Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? 

Allan Fatah: Most likely I will focus on any concerns I have at that given moment in time whether they be personal, professional etc.

TG: What gives you energy? 

AF: Exercise (gym, golf and soccer) is an integral part of my daily routine so naturally this helps. In addition to this, seeing my family and friends happy and healthy gives me energy.

TG: What’s your secret life hack? 

AF: I wouldn’t say I have quite worked that one out yet. I’m respectful and cordial to people and believe manners cost nothing-I suppose this could be summed up by having good people/cross-cultural skills (although there is always room for improvement).

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

AF: I can’t categorically say that one particular book has changed my life. However, the following have made an impression on me: Orientalism (Edward Said), The Downing Street Years (Margaret Thatcher) and The Catcher in the Rye (J.D.Salinger)

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? 

AF: My phone does stay on my bedside table. Like many, I engage with features on my phone regularly. However, I am also able to detach myself from it and enjoy it when I do.

TG: How do you deal with email? 

AF: I will prioritise emails I receive. I will deal with emails that don’t require too much consideration first and allow myself time to research and think about the content of emails that require more attention.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it? 

AF: Sit and watch the world go by or practice my golf swing.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why? 

AF: I wouldn’t say I’ve ever felt truly burned out, when approaching this state I have always acknowledged these feeling and assessed the situation and tried to make the necessary changes.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 

AF: On occasions where I feel I haven’t realised my potential, more often than not due to self doubt in my professional life.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace. 

AF: “Never sacrifice your intellectual independence.” — My father

Allan is co-founder and director of Alfa 5 and Zanraw Consulting.

Alfa 5, a bespoke Middle East Business and Culture Consultancy was founded with his co-director and sister, Lara in 2016.

Based in Birmingham, UK, Alfa 5 provides comprehensive solutions for companies, individuals and institutions seeking to enter or further enhance operations in the Middle East region. Traditional business consultancy services are complimented with tailored cultural advice and training for respective territories.

Prior to setting up Alfa 5, Allan and Lara set up Zanraw Consulting in 2013, a boutique Public Relations and Strategic Communications agency based in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The brother and sister duo saw a niche in the market to provide international companies with specialist PR and communication services to ensure they effectively operated in the Kurdistan region and the wider Iraq; taking into account the delicate composition of Iraq’s heterogenous political, ethnic, religious & social landscape etc.

One of Allan’s proudest moments professionally is to have ensured the company’s survival and continuing growth during one of Iraq’s darkest eras. Zanraw Consulting retained and continues to advise clients in the region since the emergence of ISIS.

Allan has overseen accounts in both public and private sectors in addition to NGO and charitable initiatives. He has a particular interest in providing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and cultural support to clients with operations in the Middle East.

Prior to co-founding Alfa 5 and Zanraw Consulting, Allan worked as an expert researcher and field producer for the Kurdistan Memory Programme. During this period he was based between London and Kurdistan.

Allan has worked/continues to work with clients including; ExxonMobil, LafargeHolcim and The Malala Fund.

In his free time, Allan is an avid golfer and lifelong supporter of Aston Villa Football Club.