How I Got Here: Body Shop PR Manager Hend Barakat

08 Apr 2013

The Body Shop PR manager Hend Barakat reveals how she juggles career and family and her love of making a difference...

Tell us how you got into your role at The Body Shop?
After delivering my first child I decided to work from home, because I wanted to stay with my baby in his first years. I worked as a freelance translator from home and during that time The Body Shop was one of my clients. When their PR manager left, I was looking for a stable job and they called me for an interview. I got the role to work as their PR and media executive.

Has it been a challenge?
It has definately been challenging to work with such a big international brand, to have a certain level of responsibility and to also meet everyone’s expectations.

What is it you love most about your role there?
I love the fact that I am working to help a lot of people in other communities all over the world because The Body Shop is the original ethical cosmetics company. For over 30 years it has believed that business does have the power to make the right kind of difference to the world – this unique philosophy continues to drive everything we do and allows our customers around the world to become activists simply by choosing from our range of products.

The company has an inspiring set up story thanks to its founder Anita Roddick – it must be great to work for a company with such ethics?
She tried her best to help by investing her money in great projects and really gave a chance to a lot of underprivileged people to have their own business and increase their family income. We are still trying to keep this momentum and offer a better life to a lot of people.

In what ways are you trying to help?
In 1987 we launched our pioneering Community Trade Programme which now directly benefits over over 25,000 people. This seeks to provide fair wages for work in fair conditions for all those involved in this unique programme. Our commitment to Community Trade continues to grow with over 65 per cent of our products including the benefits of Community Trade.

What was it you loved about The Body Shop’s founder and her company philosophy?
Anita Roddick believed that businesses have the power to do good. The mission statement of the company is to ‘dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change’. The stores and products are used to help communicate human rights and environmental issues.

It’s filled with wonderful goodies. Do you have any absolute favourites?
There are lots of wonderful products but one of my all time favourites is Raspberry Body Butter because it’s very soft and feminine and gives 24-hour moisturisation. I also love the All in One Face Base No 4 and the Vitamin C range is ideal for my skin.

Do you have a particularly memorable career moment?
My special moment was when I got my EMEA PR award from The Body Shop as special recognition in 2009. It was really great to achieve this success in a very short time.

What piece of advice would you give to others looking to get into a similar role?
Fall in love with your job and you will succeed.

Work life is fast paced in Dubai – how do you balance this out?
You get into a routine and start knowing exactly what you have to do. Sometimes, like everyone, I think ‘I’ve had enough’ but then you discover it’s just a passing phase and you always feel like that during stressful times.

What is the one talent that you wish you had?
Being able to give speeches.

Tell us three words that sum you up?
Ambitious, tenacious and patient.

What is your work motto?
I think it’s not so much about working hard, long hours, it’s about working smart in the time frame you have.

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