Founded by Mr. Tony Joseph Abou Ghazaly, The Agenda Beirut, is a non-formal education group that goes with the grain of the increasing culture of lifelong learning. The Agenda offers a set up of short programs under the umbrella of Arts, Media, Lifestyle, Luxury and Society: A unique chance of professional exchange between high end experts and attendees of various backgrounds, ages and experience allowing them to grow their knowledge about a topic they are passionate about and offering them a big chance of networking on all levels.
Not only are they targeting pre-college youth, or stay at home moms, they’re actually benefiting more than them- especially industry groups and career shifters.
Since Tony Abou Ghazaly found the gap in the market, The Agenda Beirut is a connected hub that has been born between various experts and the attendees of the courses, who were brand owners and employees of reputable companies which allowed the networking circle of The Agenda to grow.
Based on this path, The Agenda Beirut has created a new department handling solely clients requesting PR strategies and Events management for their brands plus Business Consultancies.
Tony is not just a CEO of a reputable company, he is a key public figure and digital influencer- being recognised for his own efforts aside of The Agenda, for the market on a whole. With this being said, when we got an opportunity to talk to him, we discovered a large scale operation plan outside of Lebanon, which involves the launch of The Agenda Dubai. He discusses the life of a CEO, his opinions on past decisions and how his company fits in and plans to expand.
You’re a graduate from Istituto Marangoni, when you graduated what was your initial plan?
I took a short course of Luxury Marketing in Marangoni Paris 2010. My plan was a career shift from a degree in supply chain management that I did not love. Eventually I got what I wanted, and was recruited in the logistics department of Chanel’s flagship store in Beirut-during the phase in which they were opening up the branch. I worked directly with the European team and it was a humongous experience.
From Fashion based education into the world of PR how different is it in the aspect of business ?
Fashion and Politics are all about recycling ideas and making them look fresh and new. I consider PR to need a lot of diplomacy and a very special way for conducting it. Shockingly, and indirectly, there is a huge link between fashion, politics, and public relations. Therefore this is why my company did well in both.
From when you started until now, how much has changed within your profession ?
A lot has changed. The Agenda Academy led me into Public Relations, eventually leading to my own image as Tony Abou Ghazaly- as a public figure and influencer in Beirut. This has been a beautiful rollercoaster.
With the responsibility of being the CEO, do you ever have quarms about your company and the industry ?
A CEO never sleeps. Especially in previous phases of starting up a business the responsibility is huge. I am recently teaching courses in universities about entrepreneurship because it is a universe by itself. You can be forever a brilliant employee, but never have the characteristics of being an entrepreneur. Or, like in my case, I have had one singular job in my life which was with Chanel, but I always knew that I wanted to have my own baby that I am striving day and night to turn into a bigger empire.
Lebanese are renowned for fashion designers and have a spectacular list of public figures and social influencers, do you feel The Agenda was a big part of this success?
Yes of course. Back in 2013 I was the first one to approach @larmoiredelana (Lana El Sahely) and I was criticized for that. Today Lana is walking the runway shows of Dolce & Gabanna and alongside Naomi Campbell.
What inspired you in the very beginning, and what keeps you motivated now ?
The need of non-formal education in Lebanon inspired me, and the beautiful interest in the concept I bring keeps me going.
With the plan of Agenda Dubai, how different will it be to Agenda Beirut ?
It will be the same but with a mix of experts from Beirut plus Pan Arab.
How do you see the market within Lebanon and Dubai in terms of success stories in PR, and the future of PR, with the rise of social media and self-promotion ?
It is a very promising market. Social media and digital influencers are the future of every business and marketing strategy.