“The Middle East that’s here today, is not the same Middle East that our forefathers left us.” said Felice Friedson, our chairperson at this year’s inaugural edition of the Middle East Women Leaders’ Summit, which is currently on day one of the two-day event at The Address Dubai Marina, UAE. Besides their professional accomplishments, these leaders have also been working hard to build sustainable communities, particularly with regard to alleviating the challenges that society enlists.

We were beyond thrilled to be in the presence of some scintillating discussions, providing insight into new-age leadership. These women have paved the way for the next generation of women leaders, so as to be proud of the society that empowers you. We’re looking at women leaders who’ve risen in their careers, delving into entrepreneurship and empowerment. We focused on the shifting workplace, understood recurring battles, and marveled at the power of technology in the corporate world today. 


The summit’s Woman Leader in Business award winner - Divya Gokulnath of Byju’s - initiated a discussion based on her immense exposure to the edtech world; “for me, the real champions are everyday women who are utilizing technology to create sparks in the world.”. Entrepreneurship is just the ability to spot an opportunity, and seizing that opportunity. Dr. Arshi Ayub Zaveri - CEO of Trust With Trade Group, made sure to highlight some drawbacks that pioneering women experience, through their entrepreneurial journeys; “There are a lot of innuendos that can be derogatory, especially as a woman trying to get a seat at the table, however, one thing that helped me in my personal journey, is to realize that there is always going to be people out there who elevate you.” Recognizing your power and acknowledging your ability is the best source of confidence, and an avid support system makes all the difference.


In reference to our awards ceremony at this year’s Middle East Women Leaders’ Summit, we set out to celebrate the direction in which women’s recognition is going within the region, we set out to recognize some more incredible women leaders, who’ve been nothing short of resilient throughout the course of their careers. We set out to focus on how these women have shifted the scope of their professional lives in challenging environments and shed light on their contribution to building a society fit for the next generation. 


For starters, our Millennial Leader Award recipient Saima Khan - a local, social influencer who has done the utmost to build herself as a philanthropist, is thriving as an inspiration to young women worldwide. Next, Melda Akin of D14.AI was our Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, who successfully launched her company into Dubai’s burgeoning tech scene thus naming D14.AI one of the top female-founded start-ups in the MENA region. With their excellent automation-based digital solutions, Schneider Electric won the award for Best Gender-Inclusive Company. Moreover, Dr. Eng. Suaad Alshamsi - the UAE’s first female aircraft engineer - won the award for Breaking The Bias within society, having defied all odds to achieve her dreams and change the aviation space for women everywhere. Hon. Lujaina Mohsin Darwish of MHD-ITICS won the title of Woman Icon of the Year, being recognized for her drive and passion to support others. 


We thought it necessary to show appreciation and gratitude to a few women out there, who’ve set the stage to initiate change and innovation within the MENA region, giving them the title of ‘Most Impactful Women in the Middle East’: Salama Mohamed of Peacefull, Dr. Arshi Ayub Zaveri of Trust With Trade Group,  Eva Mouriño of Siemens Energy, Caroline Faraj of CNN Arabic Services, Shada Elborno of Standard Chartered Bank, Hon. Lujaina Mohsin Darwish of MHD-ITICS, Oman, Kate Barker of NEOM, and Mouna Abbassy of izil Beauty.


We - as women - are integral to tomorrow’s future, so that we can leave a stronger and economically sustainable environment in the Middle East.


DxTalks 10 January, 2023
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