Principal Nabil Abbas is a family man at heart. With three school-aged children at home in Toronto, Nabil understands firsthand how important work-life balance is to professional and personal success.
A digital strategist and recent returnee to Booz Allen, Nabil led the design and delivery of several smart city and digital government programs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region during his first 4 years at the firm starting in 2014. While he enjoyed working with his team and his clients, as well as the strategic projects he led, Nabil’s family came first. They were at home in Canada, and he was working in the Middle East. The constant travel back and forth was taking a toll on all of them.
Something had to give. So, in 2018, Nabil left Booz Allen to try something new. “Jumping into the unknown from the firm’s collaborative, supportive environment took some courage on my part,” says Nabil. “It was an honest and bold step to readjust my priorities, and looking back, it was absolutely the right move for me and my family at that time.”
Working mostly from his home office in Toronto, Nabil led the standup of a venture capital-backed, e-commerce startup which targets customers in Saudi Arabia. He developed the startup’s strategy and business plans, established retail partnerships, and assembled a global team to design and develop the technology platform. “We had teams scattered around the world developing different aspects of the e-commerce platform,” says Nabil. “I dove headfirst into learning and using the latest digital technologies, agile software development methodologies, machine learning algorithms, and practical artificial intelligence applications.”
As business ramped up in fall 2019, Nabil had a choice to stay on in a day-to-day operational role at the startup, but he was looking for something different. “What excites me about a startup environment is building up a business from scratch,” says Nabil. “I wanted to combine that feeling with working at the intersection of strategy and digital transformation, where you need to have the courage to bring bold thinking to clients around emerging digital technologies—helping them redefine the way we think and make decisions.”
At a crossroad, Nabil knew just where to turn: Booz Allen. In November 2019, Nabil returned to the firm as a “comeback kid,” tapped for a new challenge—building Booz Allen’s MENA digital practice. With the small, but growing team he manages, Nabil says, “Our focus is on the future—expanding our business in the region and driving change for our clients with emerging technologies.”
Even though he’s back in the MENA region, Nabil continues to prioritize family time and their overall wellbeing. As soon as his children finish out the school year in Toronto in June, his wife and kids will relocate to the United Arab Emirates. Reinvigorated at Booz Allen with a new professional role—and with his family by his side—Nabil hopes to have the best of both worlds.