Krysta Fox FCPA has worked across the globe but her “dream job” is heading up strategy for DMCC, Dubai’s biggest free trade zone.
Steering a business into international markets can be a complex process. If your destination is Dubai, Krysta Fox FCPA is there to make that journey a little easier. As executive director of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) Free Zone, her brief is to help soften the landing for the more than 13,000 international and regional companies that use the DMCC.
“It’s a big challenge to set up a business in a foreign country and can involve a lot of unknowns,” says Fox.
“Terminology differs, and language can be a barrier. I think one of the reasons we have been so successful is because we treat our customers like they are members of a club. We’d never want anyone to feel lost at sea.”
The 200-hectare DMCC Free Zone was set up by the Dubai Government in 2002 to provide the physical and financial infrastructure needed for Dubai to become a hub for global commodities trade. At its heart is Jumeirah Lakes Towers, where scores of gleaming high-rise towers stand tall around three artificial lakes.
"...you've got to have the guts to take risks and never give up"
The DMCC is the largest of the near 40 free trade zones in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which encourage foreign direct investment through lower taxes and customs duty.
Fox joined DMCC in 2012 and is responsible for its overall strategy. Leading a team of more than 150, her role includes business development, operations management, sales and leasing, and customer service. She says it’s “a dream job”.
“I have cherished the opportunity to lead a massive transformation that has doubled our customer base and grown profit from new services by 400 per cent, plus increased member satisfaction from 24 per cent to 90 per cent.”
After graduating in economics from the University of Tasmania in 1994, Fox had 12 years with BP Australasia as a financial reporting manager. It was BP Australasia that took her to Spain, prior to embarking on a two-year consulting period and contracts in Johannesburg and Dubai.
She also added an MBA from the University of Queensland and a Master of Accounting from the University of Southern Queensland to her CV.
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Fox had been in Dubai with her family for seven years before joining DMCC. She worked as a director of finance and IT at Supreme Fuels and general manager of finance at Al Futtaim Group Real Estate, where she ran a team in Egypt and regularly headed to Cairo.
Ask for a career highlight and, without hesitation, she points to DMCC winning Financial Times fDi Magazine’s Global Free Zone of the Year in both 2015 and 2016 – the only free zone to be awarded the honour twice in a row.
Managing a successful team is another source of satisfaction. “Every day I am proud to see my team stepping up to do things that stretch them. We have tried to foster a culture full of opportunity, celebration and laughter,” she says. That team also helped her in a time of personal challenge. “Their support of me during my treatment for breast cancer last year was heartwarming,” she says.
One piece of advice
“Negative motivation does not inspire sustained high performance. You earn dedication from your team if you provide direction and give space, encouragement and recognition. Plus you’ve got to have the guts to take risks and never give up.”
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