Alumni Get Featured on Major News Programs
Zeid Qabar ’13 and the Chocolate Factory
The first thing Zeid Qabar ’13 learned after joining Tops Chocolate is that truly everyone loves chocolate. Now managing partner, Qabar has come to realize that making chocolate is a lot more difficult than most people appreciate.
After finishing his degree in mechanical engineering at Long Beach State College in California, Qabar returned to Jordan and joined Tops. While leaping from mechanical engineering to chocolate production may seem counterintuitive, Qabar says his different perspective has been key to his success in leading the company. “Coming as a fresh mind, you can change a lot,” he says to Beyond King’s. “From my engineering degree, I became efficient in my thinking. I realized that everything is just a problem that can be solved.”
Qabar’s biggest problem in growing the company has been to establish a niche not yet filled by other chocolate producers or importers. His solution? Make everyone’s favorite treat healthier.
Working with researchers at Petra University and the Higher Council for Research in Jordan, Tops developed the first sugar-free chocolate bars that contain the daily recommended value of key vitamins and minerals. Through research, Tops and its partners identified the vitamin and mineral deficiencies most common to the region, like vitamin D, due to the long clothes that people tend to wear, and vitamin B12, which can be found in meat, fish, and other expensive food sources that many people can’t afford.
AlMamlaka TV toured the factory and interviewed Qabar in September, highlighting the success of the local company in carving out space for itself in a market with major producers — like Galaxy and Cadbury — by creating its own market of health-conscious consumers.
Qabar attributes his success as managing partner to a style of management that respects all workers equally — a lesson rooted in his days at King’s. “If you want to be a boss, you can’t just go and boss people around,” he says. “King’s was so diverse, you had people from all social classes and backgrounds. Through King’s, I started learning how to deal with and understand people. This has been key in my business and my life.”
Farrah Matalka ’11 Gives Herself to Philanthropy
What’s in a name? For Farrah Matalka ’11, a name can hold the promise of a better future.
In 2018, after returning to Jordan from a leadership program in Bali, Matalka founded Wahab Alfarrah, Giving Joy, a charity initiative that aims to spread joy throughout Jordan by supporting those in need. Since then, Matalka has been featured on Ro’ya TV, Mamlaka TV, Cosmopolitan Middle East, TEDx, Al-Ghad, and other news and culture programs and publications about her work.
The roots of Matalka’s philanthropy stem from a school trip she took to Ghana while at King’s Academy. “Before that trip, I felt like everything was a right,” she recalls. “It was a right for me to be educated, it was a right for me to go to school. But after being in Ghana, I realized that these were privileges, because the children we taught there had to work hard for them.”
As of today, Giving Joy has helped hundreds of struggling individuals and underserved children find greater financial stability in their lives in order to set the foundation for a happier future. The funds raised by the initiative cover a wide range of causes: food costs, rental fees, healthcare bills, educational expenses and more.
To Matalka, “joy” is more than just the meaning of her name. “Joy is about teaching people to give back to the community, being kind, practicing gratitude and wellness,” she says. Her Joy Planner, a daily journal she designed, embodies her definition of joy: it gives readers a space to reflect, practice gratitude and establish goals, and proceeds go to educational funds for children.
Matalka hopes to see her initiative grow beyond Jordan’s borders, with the practice of joyful giving becoming a worldwide phenomenon. “You don’t need to give much,” she says. “Every little bit adds up to making a huge difference.”