Get to know: Maya Zakhour
Maya Zakhour, Channel Director, Middle East, Fortinet
The biggest challenge the IT channel is facing today is the reluctance to evolve their business models and embrace change at the pace technology is changing.
What’s your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?
I graduated as a computer science major and began my career as a software engineer in my home country of Lebanon. I then relocated to Dubai with my husband to kick start my career in the IT sector. I have more than 12 years experience in the channel.
If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?
It’s hard to remember a time when the channel wasn’t in transition or in need of improvement. For me, seeing an improvement in margins and profits of the whole IT supply chain is satisfying but I would consider improving marketing specifically for the Middle East. I believe with the need for solution-based products and social media discussion, marketing is beginning to run parallel to sales.
What product or technology should the channel watch out for this year?
Smart watches that are smarter than phones and Google Glass are the products to watch out for this year. This will open a door for more IT security and it bodes well for Fortinet.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
After 12 years of working with IT majors in the region, it’s satisfying to look back at how this business has grown for vendors, distributors and resellers. I am glad I have moved forward in my career.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Put your passion and love in everything you do. Never wait for things to happen, make them happen for you through hard work and not giving up.
What is the biggest mistake you have ever made since working in the IT market?
I have made mistakes during my career from which I always learned. That has helped me to continue on the right track and reach goals I set for myself.
Which IT company, other than your own, do you most admire and why?
I have admiration for all companies who excel in the area of innovation and make life easier for IT users. So the list is endless. However, I admire Microsoft in particular because it acted as a college for me and I can proudly say it helped me shape my career in the channel.
What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East IT channel?
In my opinion, the biggest challenge the IT channel is facing today is the reluctance to evolve their business models and embrace change at the pace technology is changing. Many still rely on old-fashioned ways of doing business. Partners should regularly update themselves on training.
What’s your favourite thing about the company you work for?
Fortinet has a great product portfolio and an amazing local team. It is simply the perfect company to work for.
What sort of interests do you have outside of work?
I love spending time with my family. I often help my kids with their studies and spend quality time with them. I also love dancing, reading and swimming.