Exploring winding souks in the empty desert and learning to wrangle rowdy horses at remote stables, Zoe Cocker's uprbinging was different to most.
Born to British parents in the growing metropolis of Dubai, Zoe mastered the ups and downs of living in a port city, where friends came and went like the tide.
"Dubai was and still is for some people a land of opportunity, as such a young country it was changing every day for good or for bad," Zoe told HuffPost as part of their Women in Marketing series.
"That changing mentality brought a lot of great people into my life but it also took them away. It taught me so much about people, how to make connections quickly, and recognise values in people I liked and shared. Values and skills I still have to this day."
It was this desert city where Zoe found herself obsessed with horses.
"I used to ride other peoples' horses at the stables where my mum taught part-time as we couldn't afford a horse of our own," she explained.
"If a paying customer got thrown off a horse, it was me who had to ride the energy out of it so it was settled for the next rider."
Starting her own agency in Dubai, Zoe's mother was finally able to buy the family their own horse and Zoe soon turned a simple passion into more when she was offered a prestigious spot on the British Equestrian Team.
"My commitment to my hobby and sport had taken me to a whole new level and at the age of 17 I was faced with a life-changing decision: leave school at a pivotal time in my life to pursue my passion and hobby as a career or finish school, go to uni and follow my mum in her footsteps in media and marketing.
"It was a huge sacrifice to leave behind something I loved and pursue a future I only knew through the eyes of my mum."
Like the sheer scale of Dubai, built in short amount of time, Zoe's career has elevated to heights that soar beyond any ultra-luxe skyscraper in the desert.
Launching her media and marketing career at Disney where she was responsible for the multi-million pound TV ad business Disney XD channel, and a first of its kind IP deal between Disney's Club Penguin and Coca Cola brand Innocent Smoothies, to ending up at the global giant of Yahoo....
"One of my proudest moments was selling and working on a first ever bullying protection programme leveraging tumblr's community and child psychologists to help teens tackle all forms of bullying online, worth £800K," she said.
Close to 18 months later, Yahoo was bought by the global giant Verizon, throwing a whole new challenge of launching a new brand her way.
"I launched Oath in both hemispheres. Starting with London where I had the pleasure of presenting to the industry on a stage that has hosted some of the greatest musicians of our time," she said.
"Australia and NZ could have been a copy-paste job of that launch but instead we tailored it to this market with an intimate lunch series that spanned every agency and had more than one-million impressions when it came to PR."
But now Zoe is looking to take the next step in her career and is applying for a coveted role in The Marketing Academy.
"I understand the contributions that I have made to the companies that I have worked for and the people I have worked with. I am now looking to be vulnerable and open to understanding my flaws as well as my strengths, to find out who I could possibly be as a future leader.
"This is an opportunity to reflect on myself and where I am in my career, and dedicate some time to develop myself and my skills."
When CNN predicted 2019 would be the year of the woman, they certainly weren't wrong. All the best, Zoe.