Young age and golden opportunities don’t always go together, but this wasn’t the case for Sherief Atef, the 19-year old trainer, who surprised everyone at Egypt Career Summit with a well-rounded session, turning doubtful question marks into impressive exclamation ones. And guess what, he is an MIU student! Are you proud yet? Because we certainly are! At the event, we sat down with the young man, interviewed him in order to know more about his journey. So everyone, meet Sherief Atef!
Q: What is your major?
A: “I’m a Business student, and I’m majoring in Management”.
Q: How were you able to land a session at Egypt Career Summit?
A: “Laila Moghazy, she works at Career Advancers, which is powering the event, suggested the idea and my mentor Moe Ash (Mohamed Reda) recruited me for delivering the session”.
Q: How do you feel about being the youngest and the only student, giving a session today?
A: “It is very challenging, knowing that the average age of the attendees is 32, which means that some of the people who will attend my session may be 13 years older than me! Besides the fact that the second youngest trainer is 28! So, it is very scary, indeed!”
Q: Can you give us more details about our session, The Art of Feedback?
A: “The session will be game-based and mainly focusing on feedback. We will list its benefits, practice the techniques of receiving it and most importantly we will analyze the different types of feedback givers. So, as a person, you will be able to identify the right individual to give you feedback”.
Q: Since your session is about feedback, can you tell us the difference between constructive feedback and criticism?
A: “Well, I’m not an expert, but research showed that feedback should be about the behavior, not the person. It shouldn’t be a personal attack. Besides, it is important to actually care about the individual and his personal development. If you have the intention to vent out, then it wouldn’t work out!”
Q: What do you hope to achieve throughout the session?
A: “I hope that people will take the knowledge (about the topic), not for the sake of attending a training, but rather because they believe that it (feedback) is something important. Actually, there are entire institutions and research centers that research only on feedback. So, we can’t deal with it (feedback) the way we did in the past.”.
Q: What was the most important feedback you got? And from who?
A: “Oh lord! This is a really tough question, they are a lot, but one of which I got from Ahmed Shoala, and it was really interesting in the way it was put together. He told me that if you continue that way, you will do this and that. And that’s the thing, he didn’t just tell me that I’m good but rather he emphasized the idea that IF I stayed on this path, I will be good. So, it was actually what we call in the business world by Feed Forward, which means that he didn’t focus on the past but rather on what I should do in the future. Yet, I can’t say that there is an important feedback in my life, but it is rather important relationships, like the one I have with my mentor Moe Ash, who challenges me to do things better all the time, and that’s why I really cherish this relationship”.
Q: Tell us more about your journey, and how did you become a trainer?
A: ” Well, it was kind of accidental! Back when I was in school, I went to a camp with Emmkan, an education development company, and we were supposed to present in public the differences between two things. After I finished my presentation, they told me that I should join the training team of their ambassadorship program, and this is how I started! Then, I worked at ISpark, Career Advancers, and Edge Consultants. Besides, I got certified as an International Professional Trainer, from Missouri State University, which made me acquire the knowledge and skills needed to conduct proper training and solutions for companies. Now, I work as a L&D consultant for NGOs and startups”.
Q: What is the thing that you think is lacking in our generation?
A: “Unfortunately, the thing that I see lacking in our generation is the desire to examine the depth of things. We always take the obvious description, we don’t see inside, that’s why we should learn new things, day in and day out. As someone once told me that we need to learn anything and everything that we encounter, because it will come in handy one day, and this was one of the best pieces of advice that I heard in my life”.
Q: Can you give a word to students?
A: “A word? I don’t know, this is huge! But, I have a concern that we, as college students, need to enjoy our lives, do things other than stressing over our academics, playing video games and wasting time in coffee shops. We need to work more, read more, and do more research”.
Q: Who would you like to thank for what you have achieved?
A: “They are too many to mention! Besides, I have this belief that I’m nothing without the people around me, they are the main source of everything I achieved. So if I would thank anyone, it will be everyone!”
Well, Sherief, we are the ones who should thank you, you made us all proud! And, we are certain that this won’t be the last time.