Melika Yazdjerdi is the director of the horo-logy event Dubai Watch Week, which kicks off on Tuesday. Anna Nielsen for The National
Melika Yazdjerdi is the director of the horo-logy event Dubai Watch Week, which kicks off on Tuesday. Anna Nielsen for The National

Dubai Watch Week director puts in the hours

Melika Yazdjerdi is director of Dubai Watch Week, a five-day educational and cultural event featuring talks, workshops and exhibitions dedicated to craftsmanship and innovation in horo­logy. It begins its second edition in DIFC and The Dubai Mall, on Tuesday. Born in Iran, Ms Yazdjerdi moved to Dubai in 1983 and now lives in Dubai International Financial Centre with her husband.


I am an early riser. I work out for an hour and try to do that six days a week. Before Dubai Watch Week (DWW) I work out after work, but I’ve had to switch to morning because I don’t know what time I’ll leave the office at the moment. I try to vary it; I go to sunrise yoga, or I exercise at home or go to the gym. I sign up to different classes, all really early in the morning.


I have a very healthy diet. Five days a week is my strict diet policy. Two days are my cheat days. For breakfast, I’m really big into juicing, so it could be vegetable juice in the morning. I’m lactose intolerant so I tend to have non-gluten cereal with almond or coconut milk or I do chia seed pudding. I like to cook, so I have my meals set for the day. When I leave for work I have my breakfast and my lunch with me.


I live in the same building I work in. Sometimes I get in at 9am, depending on whether I’ve left at midnight previously. For two hours I’m answering emails and structuring the day, depending on emails I’ve received.


I’m not big on meetings but anything I set up I tend to club together between 10am to 3pm, so then I can go back to the rest of the day. With DWW I get 200-300 emails a day, so sticking to a regiment is important.


Lunch has to be between now and 1pm. I’m very strict about that. It could be salad with a piece of protein, probably fish but mainly vegetarian. I will be eating at my desk 95 per cent of the time. It’s not healthy because I like to switch off, but I can eat and multitask and start going through documents. Because I have a lot of emails to respond to and my phone is ringing all the time, every minute I step away is crucial – especially before DWW.


DWW is happening literally a few minutes’ walk away from the office, so I head to the site. We are three or four times a week, looking at aspects of the programme with the events team or suppliers, discussing different logistical aspects, especially as the second edition is three times the size of last year. There’s a lot of programming to look into and a month before the event we start weekly meetings with a different partner or supplier, individuals or organisations, mainly as site visits.


I talk to journalists overseas. We have more than 50 speakers coming, so there’s daily correspondence with them about what they’re going to be speaking about and their schedule while here.


It’s more conference calls. We’re flying in more than 120 people this year, including the speakers, so logistically it’s a big event. There are a lot of conversations that happen. Because we work within so many time zones we have conference calls at different hours of the day. Also I look at what has been done or achieved, because that sets the tone for the next day.


The week before DWW I don’t leave the office before this time. We work really long hours; for an event of this size we have a small team so try to maximise everybody’s timings. Everybody generously puts in a lot of extra hours. Wednesday or Thursday I tend to stay until 10 or 11 o’clock.


I serve dinner. When I’m preparing meals I try for 30 minutes maximum cooking time, so I don’t do anything elaborate. I avoid carbs so I do a roast chicken with roast vegetables on the side. Maybe quinoa. I’ll also work on my meal for the next day.


I spend two hours with my husband. We both enjoy TV shows, especially British ones. My husband is a Liverpool fan. If there’s a football match on, while he’s watching, I sit on the sofa and read a book, currently Kafka on the Shore, by my favourite author Haruki Murakami.


Bed. I’m not getting my eight hours right now, but I make up for it at the weekend.

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Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
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Number of staff: 30
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How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.


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Visa changes give families fresh hope

Foreign workers can sponsor family members based solely on their income

Male residents employed in the UAE can sponsor immediate family members, such as wife and children, subject to conditions that include a minimum salary of Dh 4,000 or Dh 3,000 plus accommodation.

Attested original marriage certificate, birth certificate of the child, ejari or rental contract, labour contract, salary certificate must be submitted to the government authorised typing centre to complete the sponsorship process

In Abu Dhabi, a woman can sponsor her husband and children if she holds a residence permit stating she is an engineer, teacher, doctor, nurse or any profession related to the medical sector and her monthly salary is at least Dh 10,000 or Dh 8,000 plus accommodation.

In Dubai, if a woman is not employed in the above categories she can get approval to sponsor her family if her monthly salary is more than Dh 10,000 and with a special permission from the Department of Naturalization and Residency Dubai.

To sponsor parents, a worker should earn Dh20,000 or Dh19,000 a month, plus a two-bedroom accommodation





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Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
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Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

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Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

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