or if they want to become like Nour one day. What would you tell them?
Nour: No pressure… Okay, so what should I tell someone. Know what you want. But as well be aware of – great plans can always change. There has to be drilled and adapt to certain life situations. I have to be honest! When I graduated from College or when I used to be a kid back in school, I never thought that I was going to do – what I do now. But because that I know where the world is going to and the industry trends, it was natural for me to follow and adapt. By the end of the day in order to reach my goals, I wanted to be as successful as I could be, no matter what I am or what I do. That’s what matter, the end goal. Anything during this path there, can change. Always have this eagerness to learn, be aware and find your own way to grasp information. Everyone is different and some learn from experience, some learn from series. Whatever it is: Never stop learning. When I was a kid my mother wanted me to be a Doctor. She used to encourage me like, ‘’ as a doctor you can never stop learning, you always have to be up to date with everything’’. One day I called my mother and said ‘’ I don’t think becoming a Doctor, would be the only option of continuously learning – it’s any career. We’re living in the 21st Century now’’. If you want to succeed, keep on learning. I believe anyone can make it as long as they know what they want.
Disa: Exactly…and work hard for it. I know it sounds like such a cliché, but it is very true, and you need to find your own way of how to do so. Take inspiration from others and as you said – keep on learning. One day you will find your own niche of how to do things.
Disa: So, what are your plans for today? It’s Friday, so finish work and?
Nour: Finish a bit of work. I like Fridays, they help you focus. I will meet a few clients as it has been quite some time since I’ve seen them. Actually, it will be the first time since the outbreak from COVID19. Nice and chilled gathering and then off work the weekend.
Disa: Perfect. I won’t see any clients today, but I will enjoy being back in Malta. Thank you so much for doing this interview with me. I’ll look forward to post it online and tell the world about Nour and NetEnt.
Nour: Yes, thank you, thank you! Well then, I guess that’s about it. See you soon, see you in Malta.
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