Just as the Kevin07 campaign turned to Myspace to attract the youth vote in Australia, Barack Obama’s 2008 Yes We Can campaign saw ‘New Media’ as a key battleground for engagement — At just 24, Rahaf Harfoush joined Yes We Can’s New Media Team in a move that would prove to be her big break.
Eight years on, as a Digital Innovation & Foresight Strategist, Rahaf has written bestsellers, runs a consultancy she co-founded, delivers Keynote addresses at conferences, and teaches in an MBA program.
Rahaf became a full-time volunteer for the 2008 US presidential election campaign, which soon saw Obama recognised as the ‘most tech-savvy president-elect’ in history. Her three month stint with the campaign gave her a wealth of insight into the importance of unwavering strategic vision and social media, leading to her first book: Yes We Did: An Inside Look at How Social Media Built The Obama Brand.
This was the launchpad for a remarkable career.
Now a published author, Rahaf made a name and career for herself in innovation and strategy. She became the Associate Director of Technology Pioneers at the World Economic Forum in Geneva. Here she developed a passion for entrepreneurship, which was then borne out in her subsequent recognition as a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper, and her membership with the exclusive Summit Series Network.
In 2012, Rahaf teamed up with her sister, Riwa to found their own think tank and ‘special projects agency’, Red Thread. The company prides itself on out-of-the-box solutions to strategic problems. The company has worked across 20 countries on more than 70 projects with clients, such as Unilever, Shutterstock, Gap, Campbell’s, Accenture and ING Bank.
Always the plate spinner, Rahaf began working on a second book, which became a New York Times Bestseller: The Decoded Company: What if we understood our talent better than we understand our customers? This was not to be her only further foray into writing, she contributes to The Mark News, Techonomy and The Next Web and is now working on a third book.
Her background and knowledge of innovation and emerging business models has given her the opportunity to teach as an Adjunct Professor in the Sciences Po Finance and Economics MBA program, in Paris, where she now lives.
Fortunately, Rahaf’s insights are not the sole possession of her students and clients, she has been speaking about New Media and Technology at various events and forums since 2006. A highly experienced and sought after speaker she has delivered keynote addresses at the Global Business Congress and The Dallas Festival of Ideas, and has spoken at Tedx events and in the Big Data Experts Speaker Series.
Rahaf has realised her potential as a young gun and revels in her earned respect among her boomer and Gen-x peers. She continues to support youth and entrepreneurship with her place on the board of directors of Taking it Global and has also sat on the advisory boards of Enstituteu.com, OneLeap.to and SyriaDeeply.org.
But, perhaps most of all, she delights in instagramming photos of her pup, Pixel.
This profile is part of our series of spotlights on the keynote speakers that will be descending on Melbourne for the World Marketing and Sales Forum 2016. Use the promo code NEWSMODO10 for a 10% discount on tickets.