Marie-José Karam is a visionary leader in the fields of entrepreneurship and investment. With extensive experience in team development and business creation, she has dedicated her entire career to the success of consumer-oriented businesses in sectors such as wine, food, agricultural commodities, and the supply chain. Marie-José's expertise and unwavering commitment to emerging entrepreneurs continue to inspire others. She actively serves as a business coach and board member for nonprofit organizations, leveraging her experience and insights to contribute to their growth.
What excites you the most about your profession and why?
Being in problem-solving mode and having to push boundaries, one by one, every day. Knowing that a service or product can go around the world in 24 hours while creating value for all stakeholders. It’s fascinating.
What is the last skill you’ve learned, and how has it improved your work?
Having to manage unfair competition petitions that have a direct impact on daily business. This has enhanced my ability to think about different business pivots in chaos, in a very short time.
If you were to advise a young person looking to enter your profession, what would you tell them?
Make sure to be open to the world and different cultures. The world is evolving rapidly; base your decisions on past, present, and future data. Don’t let your emotions carry you away; try to remain accessible and empathetic.
How do you think your profession will evolve in the next 10 years?
In my opinion, on the technological side, there will be the imminent integration of blockchain into commodities. There will be many environmental challenges that will have a direct impact on commodity prices and their quality. Underdeveloped countries will suffer the most due to a lack of resources. The demand for renewable energies and carbon credits will experience double-digit growth at least.
If you could change your profession for a day, what profession would you choose and why?
I would assist people who do not have the means to feed themselves. Eating and drinking are part of human dignity. It is difficult to conceive that in 2023, there are people who do not have access to water or a daily meal.
What is your favorite book, film, or music that inspires your work, and why?
My favorite book is “The Prophet” by Gibran Khalil Gibran. It’s a poetic and spiritual book that brings us back to wisdom and the basics of life.
Your eco-friendly gesture or action at the moment?
I have joined OXFAM’s fundraising efforts to address the food crisis in Africa.
If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Pack your backpack and travel the world.
What word comes to mind when you think of Ampersand World?
An organization that understands the needs of its clients and partners. “They Champion their needs!”