Connecting and paying it forward: LGM's Hassan H. Rmaile on the importance of networks | Avery Dennison

Avery Dennison Corporate / Connecting and paying it forward: LGM's Hassan H. Rmaile on the importance of networks

Connecting and paying it forward: LGM's Hassan H. Rmaile on the importance of networks

“Opportunity comes through the people you know and the connections you make."

Hassan H. Rmaile arrived at Florida State University, Tallahassee, as a graduate student from his native Lebanon. His first time in America, Hassan did not know anyone in Florida. “I learned very quickly the importance of connections,” Hassan says.

Hassan was also on a full scholarship funded by the Center for Materials Science & Technology (MARTECH) at FSU. At the time, he says, he didn’t fully appreciate what it meant to have a scholarship, but within a few years after graduation, he did.

“I realized the scholarship meant opportunities. It enabled me to meet people, to create a scientific network, to make those connections I didn’t have when I arrived in Florida,” he says. His scholarship opened doors he might never have known were there: “I was able to learn and experience new things in a way that I might not have in other situations.

“If I hadn’t had the scholarship, things might have worked out OK. But I believe I am where I am today partly because of the scholarship and the networking opportunities it gave me at the personal and professional level,” he explains.

A network is a community

Hassan Rmaile on the importance of networks

As a student coming to the U.S. for the first time, alone, Hassan quickly learned the value of a strong network. “Opportunity comes through the people you know and the connections you make,” he explains. “Many many people come to the U.S., like me, having worked hard and wanting to contribute, but they have no network.” A network, Hassan explains, accelerates cultural, social and professional integration. It helps people be who they are but also successfully adapt and find opportunities to work, learn, grow, and, he adds, continue the legacy of helping others in similar situations.

Helping those who follow in his footsteps is very important to Hassan. Each year he funds a travel scholarship at his alma mater that enables 1-2 materials science/engineering Ph.D. candidates to travel to a professional conference fto network, present their scientific work, and explore career opportunities. “You can be the top student in your state, with the best education,” he says, “but if you don’t have the means to network professionally and build those connections, launching your career can be an uphill battle.” Providing students with these opportunities is what the travel scholarship is all about.

Hassan adds that having access to opportunities is only part of the picture. “Many people talk about luck,” he says. “‘I don’t believe in luck. Luck is really the ability to recognize opportunities when they arise and having the willingness to take a risk and swiftly act on those opportunities.”

Hassan also believes in supporting people who take risks and demonstrate the courage to speak up. He actively mentors junior team members at Avery Dennison, adding that if someone just starting their career is brave enough to approach a senior leader to ask for advice, he feels a personal commitment and responsibility to help that person. “It takes courage to network, to ask for help,” Hassan says. “That courage needs to be rewarded.”

Where you come from supports where you’re going

Hassan Rmaile on the importance of networks

When building a network, Hassan says, you need to remember where you come from. “It helps keep things in perspective,” he explains. “Where I come from, in Lebanon, it’s a beautiful but challenging country. The mindset was ‘survive and live to fight another day.’

“When you leave everything behind to come to a new country and start recognizing and acting on opportunities,” he continues, “it’s easy to try to blend in and forget your roots. You can start to see normal challenges as crises, when they’re really just challenges that you can certainly overcome.” Remembering how far you’ve come and the risks you took to get there puts “normal” challenges in perspective.

“Always remember where you came from,” Hassan advises. “Your culture, your beliefs, your core values, how you were raised into the person you are.” Not only will it keep you grounded and level-headed, he says, but it helps you remember that building a network is not just about finding opportunities for yourself, it’s about being in a position to provide opportunities for others around you.

Paying it forward is critical to effective community building, Hassan believes. “The travel scholarship is one way I can replicate for others the opportunity I received.” Mentoring colleagues and participating in other people’s networks are other ways Hassan builds community. Because community, to Hassan Rmaile, means active participation and giving back. It means showing up for opportunity, helping others and doing what needs to be done. “To succeed, in anything, you need highly passionate and motivated people with the right strategy,” he says. “It’s really that simple.”

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