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Time and time again, women continue to prove that nothing is too hard.
In this day and age, they have left no professional field unoccupied — with passion and overwhelming success.
Meet the women who are managing your Amazon shipments, keeping you safe, and shaping the next artificial intelligence experts.
Starting a career in engineering, Jinyi Liu’s ambitions and tireless work have taken her to lead one of the biggest projects in the world of e-commerce: the $580 million transition of Souq.com to Amazon.
"It was an extremely complex and fast-paced project, because it had to be done while the platform was still in use - it was like 'changing the engine while still in flight’,” said Liu, who has been living in the UAE for the past nine years.
“Today, my biggest strength lies in large-scale technology integration.”
As a leader in an organization, Liu said she aspires to set a model for other young women. Seeking solutions to complex organisational issues in customer fulfillment and supply chain across Amazon’s operations in MENA are her main duties within the organization.
"The opportunity to play a role in bringing one of the world’s largest ecommerce companies to millions of people across the region was very exciting for me. It has made me feel like I am contributing to making history,” said Liu.
While operations has traditionally been perceived as unsuitable for women, today, many women are taking up different types of roles within Amazon Operations from technology and analytics to delivery and supply chain roles.
A large part of the opportunity goes back to workplace efforts in promoting diversity. "The time is right, and the opportunities are many for women to balance the gender scale in the unconventional field of operations.”
She added, “Even as a leader at Amazon, I have an opportunity to operate at different levels and this is what stretches me and helps me to explore my full potential."
Liu’s satisfaction as a young mother and leader in an organization comes from what she gives. For her, the achievement or end result is just a by-product.
Her dream is to actively contribute to building a better future for the young generation. "As a mother, I am now even more acutely aware of the importance of sustainability. When I look my daughter, I cannot help but think of the future and how we can make it better for our children.”
On International Women’s Day, Liu urges women to pursue their dream of becoming a leader in their fields. "There is no better time to seize the opportunity to make your voice heard and make your dream a reality,” said Liu.
With a career spanning two continents, Goulamabasse was the first woman to be hired in the operations department of Amazon when it first launched in the UAE in 2018.
“While there were women in Finance, Human Resources, and other departments, in the operations department, all my colleagues were men. But I didn’t see this as a challenge. I realised that I have an important role to play,” said Goulamabasse.
She set her goal on succeeding to inspire other women to follow suit. Today, Goulamabasse is responsible for handling large-scale projects and improvements at DXB3 – Amazon’s largest Fulfillment Centre in the UAE.
Leaving a family business, she ventured out into the corporate world to lead a thriving career on her own.
"I have always had thirst for adventure. I wanted to push myself, to explore, to achieve more,” said Goulamabasse, who started out in Amazon in the UK before moving to the UAE.
She noted, “I am proud to be working in a country that empowers women to pursue any career that they aspire to and for a company that enables women to grow into leadership roles and fulfill their dreams.”
Her dream is to inspire other women through her work. "All through my career, I have had good mentors who have inspired and guided me on my journey. Today, I want to lead by example so that my career growth can be an inspiration to other women to grow and advance their own careers."
Creating a balance between personal, social, and professional growth top her list of priorities. "I put myself in situations where I know I can do better, expand my scope and increase my exposure. At the same time, it is important to focus on family and friends and make time for personal growth. Self-growth and self-care is my motto.”
From early on, El Gayar has pursued her passion in math and computer science, turning a blind eye to stereotypes.
“I never felt that a certain field is not suitable for women. You pursue what you love regardless of gender,” said El Gayar, who is also a program director of M.Sc. Business Information Technology at Heriot-Watt University Dubai.
Witnessing the rapid growth of computers since the early 1990s, El Gayar took up her research in Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and data mining.
Her projects have had significant impact in application areas of emotion recognition, natural language processing, biometric identification, forecasting and healthcare informatics.
She earned her PhD from the Institute for Neural Information Processing in Ulm University, Germany.
“My research project was about neural networks, which links between how our brain is working and modeling it on a machine,” said El Gayar.
While men occupy more roles in the fields of AI and data science, El Gayar said she believes that numbers are not a defining factor. “What matters is that significant women are making a difference in this field today.”
She added that early technological education is significant to getting more young women in the field early on and nurturing their contributions— this is the role she aspires to achieve as an educator.
Through research, she aims to get more women on board to contribute to advancing the technology sector, which has been growing at a phenomenal speed.
“I try to contribute by always having research points to work on in collaboration with my students. I am proud to be in a position where I can inspire, supervise, and encourage students to work on the latest advances,” said El Gayar.
Kibazo has been working as a security guard for the last two years. Keeping students safe, for her, is passion and a dream come true.
“Once you love your job, you can do it from all your heart. Being a security guard has been my dream job since I was a child,” said Kibazo, a Ugandan national who’s been living in the UAE since 2017.
She added that security guards are major contributors to their communities. “You always have to be alert and awake to your surroundings to ensure nothing goes wrong,” said Kibazo, a mother of three.
She noted that gender was never the definition for any job. “If you’re physically and mentally strong and content with what you do, you will excel at the job you take on.”
Kibazo added that her diverse responsibilities as a mother and working woman complement each other. “As women, we are wired to lead our families and jobs. So, creating this balance is important.”
She dreams to launch a philanthropic foundation to aid women and children in need and inspiring more women back home to get into the workplace.
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