Marwan Kheireddine says he's always been a family man. Growing up in a close-knit Lebanese family, he was part of a small Druze community. Druze is an Arabic-speaking religious sect born out of beliefs rooted in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Remarkably the Druze of Palestine stored their religious books at Kheireddine grandfather's home for safekeeping in 1948. The tradition of protecting vulnerable assets continued with Marwan Kheireddine's father, who founded AM Bank in 1980. While Kheireddine is now the chairman of AM Bank, he says he wants his four children to follow their own dreams.
'They might all want to be bankers, but they might not want to be,' Marwan Kheireddine says. 'My youngest girl seems to want to be an actress. The other one wants to be a surgeon. The third one seems to like soccer. He wants to play soccer professionally. My eldest actually wants to follow in my footsteps and become a financial consultant, but I don't know if that's really what he wants. I want to see where life is going to take him.'
Marwan Kheireddine says he's been teaching his son how to use a Hewlett-Packard financial calculator, similar to the one his father trained him to use. As both an entrepreneur and a business leader, Marwan Kheireddine also spent more than two decades teaching financial courses at the American University of Beirut.
Through that experience, Marwan Kheireddine says he fully understood how powerful Lebanon's youth really is. He views the next generation as one of the country's most valuable resources.
'Lebanese youth is among the most educated in the region,' Marwan Kheireddine says. 'We have a workforce that is way above average in terms of education and in terms of readiness to be part of the productive international workforce.'
Marwan Kheireddine Recalls the Days of His Youth
During his youth, Marwan Kheireddine spent his days camping and appreciating Lebanon's natural resources and beauty. He continues to roam the Lebanese countryside and inspect the olive trees while hiking around his mountain home. He says he's passed down his love of the outdoors to his children. He also reminisces about his days as a Boy Scout and the principles he learned from that experience - and those he learned from his parents. Since he was a child, Marwan Kheireddine says he understood the importance of integrity, honesty, and transparency; those standards have not only been instilled in his children, but also constitute a foundational part of his business culture.
As for his children's future, he says he wants to leave it up to them to decide.
'I do not want to burden my kids with the same responsibilities that I was burdened with at a young age,' Marwan Kheireddine says. 'I just don't see that as being necessary. I see my role as a supportive friend that guides them and supports them if they need my support, but they need to make their own life decisions.'
Marwan Kheireddine adds that he created a system where every one of them becomes financially independent when they go to college. 'My eldest is already financially independent,' Marwan Kheireddine says. 'He started with chores when he was a kid and has been working summers. He has enough money now to take him through college, and he knows that he is financially independent.'
Marwan Kheireddine says he's always taught his children the value of money and the importance of studying and working toward achieving goals. With a bachelor's degree in business administration, accounting, and finance from Richmond, the American International University in London, and an MBA from Columbia University in New York, Marwan Kheireddine has been a longtime proponent of higher education.
'He is someone who calculates every single cent he spends, and he realizes that he needs to get a job,' he says of his eldest son. 'He doesn't spend money he doesn't have. He understands the importance of financial independence.'
Marwan Kheireddine says he's also advised his children to never waste time listening to negative advice. It's something he admits he did more often when he was younger. If one encounters negative-minded people in life, Marwan Kheireddine advises to get away from that energy as quickly as possible and be transparent about it.
'The faster you weed out negativity, the more prosperous you become,' Marwan Kheireddine says. 'When you get hit by negative news, you take it with a big smile, put it behind you, continue your drive and [don't] get distracted by people trying to slow you down or essentially distract you from your objective.'
The Lebanese business leader has always taught his children the value of perseverance and knowing when to take a risk and when to pull back.
'Don't bite more than you can chew and do not take more risks than you can absorb,' Marwan Kheireddine says. 'So don't go into a project that will break your back to the point where can no longer recover if it breaks you.'
Marwan Kheireddine says he's taught his children the importance of being organized. He's a fan of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and reading it 20 years ago had a major impact on his life. 'It helped me organize my thoughts and I still use habits that I picked up from that book,' Marwan Kheireddine says of the tome that celebrates the importance of being proactive and prioritizing tasks. 'Although it's an old book, it's not outdated. I would highly recommend it.'
Marwan Kheireddine says he's also instructed his students and his children about the dangers of letting one's ego get in the way of success. 'I've rarely seen successful people failing, except when they trip on their ego,' he says. 'Ego is the enemy.'