Women leaders advocate sisterhood in business

ABU DHABI - Arab businesswomen and aspiring leaders attending the Women in Leadership (WIL) Forum which opened on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, were urged to share their experiences and offer advice, but most of all they must provide solidarity if women are to make genuine strides towards the boardroom.

By (Staff Report)

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Published: Wed 24 Nov 2010, 10:48 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 11:33 AM

Delivering the opening keynote by video, Christine Lagarde, French Minister of Economy, Industry and Employment, said it was essential that women who had climbed the corporate ladder should support the sisterhood in business. “By supporting our ‘sisters’ we can overcome this so-called lack of, or veiled female talent, and afford competent women throughout the region the opportunities they deserve,” said Sophie Le Ray, CEO, naseba, the organiser of the forum.

Earlier, during her introduction, conference chairwoman, TV anchor and broadcaster, Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane, said: “Accomplished businesswomen, should train and pass on their experience to other women climbing the corporate ladder.”

Other high profile speakers during the first session included, Fatima Al Jaber, COO, Al Jaber Group, an accomplished engineer with significant expertise in the management of international businesses, in a variety of industrial sectors. “Women are effective leaders at home and it is important to recall this expertise when entering a commercial operation,” said Fatima, who was voted by Forbes Arabia as the seventh most influential woman in the Arab world in 2008. The opening panel session dealt with four key pillars that form the base for leadership amongst successful businesswomen. They are: knowledge, public sector and business councils, society, and personality.

Panel experts such as Ameera Abdel Rahim bin Karam, Chairperson at the Sharjah Business Women Council, and Professor Philip Anderson, Alumni Fund Chaired Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD agreed that leadership qualities do not accompany an elevated position, nor are they gender specific.

Afnan Rashid Al Zayami, Chairwoman of Al Zayani Commercial Services said, “Don’t fall into a trap by imitating the other leadership styles. Leaders are not gender specific, so be yourself, act as a confident and capable leader.”

Other panels dealt with the requirements of honest leadership such as increased knowledge, financial gain, new opportunity, prestige and recognition; the right time to be a leader; the perspective of top management and social groups and associations in climbing the proverbial ladder; and factors determining the changing roles of women in the Middle East and Islamic societies.

Highlights on day two of the forum include, Dr. Amanda Nimon Peters, who is the Managing Director of Sara Black International, a training and talent development agency, she joined after a successful blue chip career with Proctor and Gamble.

“Day two is designed to persuade the next generation of influential women to succeed as individuals, team leaders and organisational visionaries. Therefore, identifying and enhancing skills are critical to success and advancement in the workplace,” added Le Ray.


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