“Let Your Only Limit Be the Sky”

Joelle is a National Sales and Marketing Manager working for Mectapharm’s company in Lebanon where since 2011, she has been managing both the sales force and the medical representatives’ teams. Joelle has a strong expertise in the pharmaceutical field and was able to meet her commitments, to be goal, people and tasks oriented which has allowed her to be noticed between her colleagues at work and to reach higher positions. Her slogan "Let your only limit be the sky" is what inspires her most to achieve all her objectives no matter how much difficult they are.

Q: Tell us a few things about your country, and also your life's story!

A: I am from Lebanon, a small country in the Mediterranean sea where different religious communities are living under the same sky. Despite being a small country and being my country, Lebanon has suffered from many wars and is still non-stable politically and economically.

On personal level, I am a pharmacist with a managerial master degree working as a sales and marketing manager in a pharmaceutical company. I am working on having my personal work simply and most importantly because I am a mother and I need to have a well balanced working experience and motherhood experience.

Q: What is your view of the world as it is today? And how do you define the concept of a better world?

A: Unfortunately, my personal opinion about the world today is not a very positive one. During the past few years, my opinion has become even pessimistic maybe because living in Lebanon with all the problems the country and the Middle East area is passing through have affected and poisoned our daily lives.

For me, old times were gold times but the world is still able to get back to its previous harmony if many problems got resolved such as poverty issue which can be related to the job market problems, the absence of accessibility to all people on earth to a good and free education...

Q: What are some of the key challenges in your society?

A: Lebanon is facing many issues:

  • 45% of its population is jobless (this percentage has never been that high)
  • 35% of the population is poor and 50% is very close to the level of poverty
  • Educational system is very expensive
  • Most of the newly graduated educated persons are leaving the country searching for opportunities for work elsewhere
  • Human rights are not respected and even the basic human rights are not assured
  • The electricity and the absence of drinkable water are a crucial problem
  • The absence of good management of the garbage is also an additional issue

Q: As a woman what are a few of the hurdles that you had to overcome up until today?

A: Being a woman by itself is an obstacle in Lebanon not because you might not have the chance to be educated, but because even if you are educated and looking for working opportunity, your peer male will be considered more potent for the same position, and will get a higher salary than you for that position. Most of the time, being a woman is assimilated directly to educating kids and doing household duties instead of being a fully independent educated person with her own and unique personality as able as men if not more and more committed than men.

Q: Why is the role of a mentor important for you?

A: The mentor is very important for me because of the thinking Lebanese mentality, meaning by this that in Lebanon, whoever has knowledge in something is not ready to share it with any other person so the latest could benefit from it unless he makes you pay for this service. I have been struggling for years since I had an idea but was not able to apply it and did not get the knowledge on how to practically apply the idea. Every time I was in need of information, I got to pay for it to get an adequate person tell me how my idea has to be structured. Until I have been enrolled in the program and since the mentor is presenting his expertise, I am really enjoying this experience since I am learning a new way of thinking and solving problem and of getting the final desirable outcomes from a person who is objective and where there are no conflicts of interests at all.

Q: Do you have a lesson that life has taught you and you would like to share?

A: Despite all the surrounding circumstances that you may be going through and all the negative vibes that may disturb your life, try to focus on the positive and to have positive minds, not toxic ones, around you.

Q: Name a project, a foundation or a person in your country that you think is doing great work in helping improve other people's lives!

A: "Bonheur Du Ciel" for Father Majdi Allawi is helping poor people getting back their dignity without being obliged to beg others to feed them. This association is a charitable and social association introducing a touch of hope in vulnerable people and God knows how many they are.

Q: What are some of the challenges that women in your country face and what efforts are made towards gender equality?

  • Unequal pay for the same job done
  • Not being taken seriously
  • Not being promoted according to their qualifications if compared to their peers
  • Being religiously considered as not equal to men

Many NGOs are trying towards achieving a more equal society (by for example helping women getting engaged more into politics, being more represented in the high authorities...) but they are being confronted to the obsolete ways of thinking in relation to the religious patterns highly rooted in the country.

Q: Athena40 is the first ever global selection of the top 40 women forward thinkers, commentators, activists, authors, academics, entrepreneurs, executives, innovators. Can you think of a truly innovative and forward-thinking woman from your country that you wish to nominate for the Athena40 global list?

A: Judge Ghada Aoun

Q: Share with us a phrase, a poem or a story that you love or you find interesting!

A: "Let your only limit be the sky" and also " Life deserves to be lived only if it is exceptional, so try to make your life as exceptional as possible".

Q: Tell us one thing that you have learned from your mentor.

A:  There is nothing to worry about, everything will be fine.