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3 questions for Hazem Ouf

Any mistake in your past that stands out now as a key learning experience?

I made an acquisition [pre-ABRH] and underestimated the liquidity needed for the business to be sustainable. I was optimistic, and my optimism got in the way of my business sense. I vowed that I would never work for a business that’s undercapitalized. When ADRH was put together, I was adamant that we put together a good balance sheet. My personal loss back in the late ‘90s and early 2000s actually benefited my investors because I’m fixated now on ROI.

Is there an experience you can remember now and laugh about?

When I worked for W.R. Grace’s restaurant group, the CEO, Peter Grace, came to a leadership conference that we held. I insisted on working my way through the crowd to tell him I was someday going to be the CEO of his company. I’m sure Mr. Grace thought, Who is this kid?  Today I tell my team members not to be afraid to come and tell me their inspirations, because I made a fool of myself once.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

My mother said if I don’t have anything nice to say I shouldn’t say anything.

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