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Rob Khazzam, HBA ’09: Expect the unexpected

  • Tessa Peerless
  • |
  • Nov 27, 2017
Rob Khazzam, HBA ’09: Expect the unexpected

Rob Khazzam, HBA ’09

Tessa Peerless is an HBA1 student who participated in the Ivey Leaders Forum, which ran Nov. 23-24. She writes about the lessons learned from Rob Khazzam, General Manager at Uber Canada, who was one of the keynote speakers.

The theme of Ivey Leaders Forum 2017 was Expect the Unexpected. With his experience launching Uber in many major cities, Rob Khazzam, HBA ’09, General Manager at Uber Canada, was a perfect fit.

Khazzam spoke to HBA1 students about how he learned to not only expect, but to embrace the unexpected. Khazzam’s words instilled in me the importance of perseverance, teamwork, and maintaining a healthy balance while striving for success.

As a 21-year-old HBA graduate, Khazzam was in a situation that most HBA students fear: he was unemployed. Leveraging this fear to capture our attention, Khazzam helped us understand that dedication and perseverance was key to his success.

Launching Uber in a new city often came not only with a new work environment, language, and challenges, but also the need to hire a new team. Only a few launches in, Khazzam said he truly understood the importance of the teamwork skills he had learned in his HBA. Using these skills to his advantage and choosing and maintaining the optimal team served him extremely well in future successful launches.

Khazzam also spoke about the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. One slide that stood out to me included an incredible number of selfies he had taken during exhausting moments while travelling – on a plane, on a train, or in a hotel. These selfies were captured during a time when he was not taking care of himself. And it showed. He then relayed an important message to students about self-care, something he is still trying to balance.

Khazzam inspired HBA students through his personal stories and experiences. He left us with an important message: Success comes from not only expecting, but by embracing the unexpected.