Get To Know: Roger El-Tawil

Roger El-Tawil is the channel's go-to guy at Avaya. Having been with the networking vendor for the past three years, El-Tawil has helped Avaya reach an enviable position in the Middle East telephony and communications space. Channel Middle East thought it was time to "Get to Know" Avaya's regional channel and marketing director...

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By  Dawinderpal Sahota Published  March 28, 2007

|~|rogerfootball200.gif|~|Roger El-Tawil, Avaya|~|Channel Middle East: What is your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?

Roger El-Tawil I was raised in Dubai. I’m Lebanese of origin but I’ve lived my whole life in Dubai, so it’s natural for me to work here; the UAE is my home. I started my career with family businesses then I decided to pursue my personal career goals. I started with NCR nine years ago. I was there for six years and have spent the last three years with Avaya.

CME: What do you enjoy most about working in the Middle East IT market?

RE The buzz, the energy, the pace as well as the opportunities that are created here. This region is unique. You’re interacting with a lot of cultures and people from different walks of life and it is truly a melting pot. I enjoy meeting different people and learning from different people and I love the fact that this is all happening here in the Middle East.

CME: What do you dislike most about working in the Middle East IT market?

RE It’s not about the region itself, but with all the dynamics and energy there is a sacrifice and a work-life balance when you are in an industry such as IT, particularly when the economy is growing and the region is booming. We always start the year thinking, ‘I’m going to do things differently’, but then you get on this wave and ride it until the end of the year. And to be honest, I love it.

CME: Which IT industry figure do you most admire and why?

RE Steve Jobs, CEO at Apple. What I really admire about him is the way he differentiates himself and his technology from the rest out there. Innovation, changing the dynamics of an industry, creating an industry — it’s amazing that you can do that in an industry that’s so huge. You always try to learn, admire and aspire to people who can do that. When you’re among so many players in the market, it’s key to differentiate yourself and be known for who and what you are.

CME: How would you describe your management style?

RE I set high standards, for myself and for my staff. We want to really progress and if we don’t set high standards in our targets, we won't get anywhere. I also tend to set joint objectives and place emphasis on teamwork to really get a result. And when you do that you get a holistic result. It’s very difficult to measure small things. I like to measure the overall picture and this is all based on leadership, teamwork and a goal.

CME: What is the proudest moment of your career?

RE What I’ve contributed and done with Avaya — turning around the company’s Middle East operation to where it is today, leaders at the forefront of IPT and call centres. I believe we are the fastest growing Avaya office in the world. I think it’s an achievement for myself and I don’t think you will get too many opportunities to get to do something like this so I feel very proud of where we are today.

CME: What is the best deal you have ever closed?

RE I get involved in many deals of decent size and complexity with key customers but I really don’t feel that I have closed the best deal ever. We’re working on some serious ones now and I think I’m just driven by the achievement of the organisation as a whole rather than any particular deals. Plus, I think something big might be on the way for me and the company.

CME: How do you like to relax outside of the work environment?

RE I like to spend time with my family and friends, to meet up, chat and relax at home. My home is my sanctuary. It makes me feel relaxed and protected, it's my comfort zone and the only place where I can just switch off. With so much to do in the UAE, I also like to go to the beach. It's a relaxing place — a place to meditate. And I like to go away for a weekend with family and friends.||**||

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