With more than 17 years of experience in a variety of sectors and countries, Khalid Ali AlGhamdi, Safety & Security Executive Director at King Abdullah Financial District DMC is a dynamic leader who considers creativity and ongoing progress as important assets to his professional growth. Mr. AlGhamdi has expertise with an ability to deliver successful portfolios, programs and projects. He is a leader, mentor and motivator who can move from “insight to action” and get things started assets.
Mr. Khalid Ali AlGhamdi’s contribution to safety and security space
Over the last 17 years, Mr. AlGhamdi has contributed to the safety and security space in two main verticals. The first vertical is the professional one and today in addition to being a global board nominee, he is a director at the professional certification board of ASIS International – an elite security management and professional association.
“I reached here after years of being an advocate for professional certification in the field of safety and security. For instance, I have designed and executed a national-level training program for professional certifications in this field. I was instrumental in increasing the level of certified professionals by over 70% in less than 18 months,” he states. Within his role on the board today, Mr. AlGhamdi envisions and works towards uplifting the level of a body of knowledge to make it truly global, serving professionals around the world.
He has also contributed greatly to the technology vertical of safety and security. Being the head of safety and security engineering in two different organizations, he and his team were able to change the technology landscape and pioneer the field implementation of many cutting-edge technologies. Through extensive effort, working with tech companies around the globe, a team of technology scouting that Mr. AlGhamdi was leading was able to influence a change in several major players’ strategies and directions for safety and security technologies.
“I focused on adding the operational and field requirements to many intelligent ideas from the manufacturers which, sometimes, resulted in new and very successful products. Additionally, I always leveraged the use of data analysis and artificial intelligence in the field,” he explains.
Success is no accident; It comes with conscious effort and hard work
Success for Mr. AlGhamdi is unlocking the full potential of the team members to achieve a vision that everyone involved believes in and is passionate about. He believes that as a leader, success means framing the right vision that shapes the future of the organization and increases the competitive edge. It is also the repurposing and redeploying of talents to allow them to reach their full potential and find themselves in the big picture of the strategy and the vision.
Challenges and roadblocks in professional life are opportunities to grow
“Challenges help you become stronger, especially in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Coupled with the determination to succeed, the challenges you face will be a reason to enhance your experience and knowledge because you will need to learn to be able to overcome the challenge,” states Mr. AlGhamdi.
Throughout his professional journey, there have always been new roadblocks because he always strives to succeed and achieve his goals. One roadblock that taught Mr. AlGhamdi a valuable lesson was when he decided to accept a new position and moved out of a mature organization to a start-up. The chaos associated with start-ups and the lack of clear policies was a major challenge especially since he had served a long time before that in a mature organization. “I learned to be flexible and more of a situational leader quickly changing based on situational factors. I also learned to influence change and lead them towards maturity,” he says.
Mr. AlGhamdi’s professional journey as a strong leader
Unless you are a service provider, the safety and security field are always considered a cost center in all organizations because there is no profit associated with it. As a business leader in the field, Mr. AlGhamdi aims to always cut costs and transform the function into a revenue generation one instead of a cost center.
Mr. AlGhamdi states that his career started when he joined the shared services business line at Saudi Aramco, where he found his passion and challenge to manage and provide shared services to the core business while maintaining the delicate balance between cost and quality at the same time.
There are several milestones that marked the beginning of his career and passing the most elite professional certification in security management was one of them. In 2013 Mr. AlGhamdi was the first and only Saudi national who was able to acquire two professional certifications in the field of security engineering and security management. “Being the first in the region to own both of these designations at the same time was a real proud moment and I capitalized on it by being an active volunteer leader in this professional society,” he asserts.
One great recognition for Mr. AlGhamdi was when he received the CEO excellence award at Saudi Aramco for efficiencies in managing the security capital investment portfolio. Another great milestone was also when he was selected as one of only 32 high potential leaders in Saudi Aramco from a population of over 60,000 employees to be part of a Harvard leadership program in which he absolutely outshined himself.
Mr. AlGhamdi’s life before and after joining KAFD
At King Abdullah Financial District, Mr. AlGhamdi is the executive director of Safety and Security where he doesn’t only manage the safety and security functions but also manages the engineering and technical part of it. He leads technical, professional and skilled team members to achieve a strategic objective to be an entity to benchmark with when it comes to real-estate protection and quality of life.
Before KAFD, Mr. AlGhamdi was a part of Saudi Aramco for 15 years starting as a trainee with a scholarship in the State to acquire his BS degree in Electrical engineering. In Saudi Aramco and being a high potential leader, he moved quite frequently between functions and departments. He spent most of his career managing security and safety projects across all locations of the company which spans the entire kingdom. Mr. AlGhamdi was also part of several great teams such as the investment diversification team where he focused on security technology investment.
“A great phase of my career with Saudi Aramco was when I worked directly with the CEO and in his team of decision support, in the team, I was a close advisor to the management committee in diverse matters as well as part of the strategic refresh of the company overall,” he proudly states.
Plans for personal growth and expansion at King Abdullah Financial District
Mr. AlGhamdi claims that he is always dreaming and working on achieving each one of his dreams. For instance, for almost 8 years, he had a dream to continue his education and acquire a master’s degree in the leadership sector and not engineering like his bachelor’s degree. Being busy at work and at home, he postponed this dream and put a deadline to achieve it by 2022. Today he proudly says he has a master’s degree in organizational leadership. “I haven’t achieved all my dreams yet and I am now working on my dream to be a successful business owner,” he further states.
In KAFD, Mr. AlGhamdi wishes to continue working to achieve the strategy and become an enabler for the district to be successful. More importantly, it is his personal goal of leveraging the knowledge and skills that he has acquired in the field of shared services, especially in safety and security and start a tech-based company that enables the redefinition of the function to be an enabler rather than a cost center.
Staying motivated to maintain a work-life balance
Mr. AlGhamdi considers it extremely essential for him to have a work-life balance and spends enough time beyond work to focus on personal development activities. “It takes time to master it, but I keep my work outside the house as much as possible, however, I don’t reject ideas when they come because sometimes great ideas come at home, so I record them and work on developing them the next day,” he says.
In his personal life, Mr. AlGhamdi practices his hobbies that include reading and writing in the philosophy and psychology field which has inspired a lot of his leadership style such as being able to enhance his emotional intelligence and becoming a situational leader.
He keeps himself and the team motivated by focusing on the strategic goal and the big picture. He believes it is important to feel and live by being part of the bigger dream. “It helps motivate and brings the best out of me and the team,” he states.
Mr. AlGhamdi’s message to business leaders is that to be able to succeed, one should be able to master both: the 30,000 feet view as well as the details in the organization. Add the goal, work towards it, refresh and redesign because agility is critical today in business transactions and in dealing with people.