- Programme studied: MSc Industrial Relations and Personnel Management
- Year of Graduation: 2001
- LinkedIn profile
Meet our September Alum of the Month, Ranya Nehmeh. Ranya is Senior Human Resources Officer in an international development organisation, Doctorate in Business Administration, author of a business book called 'The CHAMELEON Leader', a public speaker, and yoga teacher.
Tell us about your career journey since graduating from LSE.
I graduated from LSE in 2001. Since then, I have lived and worked in London, Milan, Beirut and Vienna. I had the opportunity to work in different sectors ranging from a public relations agency, a telecommunications company and most recently in an international development organisation. Although my postgraduate degree at LSE was in Human Resources, the first few jobs I held after graduating were in the areas of external relations and business development; it was only years later that I went back to my field of interest of Human Resource Management. I have now been working in that area for over ten years. The LSE Programme certainly equipped me with the skills and competencies I needed for the workplace and provided me with a solid foundation of HR theory and knowledge that I was able to further develop over the years.
Your career journey has taken you across many countries, such as Beirut, Milan, London, Vienna, and you have worked across sectors, in international development, HR, talent acquisition, leadership, training, and even as a guest lecturer. What motivates you to continue to broaden your career and travel?
I believe learning never stops, not at any age, and for me, travelling is a big part of that. A lot of my travels were work related where I never had the luxury to explore as much as I would have liked, moving from a hotel to meeting rooms and the airport. It is however during personal travels that I have had the opportunity to learn about new cultures, new languages, different cuisine, to create new experiences and connections, and in many ways, travelling has broadened my mind and expanded my way of thinking. This also applies to work and my career, as there are always opportunities to learn more, to enhance my skills and knowledge further; and that is my daily motivator.
Having developed such a multi faceted career yourself, what advice would you give to students who are graduating this year and looking to begin or continue to build their own careers?
The work landscape is very different now than when I graduated almost twenty years ago. I think the main advice for new graduates entering the workplace is not to be discouraged, and to stay patient. When I was writing my book, The CHAMELEON Leader, which is about leadership and millennials in the workplace, I interviewed hundreds of millennials and most of them said the same thing, that they entered the workplace excited and motivated to make an impact, to work, to learn, to grow, and after only a few months they were already feeling discouraged and uninspired because they had poor managers, they were not listened to and the work was not challenging enough. This is also attributed to one of the reasons why millennials change jobs so frequently. So, my main advice is to be patient and learn as much as you can, your time will come.
Your book ‘The Chameleon Leader: Connecting with millennials’ was published in 2019. What was your inspiration for writing it?
The CHAMELEON Leader is a visionary, with a new leadership mind-set that thinks young and acts wise; someone who practices the various qualities of an ideal leader of millennials. After having conducted extensive research involving over 700 millennials from around the globe over the course of six months, nine leadership traits emerged; Communication, Honesty, Accountability, Motivates, Ethical, Listens, Emotional intelligence, Overcomes obstacles and Nodal (an alternate word for a team player). The ideal leader of millennials would therefore possess these nine traits, hence a CHAMELEON Leader. And why a chameleon? Chameleons change colour according to the situation. They are adaptable!
I was inspired to create a book that was accessible, interactive, engaging, yet still conveyed all the central messages. I wanted it to be relatively short, a pocketbook, if you will, that could be read on the go, and easily referred back to. Traditional leadership books tend to be very text heavy and often very theoretical. I wanted a mix of both theory and practice which is why I introduced an exercise-guided section that gives the reader practical skills and offers a place to self-reflect on their own existing skills and create a game plan to take action.
The topic of how different generations function and interact in the workplace has always been fascinating to me but over the last years, the needs and perspectives of millennials has really held my attention. On many occasions I have witnessed the challenges that organisations are facing in attracting, motivating, and retaining millennials, and this has made me want to explore this topic further.
You are currently an active member of the LSE Alumni Group in Beirut, and have connections with the Alumni Group in Vienna. What it is like to be a part of an alumni group, what are the benefits?
I believe that being an LSE alumnus has opened many doors globally, not only is it a university with a renowned reputation, but it enables like-minded people to connect and get together, regardless of when they graduated or which city they live in. It’s like being part of a community that one can always reach out to for any work or career related guidance or questions. For example, I contacted the LSE alumni in Vienna about sharing the survey I had prepared which formed the basis of my book, which consequently, helped in obtaining the survey response numbers I needed. I have also on occasion attended the Beirut LSE alumni events when I was around and it’s a great way to meet people and network which can always lead to new opportunities.
Share a sentence on your Covid-19 experience. Has it made you rethink your career goals or what is important to you?
I think my Covid-19 experience has definitely made me rethink the importance of flexible working practices, work-life balance and the changing nature of employment contracts which means more part time workers and perhaps less of the traditional full-time employee working model.