This is Your Brain on Organizational Change


Why can’t we change our organizations? Year after year, the list of companies that no longer exist because they were unable to evolve continues to grow. It includes such household names as Sunbeam, Polaroid, Tower Records, Circuit City, and Drexel Burnham Lambert. After six decades of study, untold investment, and the best efforts of scholars, executives, and consultants, most organizational change efforts still underperform, fail, or make things worse.

This is bad news for 21st century organizations. Increasing competition, globalization, technological changes, financial upheaval, political uncertainty, changing workforce demographics, and other factors are forcing organizations to change faster and differently than ever before. Worse, there is little reason to believe the field of organizational change can be of much help. Not only is the track record of change efforts dismal — it may not be improving. Experts have reported similar results for organizational change efforts since the 1980s. Clearly, new insight is needed into how organizations can better adapt to their environments and change.

Although myriad factors are cited, the inability to engage people is the factor noted longest and most often. As organizational behavioral experts Kenneth Thompson and Fred Luthans noted almost 20 years ago, a person’s reaction to organizational change “can be so excessive and immediate, that some researchers have suggested it may be easier to start a completely new organization than to try to change an existing one.” This phenomenon, often referred to as “human resistance to change,” is possibly the most important issue facing the field of organizational change — and one that continues to baffle scholars, consultants, and executives. So, how do we effectively engage the support and creativity of a company’s employees at the moment these attributes are most needed — during an organizational change?

One source of insight may be the field of neuroscience. The study of the brain, particularly within the field of social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience, is starting to provide some underlying insights that can be applied in the real world and, perhaps, increasingly to our understanding of how to better engage human performance and creativity during change.

At the NeuroLeadership Summit, being held in New York this week, a panel discussion with senior executives and experts from The Conference Board, the Association of Change Management Professionals, Change Leaders, and Barnard College will explore the connection between neuroscience and organizational change, understanding how we can effectively deal with the human resistance to change.

The discussion will inform our work on a new organizational change model, one that takes into account how successful change functions in a modern organization, where work is conceptual, creative, and relational, and talent is portable. Keep in mind that there is no accepted general theory of change but rather traditional “best practice” clusters around a series of activities that have contributed to the continuing poor performance of change initiatives. These include:

  • Perpetual underpreparation: change is always dreaded and a surprise to employees
  • A perceived need to “create a burning platform”: meant to motive employees via expressed or implied threat
  • Leading change from the top of the organization down: only a few individuals are actively involved in the change and either under communicate or miscommunicate with others

Most of these ideas have implications in the field of neuroscience. For instance, the need to create a burning platform atmosphere at work can trigger a limbic response in employees. Instead of motivating people to change in a positive way, a burning platform makes them uncomfortable — thrusting change upon them. In another example, driving change from the top can trigger fear within employees because it deprives them of key needs that help them better navigate the social world in the workplace. These needs include status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness — the foundation of the SCARF model. If out of synch, these five needs have been shown in many neuroscience studies to activate the same threat circuitry activated by physical threats, like pain.

Keeping all this in mind, let us propose one idea we haven’t explored yet. We strongly believe that we need to think about change differently. To begin, let’s think about people differently — not as commodities to be hurried and pushed around but as sources of real and powerful competitive advantage. A second step is to see change differently — not just as a perpetual crisis, but as an opportunity to be better prepared and equipped to manage organizational shakeups as a normal part of doing business, and as an opportunity to personally develop and grow.

For many years, the training field has viewed organizational change as a process that is both linear and sequential. Instead, change has revealed itself to be non-linear and chaotic. It’s time to find a new model — one that incorporates insights from neuroscience research and takes into account 21st century workplace dynamics and realities.

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ACC Welcomes our new CODO, Mr. Mahmood Zafar Iqbal.

We take this opportunity in welcoming our new CODO, Mr. Mahmoud to the ACC family.

We strongly believe that your skills and years of experience, will add great value to our firm.

Welcome again and we wish you a long and rewarding career.

From Everyone at ACC

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Head – Business Controller position available – Riyadh

Job Description

 Ensuring a value added analysis and support in monitoring operations
 Review the project cash flows prepared by the Project Business Controllers and recommend necessary changes
 Foresee the project developments and advise Business Controllers to take necessary proactive steps and corrective measures
 Ensure that financial policies on project management are complied
 Overall monitoring of Project Budgets and timely amendment of budget for smooth cost booking
 Review and guide Business Controllers in their Project CTC workings and give recommendations
 Appraise project cost control function and advise CFO
 Attend monthly project progress meetings
 Make project visits and evaluate the reasoning given by the project team on the variances
 Guide Business controllers in their preparation and control of project cash flows
 Appraise financial clauses of contracts and joint venture agreements to ensure that company interest safeguarded
 Liaise with joint venture management to ensure the timely completion of audit and other regulatory requirements
 Foresee the major inflow and outflow of funds and inform treasury accordingly
 Review major sub-contract documents and report to CFO
 Act as the interface between project and accounting for monthly and quarterly project closing
 Guide Business controllers on their monthly closing tasks like preparation of accruals


• Chartered Accountant/ACCA/CIMA/ICWA with minimum 12 years post qualification experience in Mega/Joint venture projects (civil, power & transport sectors)

• Strong knowledge of IFRS

• PMP certification & ERP background will be an added advantage

• “Hands on” experience with ERP systems (prefer Oracle exposure).

• Good working knowledge of MS Excel (advanced) and Power Point.

• Excellent Skills in interpreting financial data / “number cruncher”.

• Effective problem solving procedures and techniques.

Personal Attributes

• Candidate with enthusiasm, focus and drive. Collaborative management style both with peers & subordinates. Geared to work with “Roll-up the sleeves” approach.

• High level of integrity and dependability with a strong sense of urgency and results-orientation.

• Leadership skills coupled with high energy, passion and self-initiative.

• Good communication (both oral and written) & presentation skills.

This job is posted in the following Specialties:





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QA/QC Engineer Job available – Jeddah & Riyadh


Job Description

ACC (Al Arrab Contracting Company) is seeking QA/QC Engineer candidates to interview immediately.

Reports to: QA/QC Manager.
Project: HHR.
Qualifications: Civil Engineering or equivalent degree.

If available immediately, apply indicating your salary expectations and current location, via e-mail: Invites to connect also welcome


  • Minimum requirements & Skills:
  • 7 years experience in QA/QC in construction.
  • Reinforcement steel and concrete checking against shop drawings.
  • Construction standards and codes experience.
  • Roads, bridges and infrastructure experience is an advantage.
  • Strong personality and leadership, with good communication skills.
  • Computers and reporting skills.
  • Fluent in English , Arabic is an advantage.
  • Being a Saudi nationals would be a serious advantage.
  • Being already located in KSA would be preferable, in which case a transferable Iqama would be ideal.

This job is posted in the following Specialties:



Civil Engineer qualification / degree.

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Project Control Manager

Al Arrab Contracting Company (ACC) is searching for Project Control Manager for all of our new projects. Do you have what it takes?

Job Description

 Develops and maintains critical path logic networks and bar charts utilizing this information.
 Analyzes, evaluates, and forecasts current status against an established baseline schedule.
 Assesses the impact of design or construction changes and schedule slippages.
 Insure accuracy and completeness of master data including resource information; project, activity, and resource codes; enterprise project structure; security profiles; licensing information; etc.
 Prepares graphs, diagrams, and other exhibits to illustrate cost status and forecast requirements for Project Management and client.
 Performs analytical review and arithmetic checks of cost reporting documentation.
 Implements and maintains the Planning/Scheduling portion of Integrated Project Control System.
 Activities include establishing security for users and, in conjunction with the Research Primavera Administrator, configuring the tool’s global preferences.
 Develops, implements and maintains cost control, and/or provides centralized planning and scheduling function for Capital & O&M, Operations, Maintenance and Special Projects.
 Assists a Senior Project Controller with assigned segments of larger projects.
 Participates in the development of the work breakdown structure, interfacing with Procurement, Engineering, and Finance Departments.
 Prepares and processes input to the cost control system for all cost reports.
 Develop an effective project plan template that can be utilized for schedule development, schedule control, and critical path analysis.
 Performs other related duties as assigned


 Communication skills, analytical and problem-solving skills,
MS office software

Should you fit this profile please email your resume to:

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Organizational Change, Training and Development, and “motivation

Conventional organizational change, which typically encompasses training and development, and ‘motivation’, mostly fails.


Are the people stupid? Can they not see the need for change? Do they not realise that if the organization cannot make these changes then we will become uncompetitive. We will lose market share. There will be job cuts. We will eventually go out of business. Can they not see it?

Actually probably not. Or more precisely, your people look at things in a different way.

Bosses and organizations still tend to think that people whom are managed and employed and paid to do a job should do what they’re told to do. We are conditioned from an early age to believe that the way to teach and train, and to motivate people towards changing what they do, is to tell them, or persuade them. From our experiences at school we are conditioned to believe that skills, knowledge, and expectations are imposed on or ‘put into’ people by teachers, and later, by managers and bosses in the workplace.

But just because the boss says so, doesn’t make it so. People today have a different perspective. And when you think about it, they’re bound to.

Imposing new skills and change on people doesn’t work because:

It assumes that people’s personal aims and wishes and needs are completely aligned with those of the organization, or that there is no need for such alignment, and
It assumes that people want, and can assimilate into their lives, given all their other priorities, the type of development or change that the organization deems appropriate for them.

Instead, organizations, managers, bosses and business owners would do better to think first about exploring ways to align the aims of the business with the needs – total life needs – of their people. Most people who go to work are under no illusion that their main purpose is to do what their manager says, so that the organization can at the end of the year pay outrageously high rewards to greedy directors, and a big fat dividend to the shareholders.

We (the workers) work so that other more gifted or fortunate or aggressive people can profit because of our efforts.

And god help you if you are running a management buyout company, intent on floating or selling out in the next two-to-five years, making the MBO equity-holders millionaires, and leaving the employees, on whose backs these scandalous gains have been made, up the creek without a paddle, at the mercy of the new owners.

How on earth do you expect decent hardworking people to align with those aims?

It’s time for a radical re-think, before we all disappear up our own backsides…

fact one:

People will never align with bad aims. Executive greed, exploitation, environmental damage, inequality, betrayal, false promises are transparent for all decent folk to see:

“Oh you want me to do this training, and adjust to your changes, so I can make more money for you and the parasites who feed off this corporation? Sorry, no can do. I’ve got my own life to lead thanks very much..”

And that’s if you are lucky. Most staff will simply nod and smile demurely as if in servile acceptance. If they still wore caps they’d doff them.

And then nothing happens. Of course nothing happens. The people can’t be bothered.

“… if the directors are too arrogant and stupid to understand why, then why should we tell them?..”

Re-assess and re-align your organization’s aims, beliefs, integrity – all of it – with your people’s. Then they might begin to be interested in helping with new skills and change, etc.

fact two:

People can’t just drop everything and ‘change’, or learn new skills, just because you say so. Even if they want to change and learn new skills, they have a whole range of issues that keep them fully occupied for most of their waking hours – which were dumped on them by the organization in the first place.

“So you want me to attend this training course, so you can earn more (etc, etc), and when I come back from two days away in some rotten hotel my personal pile of meaningless jobs will just have magically disappeared will it? And when I come to try to implement these new skills and make all these new things happen, everyone will be completely in step will they? Pull the other one.. Again, no can do..”

The reason why consulting with people is rather a good idea is that it saves you from yourself and your own wrong assumptions. Consulting with people does not mean that you hand over the organization to them – they wouldn’t want the corporation if you paid them anyway. No, consulting with people gives you and them a chance to understand the implications and feasibility of what you think needs doing. And aside from this, consulting with people, and helping them to see things from both sides generally throws up some very good ideas for doing things better than you could have dreamt of by yourself. It helps you to see from both sides too.

fact three:

Organizations commonly say they don’t have time to re-assess and re-align their aims and values, etc., or don’t have time to consult with people properly, because the organization is on the edge of a crisis.

Well who’s fault is that? Organizations get into crisis because they ignore facts one and two. Ignoring these facts again will only deepen the crisis.

Crisis is no excuse for compromising integrity. Crisis is the best reason to re-align your aims and consult with people. Crisis is wake-up and change the organization and its purpose – not change the people. When an organization is in crisis, the people are almost always okay – it’ll be the organizational purpose and aims that stink.

So, whatever way you look at organizational change, you are kidding yourself if you think you can come up with a plan for change and then simply tell or persuade your people to implement it.

Instead, start by looking at your organization’s aims and values and purposes. What does your organization actually seek to do? Whom does your organization benefit? And whom does it exploit? Who are the winners, and who are the losers? Does your organization have real integrity? Are you proud of the consequences and implications of what your organization does? Will you be remembered for the good that you did – in the widest possible sense of doing good – while you were in charge and in your position of responsibility?

And what do your people say to themselves about the way you are managing change?

Ask them.

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How to Relax before a Big Job Interview.

Top Talent

Landing the big interview may seem like the hard part — and indeed, it’s a big part of the whole — but knowing that, well, everything is riding on how you perform in the interview is enough to make anyone a bit rattled in the hours leading up to it. As Dr. Tamar Chansky, author of “Freeing Yourself from Anxiety,” explains, “When we perceive that we are in a high stakes situation, the brain doesn’t distinguish the high stakes of a job interview — where it would help to be calm, cool and collected — from the high stakes of being under threat from attack (say, from a tiger).”

Keep calm, though, for there are steps you can take to ease your nervousness and ensure that your interviewer sees the very best you (and not someone fleeing a tiger).

1. Re-prepare. It’s important that you demonstrate familiarity with both the position and the organization, so do your homework beforehand, and then brush up in the hours leading up to the interview: Review the firm’s products or services, what the main functions of the company are, and who the competition is. It is also helpful to research the person or people who will be interviewing you — view their LinkedIn profile, and find out what their role is within the company. Doing these things will also serve as a distraction from your nervousness, so it’s a win-win!

2. Rehearse your performance. Hone your interviewing skills once more. Practice in front of a mirror so you can observe your posture, facial expressions and eye contact. Remind yourself to stay on target and not digress into long-winded responses that will take you off-topic — and possibly even into unplanned, potentially rambling territory. And while you don’t want to memorize answers to the questions you’re likely to be asked, do outline the points you want to get across and give some thought to the overall impression you want to convey, as well as to the one or two questions you’ll want to ask about the employer and the role the successful candidate will play.

3. Consider the interview a conversation, not an interview. It helps if you view the person interviewing you as friend, not foe. Get yourself into the mind-set that you and your interviewer will just be having a friendly conversation to get to know one another and ascertain whether you will be comfortable working together. Remember that having a dialogue means that you also need to be an active listener and really consider the question being asked before answering.

4. Employ relaxation techniques. Doing so will calm you down and steady your nerves so that you enter the interview clear-headed and exuding confidence, which will make you both a better speaker and listener (see No. 3). Find out which natural anti-anxiety mechanism works best for you — meditation, strenuous exercise, or some other, preferably holistic, method. Also, put down that extra cup o’ joe. Your adrenaline will have already kicked into high gear, and too much caffeine is anxiety inducing and could result in excess chattiness and the dreaded “sweaty palm syndrome.” Finally, arrive early. Being late is an added stressor you don’t need at this time.

5. Remember your strengths. Anxiety tends to make even the most confident of us feel like unqualified sad sacks. Remind yourself beforehand why you have been summoned and you will exude confidence during your interview, which will in turn reassure the interviewer why you were chosen to come in. Nichole Lefelhoc, associate director of career development and internships at Mansfield University, advises “Be confident in your abilities. There’s something about you that has already caught the interest of the potential employer. Think about these attributes and make sure you touch on them during the interview.” It may also prove helpful to repeat to yourself the mantra of “Saturday Night Live” character Stuart Smalley, right before going in, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

6. Finally, dial down the pressure. Remind yourself that you will be okay if, after the interview, a job offer is not forthcoming. There are few “once-in-a-lifetime opportunities,” which means there will be plenty of other job interviews for which you can practice all of the above until you make perfect — the perfect, most relaxed job interviewer, that is.


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Experienced Plus Innovative Equals True Meeting of the Minds

Job Interviews: Tips for Turning an Interview into an Offer

Many are dismayed by hearing the news that older people in their mid-30’s are no longer desired in the workplace. For one, the definition of older citizen used to be those in their 60’s but somehow the number shrank. Secondly, why would an employer dismiss the valuable expertise including hard lessons previously learned?

It’s no secret that the younger generation grew up with technology that is now second nature to them when it comes to their dealing with the world and in particular, their career. This phenomenon also encourages further technological innovation and advancement. The older generations are left out of the equation. They are simply pushed out of the way for the young to move ahead.

However, there is a huge drawback in believing that the older generations are no longer needed and have nothing of value to contribute. Nothing could be further from the truth. We only have about 11 years to reconsider to learn valuable lessons. When past lessons are ignored, the same errors tend to be made over and over.

Eleven years ago we were in the throws of the dotcom revelation. The executive offices were filled with people in their 20’s and those barely 30. Their lack of interest in those who went before them, or desire to learn from them, turned the business world into a chaotic dotcom bust. About 7 years later, greed plus lack of input from elders turned into a chaotic and economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression. It was, and partially still is, a worldwide mess.

It’s time for a true meeting of the minds to take place between the young innovators and the seasoned business professionals. A true negotiation involves a meeting in the middle. Opportunity exists everywhere you are willing to seek it out. In this case, those more experienced may advise on errors previously made and how to avoid them in the future. This first hand insight would undoubtedly help the current business community advance more quickly. Older people may seem slower to the young, but at times thoughtful purpose is a requirement to avoid poor judgment once again.

When an organization includes all age groups and allows for open dialogue, improved perspective and a broader spectrum of ideas come about. A true leader encourages open communication. Imagine the image a company would develop by encouraging all age groups to apply for employment.

The wealth of knowledge that would come knocking on the door would be tremendous and newsworthy too. Encouraging dialogue among all employees within the organization would be highly unique, sought after by many, and the CEO’s personal brand would be second to none. In the end, the company’s reward would be moving business along faster and further than otherwise ever thought possible.

Openness to finding the meeting of the minds between the young innovative geniuses and the older and wiser generations will put companies on the wave of the Smooth Sale!

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How to Job Hunt When You’ve Been Away from the Workforce

Saudi Training

You’ve probably heard the saying that it’s easier to get a job when you have a job. Well, what if you don’t currently have a job? What if you haven’t had a job for a long period of time?

Don’t despair. It may take some extra effort to land a job after a long period of unemployment, but it is absolutely possible. Here are five Es to guide you:

1. Explanation

First and foremost, it is a mistake to hope that employers won’t notice that you are currently out of work. A gap in your LinkedIn profile or your resume is certain to raise a red flag. You need to address it directly.

Depending on the reason for your time away and your personal comfort level, you can either explain the gap at the beginning of your LinkedIn profile Summary or in your InMail correspondence or cover letters to recruiters when you apply for positions. In whichever place you choose to give your explanation, do it quickly, honestly and positively.

Here’s an example if you stopped working because of a layoff:

I am a creative, client-focused public relations professional with deep experience in the financial services industry. Since ABC Public Relations closed its financial services practice in June 2012, I am currently seeking a new opportunity to join a large agency.

Here’s an example if you stopped working for personal reasons, such as childcare:

I am a corporate generalist attorney with substantial in-house legal experience. For the past three years, I have focused on raising my family and I am now eager to commit my substantial energy to a full-time position as an in-house counsel for a small- to medium-sized company.

2. Experience

Next, describe any professional endeavors you have pursued during your time away. This might include volunteer work, part-time work, freelancing, temping or helping out in a family business. When possible, demonstrate how this work is related to your desired career path.

Here’s an example of what the laid-off PR professional might say:

I am currently providing pro bono communications support to three nonprofits, one of which specializes in financial education. In these roles, I have further sharpened my skills in social media strategy and event promotion.

3. Education

One of the fears an employer might have about a candidate who is not currently working is that his or her skills are outdated. You can counter this fear by showing that you have maintained — or, ideally, increased — your knowledge during your time away.

Be sure to completely fill out the Education, Courses, Skills & Expertise and Certifications sections of your LinkedIn profile. If you are currently enrolled in a class or recently updated a skill or certification, then it’s worth mentioning that directly in your Summary.

For example, in the case of the lawyer returning to work after time off with her family, she might highlight the fact that she recently completed her mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) requirement. The PR executive might include some of his most cutting-edge skills — perhaps some that he developed recently in his volunteer work — in his Skills & Expertise list and invite his connections to endorse them.

If you know that your skills are rusty or that a mandatory professional certification has expired, don’t wait for a recruiter to notice. Do your best to get up to speed now, and include your current training or skill building in your LinkedIn profile to show that you are being proactive.

4. Endorsement

It is one thing to promote yourself as a safe bet despite your time away; it is another thing for someone else to say it for you. You can use LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements as strategic tools to address any concerns you believe an employer might have about your particular situation.

In the case of the PR executive, he might worry that an employer thinks he was laid off because he failed in his previous job. To counter this impression, he can request a recommendation from a previous boss, client or colleague to praise his successful results or mention that he survived three previous rounds of layoffs during the depths of the recession.

In the case of the attorney, she might fear that recruiters will assume her skills are rusty, so she can list her most cutting-edge skills in her profile’s Skills & Expertise section, which her contacts can then endorse.

5. Engagement

Finally, it is crucial for unemployed job seekers to network extensively. Your best-case scenario occurs when a recruiter or hiring manager meets you or learns about you through a trusted contact before knowing that you have been away from the workforce for an extended period. The more impressed they are by you in real life, the less important the details and length of your unemployment will be.

The new LinkedIn Jobs page will alert you to your LinkedIn connections at companies with current job openings, or you can use Company Pages or Advanced Search to find an “in” with a prospective employer.

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Airport Positions available – Inviting the best candidates to apply!


With this large project on our hands, Al Arrab Contracting Company (ACC) is determined to recruit the best possible candidates for key roles in our terminal project. This is a fantastic opportunity to qualified individuals be involved in a large project with one of the leading construction/engineering companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

We are looking for the following candidates, and ONLY candidate who has Airport Construction experience. Preference will be given to candidates currently in Saudi Arabia.

Should you wish to apply: Contact Khalil on

 Finance Manager
Finance Specialist
PRO (VISA/Legal) (Saudi)
Camp Officer
Camp Maintenance – Mech. Foreman
Camp Maintenance – Elc. Foreman
Camp Maintenance – Local Purchaser
RC Works Chief
Procurement Engineer- Civil&Arch.
Procurement Engineer -MEP
Senior Material Engineer
Local Purchaser
Logistics Chief
Document Controller
Planning Chief
Senior Planning Engineer/MEP
Cost Control Engineer
QS Manager
QS Engineer – Civil&Utility
QS Engineer – Electrical
QS Engineer – Mechanical
Senior IPC Engineer
Design Coordinator – MEP Works
Draftsman – Mechanical
Method Statement Engineer
Claims and Variations
Training Supervisor
Environmental Engineer
Scaffolding Supervisor
HS Supervisor
HS Officer
HS Officer
Lifting Supervisor
Security Chief
Plant Chief
Electrical Foreman
Reinforced Concrete Site Engineer
Façade and Roof Works Chief
External Works Project Engineer
Buildings Section Engineer
Structural Steel Site Engineer
Structural Steel Site Engineer
Façade and Roof Works Site Engineer
Façade and Roof Works Site Engineer
Finishing Works Site Engineer
Earthworks and Utilities Site Engineer
Road and Viaduct Works Site Engineer
Apron Works Chief
Apron Works Site Engineer
QA/QC Manager
QA Document Controller
QC Chief
Inspector – Civil/RC Works
Inspector – Architectural Works
Inspector – Electrical Works
Inspector – Mechanical Works
Laboratory Chief
Laboratory Technician
Electrical Engineer – Network
T&C Manager
Posted in Living in KSA | 3 Comments