Meet Faten Alshazly

Meet Faten Alshazly

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Contributors:

Emily Bednarz and Emma Menchefski

Healthcare, academia, government, policy, consulting, marketing. Faten Alshazly may have worked in a variety of industries over the course of her career, but entrepreneurship was always in her blood. “My foray into entrepreneurship was almost pre-destined by the DNA I inherited from my father,” she says. This innate drive led Alshazly to co-create WeUsThem, a full-service advertising agency based in downtown Halifax. She serves as the firm’s Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer.

Alshazly’s entrepreneurial spirit makes her a perfect fit to lead the Halifax Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The Chamber team was delighted to welcome her as Chair at our Annual General Meeting on April 21, 2022. “Faten will be a great asset to the Chamber and our members,” says Chamber President and CEO Patrick Sullivan. “She has extensive experience in the local business community, a passion for diversity and inclusion, and enthusiasm for exporting Halifax’s wealth of products and services to an international stage.”

Alshazly succeeds Past-Chair Mark Sidebottom, Chief Operating Officer of Nova Scotia Power. “It has been a pleasure to work with Faten in supporting Chamber members and growing Halifax these last few years,” says Sidebottom. “The Chamber is in very good hands as Faten assumes the Chair role. I wish her the best of luck and look forward to seeing what she has in store for our members.”

Halifax is where the heart is

Alshazly has been a Haligonian since her university days, when her family immigrated from the United States. Halifax represented a safe and friendly environment where she and her siblings could grow and pursue their “adventures in entrepreneurship,” Alshazly says.

Maintaining the city’s welcoming atmosphere is high on Alshazly’s list of priorities. “To me, Halifax has always been a small city with a big city feel,” she says. “I want to continue this vision for Halifax and our broader business community. I envision a city that thrives, adding new businesses each day.”

Alshazly notes that there are more businesses than ever open in Halifax right now — but it’s important that the businesses continue to support one another. “We have entrepreneurs that are willing to help out and pitch in for their community — as volunteers, mentors, advisors, neighbours and most importantly as Haligonians,” she says. “We are known for our community feel and our welcoming nature. We should never abandon that attitude because, above all else, it defines our city and our business community. We grow, but we also give a helping hand to those that need it.”

Connecting through creativity

Alshazly graduated from Dalhousie University with a focus in Business and Computer Science. But if you took a stroll through the WeUsThem office, you would immediately recognize Alshazly’s talent and passion for art and creativity. “WeUsThem is the culmination of a variety of dreams, not least of which is to have a creative space where I can explore the type of creativity I believe we need on the east coast,” she says.

Where did Alshazly find the fuel for her creativity? She credits her education at the Savannah College of Art and Design in driving the success of WeUsThem. “My education saw me connecting with the best the industry has to offer,” she says. “It saw me building an agency where I could bring together like-minded creatives, technologists, strategists, marketers, administrators to redefine what it means to advertise, market, and communicate effectively, yet creatively.”

The WeUsThem team has been able to take advantage of Halifax’s supportive business community while taking on clients from around the world. 85% of their services are for work outside of Nova Scotia, says Alshazly, but Halifax provides an ideal home base. “This has been a successful formula for us over this past decade,” she says. “It was also why we were well-positioned to face the pandemic. We had already built an infrastructure to support our clients remotely, while also having traveled to shores near and far for those that needed it.”

WeUsThem has built an authentic reach, connecting with clients in 142 countries, says Alshazly. Their client roster includes Telus, the Canadian Space Agency, The Kempinski Group, Kaplan International, Nestle, and Cambridge University. “We’re working with clients that I would never have imagined,” she says. “It’s been our mantra of success, and we continue to organically grow our teams with the same creative mindset that we first founded WeUsThem on.”

Getting involved with the Chamber

WeUsThem has been a member of the Halifax Chamber for over seven years, and Alshazly has been a member of the Board of Directors for five years. “Since joining the Chamber, some of my most memorable moments have been meeting wonderful and innovative businesses from across the city,” says Alshazly. “Being able to chat with and hear about all the unique offerings that our entrepreneurs are serving up…It makes you proud to showcase everything Halifax is and should be proud of.”

Alshazly has a message to everyone in the Halifax business community: “Reach out to me directly to have a conversation about the future of the city and what we as a Chamber can do for you,” she says. “We survey our membership regularly — and we have had nothing but positive responses for the work we do — but I am here as your representative, and I look forward to speaking with you!”

Pop Quiz with Faten Alshazly

What are your most memorable moments with the Chamber (so far)?

1. Wonder Women.

"This conference has become one of our most popular signature events at the Chamber; I still remember being invited to speak at the inaugural conference. The conference provides leaders of all genders with a forum to celebrate, network, and learn from each other."

2. The Nova Scotia Business, Labour and Economic Coalition (NSBLEC)

"The pandemic has been hard on everyone. But under Patrick’s leadership — with the entire staff behind him — it was great to see our engagement of all three levels of government through NSBLEC. Over two and a half years, we navigated changing priorities, restrictions, and protocols across our cities, provinces, and the country.
To be part of this group — to be able to put forward our questions directly as business owners and concerned citizens — provided a forum unlike any other. I daresay there has not been a singular engagement group like this across the country. It has been a phenomenal way of connecting with our government representatives, with voices at the table from a variety of industries, sectors, and geographies that spanned all of Nova Scotia."

3. Amplifying Voices.

"I will be the first to say that, as a member of the Chamber and now Chair of the Board, we have a long way to go before we have done everything we possibly can to support DEA&I.
But what I am proud of is that the Chamber took this work on, brought in experts, and got us to a level of thinking that ensured we were building a path forward — not just for us at the Chamber, but also for our membership — to be truly representative of the communities we serve. I look forward to our work ahead, and I am excited by the idea that we have a slate of staff, volunteers, and board members that are willing to roll up their sleeves and do their part to push these efforts continually forward."

What are your top priorities as Chair?

1. Advocate.

"Lobby government to facilitate a policy framework that supports new entrepreneurship and continued export of our innovations and our services globally."

2. Rebuild.

"Build up a post-pandemic business environment that facilitates growth, not just recovery, for businesses from all industries and sectors."

3. Prepare.

"Work on resiliency for our business community to ensure we are better prepared for the future — for not ‘if’ but ‘when’ we see another pandemic impact our economies and our people locally, nationally, and internationally."

4. Foster diversity.

"Reflect a business climate that is inclusive of our broader community. With creativity, innovation, and drive, we can showcase the strengths of our diverse community to a global audience. This ensures that we are welcoming of businesses in industries and sectors that are familiar to Halifax as well as those that are new to our shores."

5. Connect.

"More broadly, I want everyone to know that the Chamber has been the greatest supporter of businesses during one of the toughest times in recent history. There is strength in our membership, and we are here to continue supporting the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in our city."

Learn more about WeUsThem at:

weusthem.com


Connect with Faten on:

LinkedIn

Facebook

Twitter




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