She was placed at number 10 on the Fifth Annual List of the Top 100 Most Powerful Arab Women, the influential 2015 ranking published by the region’s leading business title, Arabian Business.
With a career spanning more than 13 years in the real estate sector, Zainab Mohammed has become recognized within the industry as a driving force behind Dubai’s growing property sector and a hugely Influential figure who consistently creates growth and profit opportunities across all of her portfolios.
As Chief PM & MarCom Officer at wasl properties a subsidiary of wasl Asset Management Group, a semi-government entity and one of the largest property development and asset management companies in the UAE, Ms. Mohammed leads more than 180 employees in more than 10 major divisions, including Revenue Control, Strategic and Business Planning & Development, Customer Service, Legal & Collection, Tenant Management & Support, Strategic Marketing, Operations, Sales, Marketing & Corporate Communications. This is beside her role in running the Asset Management Services & Solutions Department which manages the technical side of the properties.
Ms. Mohammed is also a Member of the Board of Directors of Emaar Industries and Investments (Pvt) JSC.
AWM is honored to have Ms. Mohammed among our inspirational role models in this issue,
When we talk about what makes a great leader we always reflect upon the influence of the family, can you share with our readers the role of your family and parents in instilling these leadership qualities in you?
My family was definitely a strong influence on me and was key to instilling a level of confidence that encouraged me to reach the very top. They were firm believers in equality and taught me since I was a child that I could do whatever I wanted – I just needed to be single minded and never give up. This attitude and their continued support in my endeavors has been a central strength underpinning my leadership role.
As a woman in a male dominant career what are some challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Women in Dubai are blessed in having the support of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Who continuously speaks out about the value of women in the workplace. He has reiterated that 70 per cent of graduates in the UAE are women, 65 per cent of women are part of the government and 30 per cent are leaders already. The country’s commitment to women was evident in a survey conducted in 2014, where the UAE was ranked number one among 132 countries in the world for treating women with respect.
On a personal level, I can say that the management and colleagues I have encountered during my career journey have never discriminated between male and female employees. This attitude is what has promoted the equal participation of women in all fields in the UAE.
In your opinion what are some leadership qualities that women possess that helps in their success?
I believe that women bring a number of unique qualities as leaders. They tend to deal with stressful situations well and can focus on a number of different responsibilities at the same time. If I were to list them, I would say women score particularly highly in dedication, creativity, willingness to learn, willingness to embrace new challenges, commitment to remaining updated, communicating, sharing experiences and remaining close to those who have helped build their career or business. They are also experts in time management and work life balance. A woman should give time not only to her business and family, but also to herself.
Why is it important to empower women?
The UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, empowered women from the day union was formed. The combined leadership of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is continuing this by providing a supportive environment to women in the UAE.
I also pay tribute to the significant role played by Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and the Chairwoman of General Women’s Union and the Chairwoman of Motherhood, Childhood Supreme Council. Her continuous contributions and her initiatives to enhance the educational, intellectual and professional capabilities of women not only locally, but throughout the entire Arab world, have empowered women in the region significantly. Such empowerment for women is necessary to enable the UAE to call upon a higher number of high-caliber individuals who will enrich the country and continue to ensure that Dubai is the best city and the UAE the best country in the world.
How do you balance between a demanding career and your personal life?
This is certainly something that can be difficult for women in leadership positions because of their perceived role as the homemaker in the family. I learned early on that an essential element of good leadership is knowing how to delegate effectively. Micro-management not only undermines the people in your team, it also adds unnecessarily to your workload and can impact on your family life. Building a good team who you trust and who in turn trust you is the key to everyone being able to fulfill their responsibilities without sacrificing their home lives.
Many Emirati women have excelled and hold leadership positions, how do you see the state of the Emirati woman in the future, and what advice would you share with her and other Arab women?
I believe that as we progress as a society there will be even greater choices for women in the UAE and increased opportunities for them to excel in leadership positions. This will be thanks to the continuous support of our government. If I were to offer any advice to the Emirati woman, it would be to establish a personal program of ongoing education and professional development, as this will enable them to acquire more skills to tackle the challenges arising from change. I would encourage them to have self-belief, to stand up for their principles in the workplace and to continuously set themselves targets. Ultimately, my message to the Emirati woman is that there are no limits to what they can achieve.
For this interview in Arabic