Mania Merikhi

Founder Tea by M

The UAE was only a stopover for the Merikhi family on their way to settling down in the US. The initial plan was that they would stay here for 6 months. It’s been more than 32 years, and they’re still here.

“My brother and I grew up in Dubai. It will always be our home,” says Mania Merikhi.

As an 8-year-old, she remembers long drives along a two-lane Shiekh Zayed Road to “100 villas” known today as Dubai Marina for a swim, picnics in parks in Khorfakan, Hatta and Fujairah.

The secret to UAE’s success, in Mania’s opinion is the visionary drive of its leaders. “They strive to improve the country and the betterment of its citizens and residents.”

Mania loved growing up in a cosmopolitan city. A networker by nature, she enjoyed the interaction with foreign cultures and people growing up. “I’ve lived in Dubai my entire life. From elementary school all the way up to obtaining my Master’s degree, all in the UAE, and all along with people from all varieties of backgrounds. Religion, race, colour don’t matter here,” she says.

Having gained vast sales, communications and managerial experience in the corporate world, Mania resigned from her VP level job in 2020 to become an entrepreneur and follow her passion for tea, and founded a boutique speciality tea house, aptly named “Tea by M”.

“The astounding thing about the UAE is that despite being a melting pot of people from all walks of life, and the widest variety of backgrounds possible, it’s one of the safest places in the world to live,” Mania says. Often, she’s left keys in the car, engine running, while she goes around errands, or left her cellphone and handbag unattended on the table in a restaurant, knowing full well that it will be there when she returns.

Speaking about her personal growth and success in the country, she says the UAE gives you the chance to achieve your goals no matter what the circumstances. “If you are an ambitious person, then all opportunities are available to you.”

The secret to UAE’s success, in her opinion, is the visionary drive of its leaders. “They strive to improve the country and the betterment of its citizens and residents.” Giving Dubai as an example, she says: “I have seen the city grow from a two-lane Sheikh Zayed Road, to the 14-lane highway it is today, and the from the World Trade Centre building being the tallest in Dubai, to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. All within a 30-year span.”

“The word impossible doesn’t exist for the leaders of the UAE. I consider myself lucky to have lived in the era of rulers like His Highness Sheikh Zayed, and His Highness Sheikh Rashid, and today we are blessed with their equally visionary children as the mentors and role models,” says Mania.

Asked if she would change anything about the past if given the opportunity, she says: “I am living a good life in the UAE, and Dubai. I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey. Dubai has always been there for me and helped me excel in all that I have achieved. And I am grateful to call Dubai my home.”

To anyone coming new to the UAE, she says “The sky is the limit. The UAE is the best place to raise a family or start a new family or career. The country has so much to offer to the world, and  there is so much to learn from here.”