At 22, Christine Sfeir opened the first Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Lebanon, which has grown to more than 30 locations today. She is CEO of Meeting Point (Dunkin’ Donuts) and Treats Holding (Semsom, Green Falafel). She joined the YPO Lebanon Chapter in August 2011 and was recently named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for 2014.
“My mother is very important to me. She raised four children while working when most of her friends didn’t work. This is something I definitely admire and I feel that if she could do it with four children, I should be able to do it with my two daughters,” says Christine Sfeir.
With such a role model and upbringing, it was no wonder that Sfeir took her career seriously, starting her first big project bringing the Dunkin Donuts franchise to Lebanon at the age of 22. Sfeir says the idea of bringing Dunkin Donuts to Lebanon first came to her when she was doing her masters in food science in McGill University and spent a lot of time between classes in coffee shops, something that was not common during her undergraduate years at the American University of Beirut in the early 1990s.
“Don’t put limits on yourself and don’t let anyone convince you that you are not up for the task”
Balancing the running of a company with a family requires a lot of effort, combined with an encouraging family network, Sfeir says. “I always say I have a very supportive husband who is very proud of what I am doing and does not have a problem with me not being present as much as we would both like me to be. Also, my mother helps a lot as she stays with my daughters in the afternoon until I come back from work,” says Sfeir.
She advises women who want to become entrepreneurs to choose something they are really passionate about. “Don’t put limits on yourself and don’t let anyone convince you that you are not up for the task,” concludes Sfeir.
As for her innovation and accomplishments, Christine has received numerous awards including best business woman in the Middle East in 2011. She has also been listed as one of the top 100 most powerful Arab women in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by Arabia Magazine. And in 2014, Sfeir was ranked #19 among a list of 200 of the most powerful Arab Women in Family businesses in the MENA region in Forbes Middle East!
It makes us dream 🙂