On 20 November White & Case Dubai hosted for the second year in a row a workshop for finance and other professional women. Following on from the successful ACTME Women in Finance Workshop with guest speaker Lord Davies of Abersoch, CBE last February, once again numbers were capped to ensure this really was an intimate working session for around 20 ladies. The feedback received so far suggests it was yet another ACT Middle East Women’s Network (ACTME) success. Thank you again, White & Case!
We started with a keynote speech from Larisa Miller. Larissa is the Business Development Manager and Executive Director for H.H. Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa al Nahyan and the Circle of Hope Foundation as well as Board member of the Women’s Empowerment and Equality Board (WEEB). Larisa focused on the positive – it’s not about sharing all the negative experiences one might have had, but is about how one defines one’s future for oneself. There was an amazing reflection on Larisa’s ‘seminal moment’ – where, under a very controlling and directive boss, she took the initiative which might very well have been career-limiting to say the least – but which worked out well in the end. Larisa took a leap of faith in herself, and it was absolutely the right thing to do, in every conceivable way.
The workshop I led was around becoming and remaining ‘Board-ready’, and the different tools and models we can use to support us in that. Not always gender-specific, but things I have learnt and want to share which are particularly helpful to women. The group engaged fully, and we heard some wonderfully moving stories and some amazing ambitions. I am sure with the help of a couple of the techniques we tested that this group of women will achieve their goals, without a doubt.
The workshop followed the lines of one I led at H.H. Sheikha Shamma’s palace in Dubai in May for the WEEB community. On 19 November there followed a ‘part 2’ for Board-ready women. I hope we may also be able to do a follow-up for the Nov 20th group of ladies (indeed some have been asking for it), and I’d also like to explore with women in the Middle East the theory of Strengthsfinder – where we really focus on what we are good at to create successful careers and indeed lives.
The event finished with networking for those able to stay on, and there was lively discussion in a really friendly and supportive environment. I enjoyed myself immensely, as I hope others did too.