By Mira Khatib
The Arab Woman Mag team was honored to be present at the 2nd Edition of the Arab Women in Leadership and Business Summit in Dubai, UAE. Sitting in a room filled with many prominent women you can almost feel the estrogen pumping, making it very clear that when a woman is determined and sets her mind to achieving she certainly does, and more so.
There are no short cuts to the top, and these women worked hard to get to where they are today. Their journey of “how to” and “how far” is nothing short from remarkable and inspirational.
Women can be great leaders and make a difference, but keep in mind that, “leadership starts and ends in solidarity,” said Her Excellency Ameera Bin Karam Chairperson, Sharjah Business Women Council. Her Excellency encouraged women to believe in themselves and see the leader within.
While taking the form of a drop of water that seeps anywhere and changes shape yet keeps its characteristic, Her Excellency Dr. Maryam Matar, MD Chairman & Founder, UAE Genetic Disease Association, pointed out that women too should be like that drop of water and stay true to themselves, reminding themselves of their power, believing in themselves to help empower others like their daughters, mothers etc. even when sometimes circumstances may bring you down, “Whenever you have a failure imagine yourself like a ball the harder you fall the higher you bounce back!” added her Excellency Dr, Matar. “If you have a clear road map you can be whatever you want to be, write down your dreams, and turn them to goals.”
Although “The glass ceiling is on every level for women.” Said Dr. Ayesha Abdulla, Executive Dean – Business, Higher Colleges of Technology, yet “Women leaders are more persuasive than their male counterparts. Women leaders learn from adversity, and carry on with “I show you” attitude”. Women leaders are more likely to ignore rules and take calculated risks. Education is key for success; education has given women the ability to make informed choices.”
“When women want to empower themselves they can break all ceilings glass and iron! A woman doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone if she is tooled with pre-requisites of success she should be able to make her own decisions.” Said Ms. Nayera Amin, Executive Vice Chairman, Piraeus Bank.
“I am not here to challenge men, but to challenge myself. It is not a competition. Man is my father, brother, husband, and son.” Added Ms. Hala Kazim, Founder of Journey through Change.
Ms. Maha Abouelenein, Managing Director – OC, Former Head of Communications – Googles Middle East went on to say that “society teaches us we can be what we want to be but you need the support of family and friends. And to be successful you must believe in yourself, if you don’t how will others believe in you?”
Another valuable lesson from Ms. Nisreen Schocair, President at Virgin Megastore – Middle East is that “It is O.K. to say NO! And when you are hit by a crisis don’t waste it.”
“When you are doing something that you are passionate about with conviction nothing else matters, because the road is not lenient, it’s not vertical, with every one step forward you will take ten steps back, very few entrepreneurs will tell you it is an easy journey, so you must have great passion and conviction to go the full length. It’s very important to keep in mind that you cannot do it alone you need people around you who compliment your weakness’ and allow you to shine your strengths. And having the right capital is vital for the growth of your business.” Commented Ms. Mona Ataya, Founder & CEO of MumzWorld.com
After two days of listening and learning from the many inspirational role models that attended the 2nd Edition of the Arab Women in Leadership and Business Summit one felt that there is no limit to dreams and triumphs. So many valuable lessons to share, but are too long to list in this article; but here are a few things I’ve learned from these dedicated women:
Believe in yourself, don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, be passionate about what you do, be real to yourself, be appreciative of the men and women in your lives that are part of your support system, take a moment to enjoy your achievements and most of all pay it forward. One woman can make a difference and women together can change the world.