Karim Rogers, executive director of El Alsson British and American School
Karim Rogers, executive director of El Alsson British and American School: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is El Alsson British and American School Executive Director Karim Rogers (LinkedIn). Edited excerpts from our conversation:
I'm a father of four. I'm a people person who enjoys being social and active. I enjoy food and travel. Every day at work is different for me; there is no such thing as a routine. There's always something going on at school, and I'm constantly learning new things alongside the students.
I am in charge of all school operations. I have two principals who handle daily education operations with their teams, while I handle operations. I am involved in education, but not in its administration. My responsibilities include finances, human resources, licensing, admissions, buses, medical care, and all operations and resources required to keep the school running. My team includes the CFO, the head of human resources, the marketing and business development teams, as well as the buses and clinics. These are the people I work with every day.
In many schools, the principal is also in charge of operations. We don’t have that. The principal comes into my office and tells me what they require, and I handle it, so they aren't preoccupied with logistics that have nothing to do with them, such as licensing for operations or foreign employees, or where to get the money. Instead, they focus on education quality assurance.
My morning routine is determined by how well I slept the night before because of the kids. I get up and spend some time alone in the morning. I'll go to the club at 6am and do some kind of sport, either jogging, swimming, or going to the gym. I drop my youngest child at the nursery, and my other children take the bus. Then I'm in work mode.
I arrive at the office between 8-8:30am. My favorite thing in the morning is to drink my espresso. I have my own espresso machine and coffee blends. Then my assistant usually has a stack of documents for me to sign. I handle my finances, then I follow up on different departments and our weekly tasks. For example, right now it is admissions season, so I would be dealing with the registrar. I'm not involved in the nitty-gritty of operations. I try to delegate and empower others so that they can get on with the job.
The highlights at school for me are the activities, whether sports, arts, or theater — I like being a part of it. I try to schedule an hour-long walk around the school every day. I'll go floor by floor through all of the buildings — early years, primary, and secondary. I have my meet and greet and get to see everyone.
I’m generally a well-organized person. I'm the type who prepares my clothes for the next day at night so I don't have to worry about it in the morning. I keep a to-do list and keep track of what I've accomplished and what I haven't. If I haven't completed all of my tasks, I'm disciplined. I'll return home to complete it. I believe that being organized is a requirement of our job. We also need to be easily accessible.
In my line of work. I'm always looking for ways to improve myself. My professional development is a top priority for me and I enjoy attending conferences and taking courses. I always look at the half-empty cup and try to fill it up. I like to think about how I can improve and learn from others. I try my hardest to provide the best possible outcome for our students.
Work-life balance, in my opinion, is a conscious decision that must be made. If I have any work obligations when I return home, I’ll do them. If not, it's either family time or alone time for me. It’s essential for everyone, whether they’re a father, a mother, or a director, to have their alone time. You require time to reflect. Work-life balance is essential to me. I don't believe you should work until 7-8pm every night. I won’t respond to emails or work matters after 5pm unless it’s really urgent.
I enjoy going for a walk in the club after I finish work, or watching my children at their sports training. If it's the weekend, we have our family breakfast or lunch. At night, I catch up on Netflix. I can't keep up with all of the shows, but there are a few that I'm currently watching, like House of Dragons and Suits, and I enjoy cooking shows. I also keep up with my social media, which is fun. I'm not a book reader; I prefer to read articles and journals. I enjoy watching National Geographic and the Discovery channel.
I enjoy both cooking and eating. When I travel, I always research cuisines and the best places to eat before going. I make a point of not only focusing on Michelin-starred restaurants, but also on street food. One of my favorite ways to unwind is to take my wife out to eat, which is great because Egypt has recently become a foodie entertainment hotspot.
The best piece of advice I've always followed is to be patient, listen, and learn. You must be patient because everyone eventually gets their slice of the pie. And in order to lead, you must be an excellent listener. You must also learn from others.