‘Stepping stones to our success’

Exploring empowerment this Emirati Women’s Day

Walter Jopp, CEO – Zurich Middle East

On August 28th 2020 we celebrate the 6th Annual Emirati Women’s Day since its inception in 2015. The UAE’s progressive leaders recognised the important role women have played in society. They have continuously supported their development and empowerment by offering them opportunities and commending their valuable contribution to society. They have had increasing representation and significant roles in society and in matters of state with the formation of organisations such as Dubai Women Establishment and the Gender Balance Council.

Emirati women are now present in major fields including science, space, medicine, engineering, military and so on. The financial services sector is no exception. Here at Zurich Middle East, we encourage a diverse workplace and strongly believe in equal opportunities and empowerment. In line with our group policies and our core values, we have been constantly working towards empowerment of women through our own Women’s Innovation Network (WIN).

For this very special occasion of the Emirati Women’s Day we decided to ask our own Emirati colleagues - who started their professional paths with Zurich - about their steps to success and what advice would they give to new aspiring Emirati women beginning their career path.

Knowledge and self-determination

Haya Alkhatib, Account manager at Zurich Middle East, strongly believes that her sound education was one of the primary contributors of success in her life, playing a key role in her ability to transition to work life and giving her the ability to apply her learning to her tasks. It also gave her the mindset and self-belief and to persevere no matter what the obstacle.

“I learnt to never say ‘I cannot’ in anything, even if I tried and failed at it, failure is a key to success. Because if you do not fail you will never learn. A positive attitude is a decision that an individual makes when they wish to accomplish. You must look for the good in every situation that you see positive and start moving forward in life. And finally, the most important factor would be trust in yourself. Never give up on yourself, keep trying.”

Her advice to other upcoming Emirati women is to be open to new opportunities, take criticism and failure as opportunities to learn and grow and to be confident in being yourself.

Realise your potential

Fatima Al Najjar, Communications Coordinator who began her career at Zurich Middle East just after graduation, takes pride in the simple fact that she is an Emirati woman, coming from a nation that has created the necessary infrastructure for its society’s women to succeed in every possible way. This infrastructure enabled women to tap into their potential and follow their dreams to be ready for life.

Fatima strongly believes that Emirati women can lead by example and break the stereotypical image of women by marching towards a greater destiny. Her only advice to women who want to achieve this is to get out their comfort zone.

“Emirati women should not hesitate and only choose what is safe for them. There is much potential waiting for them if they are prepared get out of their comfort zone.”

Always aim higher

For Nadya Hezam, Project Manager – Zurich Middle East, both education and work experience contributed in tandem to her personal success. It also helped to have the full support of her family and her managers.

“I studied and worked at the same time which helped me built my confidence and communication skills.”

Nadya’s message to young Emirati women is to relentlessly pursue higher education, set themselves clear goals and envision where they’d like to see themselves in the long run. And most importantly she states...

“They must believe in themselves and always aim higher.”

Find your true calling

Stephanie AlBlooshi, a Marketing Coordinator at Zurich Middle East, attributes her success in life to being raised in a mixed family. It pushed her to seek individuality early in life, be independent and adapt to life’s changing circumstances.

“One of my greatest achievements was to build my parents’ belief and trust in the decisions that I made for myself, it was challenging at first but was all worth it in the end.”

Her self-belief helped her graduate with the degree of her liking, pursue a profession of her choice and give back to her family who made this possible.

“My advice to new Emirati women starting their career would be to go with your gut and keep pushing through. Things take time but don’t wait for something to be handed to you. It took me a longer time than others to start my career path but I’ve learnt a lot along the way, and everything I’ve gone through has slowly built up to where I am now.”

As we pay tribute to the determination, courage and commitment of Emirati women and recognise the nation that has fostered their growth and progression, we wish them the very best in their future goals and aspirations.