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Salem al-Marri

Japan Country Manager

Date of birth: July 27, 1980

Hometown: Dubai

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 4 (as of March 2019)

Salem al-Marri
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

When I was a kid, Japanese anime was part of our culture. Later on, while doing my mechanical engineering studies in Boston I met my wife who happens to be from Kobe, giving me a great excuse to visit in 2000 for the first time. Later, in 2006, I came back to do a one-year research study at Kobe University and an MBA at Hitsotsubashi University in 2007. All these opportunities provided me with the experience needed to come back to Japan as the Emirates representative.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

I like to live by the idea that people may forget your name or your face, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Life goes by really quickly and it’s very hard to recall every moment in detail, however you never forget how an experience or person made you feel. Try to be kind, respectful and great at what you do. Lead by example and always persevere in your bucket list goals.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

One achievement I am really proud of is when I was selected to represent Emirates and be the first Emirati to take part in the leadership and route courses offered at the Boeing Leadership Center. I visited the Boeing Everett Factory, the largest airplane manufacturing building in the world, where they integrate all the components of planes, and saw new aircraft being assembled on the production line.
On a personal level, thanks to the support of my family, I was able to learn from failures, overcome many challenges that life presented me and build rock solid patience and perseverance.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

With Japan being Emirates’ second-biggest Eastern market, I personally share the same goal as Emirates, which is to grow the Emirates brand and expand in this market. I want to help change the image that the Japanese have about Dubai and play a role in promoting Dubai and all its activities as an alternative destination to the traditional holiday destination of Hawaii. We also want to build awareness of our unique high-quality services and products and make Emirates the go-to airline for Japanese travelers.
On a personal note, my goal is to make the most out of every experience.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Whether it is Japan or anywhere else in the world, you have to come in with an empty glass. If you come with a glass full thinking that you know everything, you will leave little room to learn and understand what is happening on the ground. By not listening and making assumptions, a lot of things will get lost in translation. Whether you are going somewhere new to live, work or visit, take your time to understand the culture and the people. Japanese culture relies as much on gestures and nonverbal communications as the spoken language so you should be aware that your eyes, posture and gestures go with what you are saying.
Learning the language also goes a really long way. You do not have to be bilingual, but if you really want to embrace the country, you need to spend time with the locals experiencing the culture; only then you will get it.

Last updated: Mar 18, 2019