“Women all over the world (not just the Middle East) have not yet achieved their goals, and we must all work together to improve the role of women in both work and life. The UAE Government is supporting women, which is very important (for the country) as change is being initiated from the very top. This is helping women achieve a lot, and the next step is for women themselves — and their families — to support their peers and family,” explained Princess Ameerah Al Taweel, vice chairwoman and secretary general of Al Waleed Bin Talal Foundations, during yesterday evening’s press conference at the Women in Leadership Forum Middle East & Africa.
Princess Ameerah also presented trophies to the five winners of the WIL Achievement Awards:
Leading Businesswoman of the Year: Donna Sultan, CEO of KEO International Consultants, Qatar
Most Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year: Dr Anna Zickerman-Quinn, founder and medical director of Up and Running Integrated Sports Medical Centre
Most Women-Friendly Employer: Pfizer
Male Champion of Change: Moritz P Hartmann, general manager, Roche Diagnostics Middle East
Leading Woman in Public Sector: Suhair Al Ali, former senator and Minister of Planning of Jordan
A highlight of the second day was a panel discussion entitled: Leading innovation and growth in the Middle East & Africa. During the hour-long debate, Donna Sultan, CEO of KEO International Consultants stressed: "It is extremely important in times of recession and economic challenges, that business holders fight to create business diversity and allocate new opportunities instead of downsizing and letting go of employees."
On a legal view of this panel discussion, Faten AlNaqeeb, board member and head of Legal Department at ACICO Industries Co and Principal Managing Partner at AlNaqqeb & Partners Law Bureau, Kuwait, said:” Personally speaking, I have been in compact with various GCC governments and we have always discussed how domestic laws are falling behind internationally. And the fact that they’re are not meeting up to the international growth of laws. However, We are trying to make a change, for example we have witnessed a significant change in the laws of property in Kuwait. Never the less, we have to create joint efforts, not only us as lawyers, but also as a whole community to make valuable changes.”
Dubai Airport’s commitment towards empowering women has been evident during the two days. They used the platform to reward ten of their employees with the Danaat Awards for outstanding accomplishments. Jill Nealon, their Senior Vice President Human Resources & Development explained: "Dubai Airports has long recognised the importance of diversity in the workplace, particularly the need to develop talented women to reach their full potential. The Women in Leadership conference was the ideal venue to launch Danaat, our program which aims to provide women colleagues in central positions with the skills, personal support and insights necessary for the transition to leadership."
Panelists during day two include: John Deykin, General Manager of the Book Publishing Division at Motivate Publishing and Francoise Bezzola, Vice President of TAG Heuer. Clare Woodcraft, CEO of Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, also a featured panelist said: "We have gone through a fundamental change in our brand. I would say that changing (our brand) has been critical in our transformation, and this panel discussion [about branding] emphasised how important it was."
"In these two days, we have seen and discussed tremendous topics on leadership, Emiratization, innovation and youth development. We have seen actions being taken by organizations who used this forum as a platform to communicate their programs, develop business opportunities and share their experiences. I look forward to more prosperous opportunities in our 2013 editions taking place in the MENA region and Asia," concluded Sophie Le Ray, founder of the Women in Leadership Series and naseba CEO.