Hesham Marold is GSBTB’s Community Manager, who started working in this position in January 2021. He told Ragıp Zık about his life divided in two countries, his experience in social innovation culture, and his hopes and plans in relation to his new role at GSBTB.
Ragıp: Hi Hesham! You started working with GSBTB as a Community Manager in January 2021. Can you tell us about yourself?
Hesham: Hi everyone! My name is Hesham Marold, and I was born in Cairo to an Egyptian mother and a German father. I pretty much grew up moving around between the two countries. I have been in Berlin since 2012 but have had a few stays in Athens, Barcelona, and Cairo since then. Now I am happy to be moving back to Berlin for good – hopefully 🙂 I am very interested in political movements, sports, and art. I studied business and innovation & entrepreneurship, with a slight focus on social innovation. When I first stumbled on Give Something Back to Berlin, I was very excited about their approach to building bridges between migrants and berliners. Now, I am thrilled to be part of the team!
How would you describe the work you do at GSBTB?
I am the new community manager at GSBTB. My role is to answer your messages and requests, and develop how we engage our community, and leverage these valuable connections that GSBTB creates. I also support with fundraising for our projects. I research to identify funding programs that are relevant to GSBTB and support with drafting and submitting the applications. In some very basic tech issues, mostly using software and tools, I help the team identify and implement the right solutions.
What does community mean to you?
I am still getting to know the GSBTB community as I just started in January. Of course, with the lockdown and work being remote, that is a bit harder. I haven’t even met the GSBTB team in person yet! For me, a community is an ecosystem of people who help and support each other, where everyone has a unique contribution. I am excited to get to know and see everyone at the various events when it is possible.
What were you doing before GSBTB?
Before GSBTB, I worked in international development and cooperation in projects that fight unemployment in Egypt. I also worked at a big startup conference and helped organize the speakers and workshops for the event. Two years ago, my father and I founded a company where we refer freelance managers to companies for short projects. This interim management provider I help run until today.
Sometimes I help with the production of short and long films!
Oh! You’ve been into film production too. What kind of films were they? How was the experience?
I have a twin brother in film school, and many of our friends work in the field. Therefore, I helped with small productions, short films, and many school projects of close acquaintances. Last year, however, I met an Egyptian director in Berlin who needed help with the production of a longer project he was shooting, so I got the chance to assist in a bigger independent film as well.
So, you have studied and worked in social innovation and entrepreneurship, and actually both in Egypt and Germany. Can you tell us a bit about the similarities and differences between the two countries in this regard?
That’s a very interesting question. In Germany, there is an infrastructure that supports social innovation and social projects. There are many accelerators, funds, grants, and help from both the government and civil society. In Egypt that infrastructure is a lot smaller, and setting up a social enterprise or starting a social project is much more challenging. There are, however, many issues to tackle, resulting in a thriving social innovation ecosystem in Egypt as well. There are incredibly dedicated and smart people working on solving social issues in both countries to make other people’s lives better!
Have you observed any connections between social entrepreneurship field and NGO work? What kind of potentials do you see for migrant NGOs in relation to this?
Well, I actually think a lot of NGOs are innovators. Social innovation should not only be celebrated in startup culture or for-profit companies or organizations. Many NGO’s address social issues in very innovative and effective ways. When I first stumbled on GSBTB, I was very excited about their approach and method, and I definitely see the various projects as social innovations.
What are your hopes and plans for community engagement in 2021 and beyond?
I hope to meet everyone in person at Refugio as soon as it is possible! I want to get to know the community and then really develop community management in a way where people can find help and answers to their questions. I also want to further enhance our community and catalyze it even more so people can make valuable connections and friendships. The GSBTB-Team has many ideas for new projects and community engagement, and I am really excited for them to be rolled out!