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Posted by Karen Thornalley

Lucy Hay



Lucy Hay is the founder and Chief Excellence Officer of Expressions Arabia.  This boutique learning and development organisation was set up in 2008 to meet a niche market of companies who wanted more from their training providers.

Lucy has lived in the UAE for over 38 years.  She was educated in the UK but the UAE was always home when it came to school and college holidays.  After a varied career in industries such as PR and Advertising and Oil and Gas, Lucy re-trained to become an English as a Foreign Language Trainer. A chance meeting led Lucy into the field of Corporate Training in the UAE, an area in which she finally found her true passion.  To Lucy, the ability to inspire and motivate people into achieving their full potential, is definitely worth getting up for in the morning.

In 2008 Lucy realised that there was a lot missing from the traditional approach to soft skills training, so she set up Expressions Arabia to fill a need in the market.  Her unique approach to education proved very successful and 5 years later, Expressions Arabia has an impressive client list.

Setting Up

The Company set up was relatively easy.  To begin with Expressions Arabia was licensed under a free zone.  The Company used a Set up Organisation to help and within 2 weeks had a valid trade license.

The following year, however, Lucy made the decision to register the Company under the Dubai Economic Department.  This also meant obtaining a license from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.  The process took more than 6 months and involved submitting a lot of business plans and paperwork.


Setting up your own business is never easy and you will always be your own toughest critic.  An entrepreneur’s biggest concern will always be the amount of business coming in.  It is easy to panic and get desperate in the leaner times and this can often result in losing focus and taking on work that is not necessarily within your scope.

My advice would always be not to panic, and use the leaner times to develop your own skills, build new relationships, improve your processes and procedures.  If you have a good product or service, business will come but it takes time and patience.


There have been so many highs in the five years since Expressions Arabia started.  Possibly the most rewarding is the amazing relationships we have with our clients, who have remained with us from the beginning.  We consider them to be friends as well as clients.

Also incredibly satisfying is when you start to win contracts from huge multinational companies, knowing that you are up against the big more well established companies.

The Future

Over the last 5 years, Lucy has been steadily building her own skills.  Lucy is spending more and more time working as a Success Consultant and Trainer.  This involves helping individuals to gain more success in every aspect of their lives, helping entrepreneurs to build their businesses, helping teams become more effective and helping companies to develop more successful employees.

Lucy and her family will be based elsewhere from next year, so she will be selling Expressions Arabia and continuing her career as an independent Success Consultant and Trainer.

Lucy continues her journey of learning and discovery and is particularly passionate about spreading the word and encouraging people to adopt a mindset that can only change their lives for the better.


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