Forum Speakers Tell Women to Dream Big

DUBAI - Two prominent speakers at the Arab Women Leadership Forum 2009 on Wednesday called on women to dream big and aspire to achieve them, come what may.

By Afshan Ahmed

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Published: Thu 15 Jan 2009, 2:17 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:37 AM

Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board for the Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), and Shaikha Najla Al Qasimi, Ambassador of Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the UAE in its mission to Sweden, shared their inspirational stories for future women leaders to learn from.

“You need to decide what you want to attain as a leader. Is it power or goals?” Shaikha Najla asked the audience on the second day of the forum. “Women won’t face any obstacles if they work hard enough,” she added.

“A woman with aspirations cannot be stopped. Knowing one’s objectives and defining them are the keys to achieve dreams,” said Mona.

Both women leaders have broken cultural barriers and now represent the UAE nationally and internationally in diverse fields of work. “The greatest support is the presence of good leadership in the country. Every woman must define a vision of excellence, innovation and success personally and also for the country,” Mona added.

“Cultural constraints within the family can be overcome if women prove that they are up to any task and are ready to be leaders,” said Shaikha Najla told Khaleej Times on the sidelines.

Workshops were held to help women tap their capabilities as leaders in a male-dominant society. Anthony Barnes, careers education consultant with VT Careers Management and trainer at the workshop, said earlier, “We will make the women reflect on the speeches by Shaikha Najla and Mona on how to prepare for leadership and how to achieve their dreams.

“It is very important to dream. I want them to understand that they need to plan to become better leaders. Even if they don’t achieve their dreams, they will nevertheless achieve something.”

Sandra Watson, Head of School of Management and Law, Napier University Business School, tried to make the women participants explore and identify the challenges leaders have to face. “If you look at the statistics, this country has made a lot of progress with regard to the number of women political leaders and ministers in comparison to other Arab countries. There is a desire among the women to take on leadership roles and balance the family and society needs with organisational needs.”

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