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University of Balamand > Administration > Administrative Offices > North America > Alumni > Lana Safatli Dandachli - Mass Communication Studies - Class of 2010

Lana Safatli Dandachli - MA, Mass Communication Studies - Class of 2010

Lana Safatli Dandachli
Master of Arts (MA), Mass Communication Studies - Class of 2010


Please provide your full name, UoB graduation year and major, current city of residence, and current job title.
Lana Safatli Dandachli
Bachelor of Arts (BA), Mass Communication Studies 2007
Master of Arts (MA), Mass Communication Studies 2010
Austin, Texas 
Vice President of Marketing and Sales, PTP Turbo Blankets

Thank you for joining us for Take 10! Can you start by giving us a brief background about yourself? 
I was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and grew up in Tripoli, Lebanon where I attended Tripoli Evangelical School for education. I've always been an honor list student and have always been excited to learn and explore. When I reached grade 5, I moved to the International School Al-Koura. Changing school and leaving all my friends behind was a very tough experience, one that has also taught me a lot and made me realize how strong I am. 

I never really gave up during that transition. I used to try to make friends only to realize that we don't really have anything in common. I would get away from them and prefer to be alone. That taught me to feel okay with being alone, and to feel like a complete person without needing others around. Yet, I would try again to make new friends. I kept trying until I successfully made amazing life-long friends. That experience truly taught me to keep my values strong and solid, and to not try to change who I am because I want to fit in or because of peer pressure. I would say that that was my first successful experience as a person and it really helped me grow as a person. 

At school, my teachers would always praise my writing techniques, and I remember specifically that my Arabic teacher would always encourage me to write. That being said, I grew up thinking I wanted to be a journalist. I completed my Bachelor and Masters Degree in Mass Communications at the University of Balamand. I have to say it was a life-changing experience once I completed a two-month internship at Future TV, Lebanon, in the summer of 2006. At that moment, I realized that there is really no freedom of expression in Lebanon– at least from my personal experience as a TV reporter. Because many of the TV stations are owned by certain political parties or powerful individuals who follow those political parties, I got to the conclusion that the media is a corrupt propaganda machine, and working for any media outlet in Lebanon would make me a slave of thought for them. I refused to do so, and would still refuse to do so today. 

Since that experience, I have decided to work in marketing and sales, which has brought me to where I am today. I literally started at level zero. I remember the first month I worked– it was for free. I had to pay out of my pocket to get to work, and was not compensated a penny. So financially speaking, it was a loss. Career-wise though, it was the best decision I made. I knew then that it doesn't matter where you start. Everything is worth it once you see the path; once you know what you want to achieve and what you're capable of. After a few jobs, today, I am the Vice President of Marketing and Sales at PTP Turbo Blankets, a successful online automotive worldwide company based in the United States. Call me proud!

What do you miss most about home?
I miss my family and friends the most. I miss walking through the halls of my university and waving hello to almost everyone. I miss the social life we have in Lebanon and the fact that we do know how to live and be happy regardless of all the poverty, instability, corruption and war-like state that has been going on for as far as I can remember.

Tell us a little more about what you do at PTP Turbo Blankets
At PTP Turbo Blankets, I achieve operational objectives by contributing marketing and sales information and recommendations to strategic plans and reviews. 

I prepare and complete action plans– implement production, productivity, quality, and customer-service standards. I resolve problems and implement changes when needed. 

On a day-to-day basis, I research the market to generate online leads for potential dealers worldwide. I hold communications and close deals. I am the happiest when I close a new deal with a big wholesaler to have them carry our products in a new country. I conduct all communications within the company, with vendors and customers. I also prepare financial statements for the company using QuickBooks.

The most exciting project I work on is setting up our booth at the SEMA show, the biggest car show in the world held every year at Las Vegas. I plan our presence at the show from A to Z and coordinate company advertising and promotional opportunities. I also plan and implement advertising on TV and print media, which is so much fun for me.

Did you have a relatively straightforward or alternative career path, and what have you learned along the way about yourself, your interests, and the world?
While in the past I did think I was going to be a journalist or a TV reporter, today I'm in the business world. I have learned that all career paths can interlock, and that there's media in everything. I'm very glad that I studied Mass Communication, as I believe that the media really runs the world of today in all fields. I've learned that life can take you so many places you never thought you would take. Just live, grow, grab opportunities and let that drive you towards your next destination. 

As a professional woman, were there certain hurdles that you had to overcome before, during, or after your time at Balamand to accomplish your goals?
I don't think I had any major troubles being a woman or specifically a Middle Eastern woman living and working abroad. On the contrary, to be very frank, I believe that being a woman has helped me. People in general are more compassionate towards women. The only challenge I’ve experienced as a woman is to convince others that I'm extremely professional, and to make sure that others treat me with mutual professionalism.

What are you most proud of in terms of your accomplishments or achievements on either the professional or personal levels?
I'm proud of where I am today as a woman in a manly automotive world, where people question what I have to do with cars! Totally a man's world! I just love to destroy their stereotypes. 

On the personal level, I'm proud to be a mother who will do her best to teach her child how to be a good human. The world certainly needs more humanly humans.

Can you share with us the best career advice you have received in the past? 
What I’m sharing is not a piece advice I have received, but something that I had to learn myself. It doesn't matter how successful you are today. You're always in a race. Once you stop learning and stop growing, you're moving backwards and eventually will lose the race.

Looking back, how do you feel your time at UoB has helped you in getting to where you are today, and in being great at what you do?
I love my university. I'm so grateful to have been a student at UOB, not just for the educational part, but also for the whole university experience. UOB has allowed me to have great teachers who have surely inspired me in so many ways to be who I am today. 

What would you say have been the highlights of your time at Balamand? Any specific memories you’d like to share? Any specific individuals who have made a difference in your life?
The highlights of my time at Balamand are all the lectures that I used to attend where public figures would visit, have debates, and I would stand up and speak out my mind freely. Mostly, my strongest highlights are two doctors that have influenced me in so many ways they’re probably unaware of. 

  • Dr. Sharif Abdunnur (Department of Mass Communications) has blown my mind away with his strong solid beliefs and his huge profound knowledge. He made me want to read more, to learn more, to question everything I know and to try to dig in for the truth before making an opinion. 
  • Dr. Elie Menassa (Faculty of Business & Management): has made me love the business world with his amazing teaching techniques and this is what I'm ultimately doing today. One of the greatest teachers!

What advice would you give to current UoB students, and to our future young women professionals in specific?
I don't believe in giving advice at all. I advise them to never take advice. Every person is different and every person learns from his own mistakes. Nobody knows you more than you know yourself. Follow your heart and do what you believe in. Have a strong and solid foundation. The world is yours. ​​

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