With the GCC looking to boost the number of women in its workforce, the Women In Industry Forum returned to Abu Dhabi for another inspiring and thought provoking instalment.
This year’s event was held at the luxurious St Regis Hotel, in Abu Dhabi and boasted the most extensive and ambitious conference programme to date.
Since the event began in 2013, the Women in Industry Forum has gone from strength to strength. The event has grown in size from a single evening panel session to a full day conference in its own right.
This year’s event began with a lively panel session, which included some of the region’s highest achieving female business leaders.
The panel included: Her Excellency, Fatima Al Jaber, Board Member of the Al Jaber Group; Lorraine Martin, deputy executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Mission System and Training; Souad Mohamed Al Hosani, president, Nexus Business Services; Reem Al Anbari, CFO, Borouge; Armelle Le Veu-Seroude, chief innovation officer, Defense Conseil International; Nivine Abouel Soud, chief executive officer, Unichem.
The discussion centred around ways to increase the number of females in the GCC’s workforce, as well as hearing success stories from the women on stage. Lorraine Martin, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems, argued that it is in the interest of regional governments to increase the number of women in their workforce as quickly as possible.
“When companies have more diversity at board room level, they are more successful. Research shows that companies who have higher levels of female representation at board level are typically 15 per cent more successful,” she said.
The panel were extremely upbeat about the prospects for women in the GCC’s workforce, and agreed that opportunities would be forthcoming for women who wanted to fast-track their careers.
“This is the time for women to be game-changers but we need to make that happen,” said H.E. Al Jaber.
This sentiment of self determination was echoed by Armelle Le Veu-Seroude, chief innovation officer, Defense Conseil International, who said that women need to take control of their careers early on.
“Women shouldn’t limit themselves or hold themselves back. Women constantly say to themselves ‘maybe I am not sufficiently qualified or don’t have enough experience to apply for this role.’ We need to stop doing that. I think this is the first generation of women who are really starting to push forward and not hold themselves back,” she said.
Speaking of her rise to the position of chief financial officer at Borouge, Reem Al Anbari said that she hoped that her own story could inspire other young women to succeed in the male dominated oil and gas sector.
“The road is never straight and there will be many twists and turns along the way. You have to be ready to learn and adapt,” she said.
The Women in Industry Forum will pave the way for the Women in Energy event at ADIPEC 2016.