Samara Hakim is a consultant and facilitator in culture strategy and leadership with more than 10 years of experience in diversity and inclusion, gender empowerment and culture transformation. She is the founder of The Culture Factor, LLC, which helps businesses integrate culture into their metrics.
Samara recently earned an Advanced Specialized Certificate in Intercultural Management from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business' 100% online program.
1. Can you tell us a little about your background?
I was born in the United States, then my family returned to Lebanon when I was a few months old. I grew up there, speaking French, English and Arabic until I came back to the U.S. as a teenager. After completing my university and law school studies, I practiced law for a few years. During my practice, and as a result of interacting with clients from around the world, I reconsidered my career path. As I traveled to various countries, having seen the need for cultural competence in the legal profession and wanting to make a difference in the world of business, I decided to pursue a career in culture strategy. After working with a culture management consulting agency for a while, I founded The Culture Factor, LLC, where we integrate culture into business metrics towards improved financial outcomes for organizations.
2. What was your motivation for taking the class specifically and the decision to do so online?
I came across the course when I was searching for programs to enhance my CV to better reflect my expertise in the field. Knowing that having a degree or certificate would provide more credibility for the work that I do, I needed a program that was very flexible with my work schedule. This online certificate was perfect. It was at the right level to solidify what I already knew as well as provide additional connections and resources, such as the Cultural Orientations Indicator (COI).
3. How was your online experience with the University of Notre Dame?
I greatly enjoyed the outreach from the representative very early on, and it was easy to navigate the course page. I enjoyed the ability to download the audio material so I can listen to it offline. That allowed me to be learning throughout my work day when I was crunched on time. I received help any time I needed from my representative, so I felt as connected as someone who would be attending a program in person.
4. Did you find anything in the course that surprised you, such as a revelation, or ah ha moment?
I had a couple of moments where some notions had not occurred to me. The first one was when we discussed the role of law and culture. I had explored the influence of politics and the law on culture; however, I had never really considered that the law could be a codification of culture. The second moment was when we explored the COI, and I got to explore the various dimensions. I really enjoyed the assessment and I was surprised with one of my results. It gave me some insight into what I could explore further about my thinking style.
5. Do you feel the course helped you to deal more effectively with other cultures or diversity issues and if so how? Although not directly related to conflict management and transformation, a few of the theories mentioned in the class have been helpful for me in developing material for my conflict management workshops.
6. What were some of the biggest takeaways you got from the course?
Dr. Elizabeth Tuleja is a great source of knowledge and wisdom. As a consultant, it is nice to know that there is someone not only passionate about these issues, but who also enjoys sharing their knowledge whenever they can. She truly enjoys helping her students and she has been great at answering questions and providing me with guidance even after the course. I have also been connected with people that I would never have met, otherwise. Access to the COI for a year is a wonderful advantage for my work as well.
7. Do you feel you learned new communication tactics when dealing with a potentially sensitive diversity issue or situation as a result of the course?
The course solidified what I already knew as a practitioner. However, I definitely learned a lot more about working within Chinese culture from the various personal examples that the professor provided.
8. How will what you learned from the class be applied in your work life?
I apply the concepts of the course every day in the work that I do. I reflect back on the theories on a regular basis.
9. Do you feel that this course has altered or transformed your approach to work or your personal life?
It provided me with more confidence to approach potential clients and submit proposals. I have only received good reactions whenever I have mentioned having an online certificate from the University of Notre Dame.
10. Would you recommend the course to others?
11. Any additional comments?
The course provides a great mix of theoretical and practical knowledge, and it is one of those courses that will prove valuable for anyone in any career involving human capital.
In a global economy, understanding the cultural norms of partners and customers is paramount. Learn how to work successfully worldwide by earning an Advanced Specialized Certificate in Cultural Management 100% online from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.