The Vital Touch Barcelona Interview with Nader Mahmoud
1) Nader, tell me abit about who you are and where you are from?
-Where I am from? It’s one of the hardest questions for me to answer. I
was born in Cairo, Egypt, but I never lived there except to spend summers
with my grandparents. My father worked for an American company, so we
moved a lot. I spent the first 8 years of my life in Sudan, Africa when it
still had close ties to Britain. When the political situation became
unstable, my family relocated to Athens, Greece, where I lived until I
completed college. Finally, I went to the United States for my masters
program, and was hired out of school by BASF the company I still work for
2) Tell us a little bit about your job, through your job you have lived in many places, what has been the best thing about it? What has been the worst thing about it?
-I manage a business division of over 230 people in Southern Europe–the
countries include Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal. Language has always
been a challenge because I am never in a country long enough to really
learn it well and also the languages are so similar, it makes it more
complicated. Fortunately, everyone I worked with was very understanding
of this. Managing the business in these countries–especially the last few
years when each was frought with economic problems–has probably been the
biggest challenge, but I am happy we have so far successfully navigated the
crisis. The best part of my job has been meeting
customers–farmers—throughout each of the four countries. It’s been a
pleasure meeting farmers, sampling the best of what South Europe has to
3) What do you think about living in Barcelona, how would a perfect
Barcelona day be?
-My wife and I have really enjoyed the last three years living in Barcelona.
It’s such a lovely city, which fits our personality and life style. We’ve
met so many wonderful people–both Catalans and also folks from the
international community, and feel we have really integrated here. For me,
the perfect day in Barcelona includes sleeping in, then taking a nice long
walk down to the beach with Diana and our cocker spaniel Charlie. Enjoying
a leisurely meal with a bottle of wine seaside..just soaking up the scenery
and the sun as long as possible.
4) I find you to be a very dynamic, inspiring and positive person, how did
you become a person like this?Any influences?
-I think growing up in so many places and in a multinational community
really shaped who I eventually became. It taught me in a fundamental way
that the world is a beautiful place filled with wonderful people of all
walks of life, religions, cultures, and nationalities. It also taught me
that with a little effort and an open heart and mind, you can make your way
anywhere. And I still feel I can be happy anywhere because of this.
5) What makes you tick?What makes you happy?
-I think I have always been a self-starter and self motivated. And I think
that people’s inner happiness is a choice, something we have to cultivate
on the inside. It’s not something external.
6) You have a very stressful, powerful job, how do you deal with it, both
physically and mentally? How do you cope with the stress and all the
-I have always enjoyed working hard at anything I’ve tried to pursue. I
don’t see working as a burden, but rather a pleasure. My joy comes from
doing the best I can in whatever role I have whether it is as a boss or as
a son or as a friend or as a husband. Here in southern Europe the work days
are really long–especially when I am traveling because often I am with
clients from the morning till late in the evening for dinner. I’m lucky
because I have a lot of energy, so even though I am tired, it rarely feels
overwhelming to me. Of course, when I am not working, I try to do things
that are good for me. Getting a Massage with Nunu is very helpful and
helps me relax so much I look forward to my monthly appointment. I also
enjoy working out and playing tennis when I can.
7) Any life tips or work tips that you could share with people?
-I have several quotes I live by:
“The past is where you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply
the lesson. Don’t give up in the middle !!!”
You should dare to dream even if your dreams are crazy because if you dream
you at least have a chance to get there even if it is 5% chance. If you
don’t dream you have no chance and I would rather have a chance at it.
“Focus on getting better, rather than being good. Focus on what you will
do, not what you won’t do”
Thank you Nader – you have been superb and inspirering!