“When you educate a woman, you create a nation.” - Hafez Ibrahim, Egyptian poet (d. 1932)

Cairo and Nashville may be thousands of miles apart, but social media is the common thread breaking down political, social, and cultural walls, resonating with people, causing them to react, and, ultimately, helping them relate to one another in sometimes seemingly unrelateable circumstances.

The A Group recently welcomed two special visitors to our office – Kelli Hansbauer, who works with IBM as a Global Digital Marketing Strategist, and Miral Dera, creative director at Creative Lab, a leading advertising agency in Egypt. Hansbauer is mentoring Dera as part of the George W. Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative Fellowship. As part of the 2013 initiative, 19 Egyptian women are kicking off the year of programming with a month spent here in the U.S visiting key businesses and institutions, such as Google, Twitter, the New York Stock Exchange. They'll then continue their fellow in Egypt for the next 11 months.

The fellowship program, now in its second year, is designed to enhance the leadership skills of women around the world with an initial focus on women in the Middle East and North Africa. Both marketing professionals took time during Dera's visit to Nashville to meet with our marketing team and discuss digital marketing trends both in Egypt and the U.S. and the common threads between the two cultures.

Miral witnesssed first hand the role social media played in the 2011 political revolution that rocked Egypt and brought together people from all backgrounds for a united cause. Through Facebook and Twitter, people came together. “Social media can unite,” she noted, and bring together people whose worlds would otherwise not merge, as part of a “collective resonation.”

Miral said that marketing and advertising strategy in Egypt is also trending toward the use of social media and making that direct and personal connection with consumers.

As audiences continue to become more globally accessible, we're grateful for further insight into international reach from our time hosting Miral. We wish her the very best as she completes her visits in the United States and then returns to Egypt.

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