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Women on the course of Zayed

This year, Emirati Women’s Day celebrated women on the course of Zayed. The theme focused on gender balance in the UAE highlighting women’s presence in technical and professional roles. It also focused on the continued advancement of the UAE as a result of female participation in the workforce. We dedicate this page to some of the inspirational women at Mubadala, who are pushing the boundaries and paving the way for the next generation in their respective roles.

Alyazia Al Kuwaiti,
Executive Director, Upstream & Integrated, Mubadala Investment Company.

I began my career over 15 years ago, and have since been in the energy sector; an industry known to be male dominated. However, I was determined to excel in this field and commit all my efforts to learn as much as possible in the early days. I maximized my experiences by taking on every opportunity that came my way. Over time, my commitment to personal development, led to winning the confidence of my superiors and generated a positive feedback cycle in which further opportunities to grow became available, leading me to the leadership positons I hold today.

In my current role as Executive Director of Upstream & Integrated Investments in the Petroleum & Petrochemicals platform at Mubadala Investment Company, I am responsible for managing our investments across a number of assets including leading international energy companies such as Cepsa, OMV, Mubadala Petroleum and Oil Search.

I believe that success starts from within and is only made possible when we believe in ourselves, have confidence in our competencies and strengths, and put the effort towards developing them to advance further.

‘Commitment & Consistency’ is key. Change is inevitable and there are bound to be challenges and sometimes obstacles. Despite this, we must remain focused on our goals and continue to be positive and professional. One must always hold oneself accountable to maintaining open and honest communication, and most importantly build relationships by widening your network.

Do not be afraid to seek help and support from those around you, and always aspire to achieve greater heights by developing yourself and strengthening your knowledge until you become a subject matter expert in your field.

I joined the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) in 2007, which is now the Mubadala Investment Company.

Throughout the years, the company recognized my talent and potential, developed my skills, afforded me the right resources and provided me with opportunities to learn, excel and contribute. I’m grateful for this as it has inspired me to continue to strive for excellence, both for myself and for the benefit of the organization.

During the economic crisis in 2008, I was very much affected because I had major exposure in the stock market on a personal level. I had too much leverage and was forced to restructure my entire personal stock portfolio, real estate assets and other family businesses and rebuild value again. The lessons learned from this was that through belief and perseverance in difficult times I was able to grow stronger, sharper and tougher as an investment manager. I truly believe that one must be highly resilient to be able to continue to move forward and stay strong and positive.

Women are known for their hard work, dedication and perseverance; these qualities are now being valued in the workplace and in society overall. As a testament to this, women now hold many leading positions as C-suite executives, members of boards and Government Ministers.

The UAE is a strong example in supporting women in the workplace. In 2012, the UAE became the second country in the world after Norway to impose women's representation in boards of directors of companies.

In our current day, women have managed to step forward professionally and place a mark in the corporate world successfully.

The future for females in the government sector is vast. We have been blessed with various opportunities and women all over the UAE have proved worthy, by achieving the advanced targets set by the government and meeting the high expectations of our leadership.

When it comes to female contribution in the government sector, we have achieved so much in less than 40 years, which makes the UAE a pioneer in the region and role model for neighboring countries.

I would like to encourage all young Emirati women to believe in themselves, have faith in their capabilities, work smart, remain dedicated, and stay engaged within their field of expertise – all whilst living up to the values instilled in us by our culture, religion, families, leadership and our Founding Father the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

“I have strong faith that as women, we will continue to strive and contribute to our organizations, economies and nations – ultimately enabling a gender-balanced society and sustaining an admirable life experience in the UAE” tells Alayzia.

I am grateful to Mubadala Petroleum for providing me with the opportunity to grow and reach new heights in my career. Mubadala and its group companies have always been the right platform for career progression through exposure and development.

Hanan Balalaa

Asset Manager, MENA and Russia Operations, Mubadala Petroleum.

Hanan Balalaa,
Asset Manager, MENA and Russia Operations, Mubadala Petroleum.

Hanan is an Asset Manager of a joint venture company with one of most prominent oil producing companies in Russia, Gazprom Neft. She has a technical oil and gas background as well as having the commercial and financial experience to oversee the health and performance of the venture. Her main motivation drivers are challenge and tenacity.

“I am grateful to Mubadala Petroleum for providing me with the opportunity to grow and reach new heights in my career. Mubadala and its group companies have always been the right platform for career progression through exposure and development” said, Hanan.

The increasing number of women in science and engineering, not only in UAE but also worldwide, leaves the industry no choice but to open up to more female professionals. My advice to female professionals is to take pride in what they do and to deliver with passion, as there is a very special kind of fulfilment and satisfaction in doing so. Be persistent and be a woman. You were born with the ability to excel at many things all at once.

It is great to see that Emirati women have served several positions in the country in many sectors. We have the Pilot, the head of the national space program and the President of the Federal National Council. It displays the astounding leadership of the country with respect to the role of females in the workforce.

As a freshmen in college, Hanan was surprised to see that some of her classmates were much older. At first, it was difficult to comprehend, but she later realized that it is never too late to pursue a passion or a career. That completely changed her paradigm toward self-improvement; it is never too late to improve a job, business and relationships and to become a better version of yourself and grow as a person.

I have strong faith that as women, we will continue to strive and contribute to our organizations, economies and nations – ultimately enabling a gender-balanced society and sustaining an admirable life experience in the UAE.

Alyazia Al Kuwaiti

Executive Director, Upstream & Integrated, Mubadala Investment Company.

Shaikha Al Hosani,
Senior Officer, Youth Initiatives, Outreach and Stakeholder Relations, Masdar.

In her five years at Masdar, Shaikha Al Hosani has made a lasting impact as part of the Outreach and Stakeholder Relations team. Capitalizing on the experience and knowledge she gained studying for a degree in Communications and Media Science, and her time as a culture guide at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, Shaikha has followed her career ambitions and is using her strengths in public relations to inspire the UAE’s youth to become the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.

Shaikha assists with the coordination and advancement of youth initiatives at Masdar including a year-round calendar of events, such as the Youth Ambassadors’ Program, which engages youth in areas related to sustainability and renewable energy.

“I’ve been provided with countless opportunities to grow and develop my skills and capabilities during my time at Masdar, and this would not have been possible without the unwavering support of Masdar and the UAE’s leadership. I’m in a unique position – the encouragement of Masdar’s senior management is helping me to develop my leadership skills, but I also feel empowered to help encourage the UAE’s next generation of sustainability champions and entrepreneurs”, said Shiakha.

Shaikha is a participant in the Masdar Emerging Leaders’ Program, which provides the training needed for UAE nationals to excel in achieving their career goals. She plays an important role as a member of Masdar’s Corporate Relations team, developing visit itineraries, hosting guests, and providing protocol guidance. Shaikha enjoys representing Masdar when VIP delegations visit Masdar City, and was the official social media spokesperson for Masdar during Solar Impulse 2’s historic around-the-world flight. Shaikha also represented the company at COP23, as part of an official UAE youth delegation, and at the World Government Summit, 2018.

“My role at Masdar allows me to make a difference every single day – sharing Masdar’s inspiring story, and its importance to Abu Dhabi and the UAE, with the widest imaginable audience. In the last year alone, I have been privileged to meet our Vice President and Prime Minister, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, during his visits to Masdar City and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2018, and HRH the Prince of Wales. It is an honor to be part of such a forward-thinking organization that encourages young women to take the lead. I can see a bright future for all of the women working at Masdar.”

I’ve been provided with countless opportunities to grow and develop my skills and capabilities during my time at Masdar, and this would not have been possible without the unwavering support of Masdar and the UAE’s leadership. I’m in a unique position – the encouragement of Masdar’s senior management is helping me to develop my leadership skills, but I also feel empowered to help encourage the UAE’s next generation of sustainability champions and entrepreneurs.

Shaikha Al Hosani

Senior Officer, Youth Initiatives, Outreach and Stakeholder Relations, Masdar

Maryam Rashed Al Mazrouei,
Analyst, Mergers & Acquisitions, Business Growth, Masdar.

Maryam Rashed Al Mazrouei’s passion for sustainability and renewable energy began at an early age, leading her to complete a Master’s in Engineering Systems and Management at the Masdar Institute – now Khalifa University of Science and Technology – in Abu Dhabi. With the Institute’s motto of “learning to change the world” shaping her career vision, Maryam joined Masdar’s Clean Energy division, with the aim of contributing to the UAE’s renewable energy sector.

Joining Masdar’s Business Growth team has been an easy transition for Maryam, who has utilized her engineering experience to advance Masdar’s Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Development teams. During her two years at Masdar, Maryam has been involved in a range of projects that have built upon her academic knowledge and fired her ambition to contribute to the development of the UAE’s knowledge-based economy.

“The UAE leadership passionately advocates a leading role for women in UAE society and this is reflected in the workplace culture at Masdar,” Maryam says. “I’ve noticed an increase in the number of women employed at the company since joining, and many of these are fellow engineers, following career routes traditionally chosen by men”, said Maryam.

Maryam attributes her career growth to managers who empower their colleagues – particularly women. Maryam took part in Masdar’s Emerging Leaders Programme, which is aimed at sharpening leadership skills and the ability to handle work pressure.

“I believe that there are countless opportunities for young Emirati women to become the future leaders of the renewables and sustainability sector,” she adds. “I would like to think that I am an example of what can be achieved when you have passion and the support of your colleagues and management.”

Maryam is also a graduate of the Masdar Mentorship Program – Together for Success, a platform which helps to transfer the knowledge of experienced Masdarians to new colleagues. Without doubt, the continuous career growth she has experienced at Masdar is one of the main reasons why Maryam encourages young Emirati professionals to follow their dreams.

The UAE leadership passionately advocates a leading role for women in UAE society and this is reflected in the workplace culture at Masdar,” Maryam says. “I’ve noticed an increase in the number of women employed at the company since joining, and many of these are fellow engineers, following career routes traditionally chosen by men.

Maryam Rashed Al Mazrouei

Analyst, Mergers & Acquisitions, Business Growth, Masdar

Mouza Alkaabi,
Celebrating Women Empowerment at Strata.

With the global aerospace market set to grow exponentially as travel demands continue to rise, there is a multiplying need for a steady pipeline of talent ready to embrace this cutting-edge industry. When it comes to building and advancing this dynamic sector, Emirati women at Strata are leading from the front—precisely, a staggering 86 percent of Strata’s Emirati workforce.

Mouza Alkaabi, an IT Specialist at our Tier 1 aerostructures supplier based in Al Ain, is proving that women are just as capable as men. She joined Strata as a Coordinator for the Automating Engineering process after graduating from Higher Colleges of Technology in 2014. The following year,

Mouza focused her efforts on the installation of an on-system application on the shop floor tablets that helps technicians to request for an engineer’s support when needed—this earned her a promotion to the position of Specialist in 2016.

Among the best of her many achievements to date is her work on ENOVIA, a management system that allows you to process information throughout the entire lifecycle of a product efficiently and cost-effectively— from ideation, design and manufacture, all through to service and disposal. Mouza successfully spearheaded the ENOVIA training initiative for over 600 employees in the company.

With the support of her talented team, Mouza takes initiative to enhance efficiency at Strata. She is constantly on the hunt for new smart and innovative solutions before initiating pilot testing and implementing it across smaller company divisions. Mouza is also an active participant in Strata’s Go Green movement, and is dedicated to transforming the Engineering department into a paperless zone.

Mouza’s story is a testament to the opportunities the UAE offers women who are ready to explore new career opportunities. Mubadala and its businesses are proud to play an important role in inspiring and supporting a generation of Emirati women who will help drive the future of an innovation-led economy.

Mouza’s story is a testament to the opportunities the UAE offers women who are ready to explore new career opportunities.

Mouza Alkaabi

Ayesha Rashid Al Hurr Al Suwaidi
Principal - Venture Capital.

When Ayesha started her career in finance, she was only one of a handful of women working in mergers and acquisitions in Abu Dhabi. Today, as a CFA charter holder, she has the privilege of working alongside many talented female colleagues within the organization and is proud of the collective advancement of women in a professional sector that has been traditionally male-dominated.

During her career with Mubadala Capital, Ayesha has been lucky enough to be seconded with several key Mubadala partners, including The Blackstone Group, a world-class private equity investment firm. Despite admitting to feeling “a bit intimidated”, Ayesha was pleased she was able to demonstrate her capabilities. Her experience at Blackstone reminded her that the caliber of people at Mubadala is equally world-class.

In her current role, she acts as a Principal for Mubadala Capital, and is seconded to another major strategic partner - the SoftBank Vision Fund. “This is both a great honor and a great responsibility given the unprecedented amount of capital we have invested”, comments Ayesha, who has played a lead role in developing this partnership since it was launched.

Crediting her achievements to two main aspects of her career to date, Ayesha is keen to point out that she has received a great deal of support along the way: “Mubadala understands the importance of inclusion and has continually offered me the opportunity to develop and grow professionally throughout my career. The second element is within myself and my determination to persevere.”

Looking ahead, Ayesha believes the future is bright for females in the financial services industry, including at Mubadala where there are many exciting opportunities to explore for ambitious young people. Her parting advice is that women should never be afraid to venture out of their comfort zone as this is where you can become a capable world-class professional by investing the time and commitment to develop and grow.

For Ayesha, and her contemporaries, she is quick to remind people that ultimately, while there is a great deal of support and encouragement, success has to come from within and the individual’s personal determination: “Mubadala has opened the door to all of us, but we’re the ones who walked through it on our own.”

Mubadala understands the importance of inclusion and has continually offered me the opportunity to develop and grow professionally throughout my career. The second element is within myself and my determination to persevere.

Ayesha Rashid Al Hurr Al Suwaidi
Principal - Venture Capital.

Fatima Al Zaabi,
Industrial Engineer, Turbine Services & Solutions.

Fatima Al Zaabi has been an engineer at heart from a very young age. Born into a family of engineers, Fatima has fond childhood memories of eagerly dismantling household machines and appliances before putting them back together again. That adolescent interest in learning how the physical world worked never waned, and in November 2015, Fatima became one of the first Emirati women in the field of rotating machinery and gas turbine maintenance.

After earning a degree in Electromechanical Engineering from Abu Dhabi Polytechnic, she launched her career at Turbine Services & Solutions (TS&S) in 2016, where she now works as a full-time engineer.

One of Fatima’s greatest early professional achievements was leading a team of TS&S specialists and students to assemble a mock engine for a leading regional company. She has also assisted in many noteworthy projects including the assemblage of the first Industrial Trent WLE Engine. Fatima is now focused on honing her technical and managerial skills in the field as TS&S looks to advance its business in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft engines and industrial turbines.

Prior to joining TS&S, Fatima was honored by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai for academic excellence, in 2016. During the third year of her undergraduate studies, Fatima secured an internship with TS&S where she spent six months receiving specialized hands-on training on industrial turbines.

Fatima credits her success to a dynamic and collaborative work environment and the support of a highly talented team at TS&S.

She loves what she does, and believes her experience can help inspire young Emirati women who are thinking of pursuing a career in engineering and encourage them to chase their dreams. In her words, “with passion and dedication, everything is achievable.”

With passion and dedication, everything is achievable.

Fatima Al Zaabi

Industrial Engineer, Turbine Services & Solutions.

Meera Al Suwaidi
Principal - Venture Capital

As a Principle at Mubadala Capital, Meera uses her financial investment experience to provide Mubadala portfolio companies support in driving growth opportunities and creating value in line with Mubadala’s wider strategy.

With over a decade’s experience at Mubadala Capital, Meera is keen to underscore just how much she values the support she has had throughout her career: “Mubadala is not a company, Mubadala is my family. Mubadala gave me a lot of ‘first’ experiences and skills that fed my passion and contributed to my growth. With that, I always felt the urge to give back to my family what it gave to me.”

Working in the fast-paced and high-stakes ventures sector is a world filled with “opportunities and magic” for Meera. With so many exciting ways to play a role in this space, especially in the UAE where there is great appetite for deploying capital in a wide range of interesting businesses and sectors around the world, Meera has been able to fulfil her ambition fully.

The increasing number of women in business, not only in UAE but worldwide, leaves the industry no choice but to open up to more female professionals. Meera encourages all women to pursue their dreams, grow their businesses and share their experiences with passion so that others can be inspired to follow in their footsteps.

Looking at the wide range of sectors that Emirati women are now serving – from flying fighter jets, to running successful businesses and holding key governmental roles, she sees herself as part of a wider wave of professional women pursing careers and contributing to the future prosperity of the Nation.

Today, as a CFA charter holder, Meera has the privilege of working alongside many talented female colleagues within the organization and is proud of the collective growth of women working in such a dynamic sector.

Mubadala is not a company, Mubadala is my family. Mubadala gave me a lot of ‘first’ experiences and skills that fed my passion and contributed to my growth. With that, I always felt the urge to give back to my family what it gave to me.

Meera Al Suwaidi

Principal - Venture Capital.