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“When the Council was established, we pledged to develop it and ensure that it fulfills the needs of every businesswoman in all possible ways. We have been able to achieve this goal through faith, strong will and knowledge. We have also been inspired by generations of women before us who have shown us the path with their experiences in this field.
Over the years we have witnessed an increase in the number of members in the Council. This proves the need
for the Council in Dubai, and how its existence is a win-win situation for all businesswomen who are united
under its roof. The Council's main concern is to develop the role of the business woman and help her
advance. The Council also actively contributes to the economic growth of the country."
Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, Chairperson and Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group (ESAG), is a well-known businesswoman in the region. She has achieved laurels for her stellar leadership of the Group under the tutelage of her father, the Founder, H.E. Easa Saleh Al Gurg, KCVO,CBE. Her counsel and valuable insights have significantly contributed to the growth and expansion of ESAG.
A leading business woman in her own right, Dr Al Gurg has carved a unique niche for herself in the region due to her support and encouragement of Arab women entrepreneurs. She is the President of Dubai Business Women Council; Member of the Board of Directors of Dubai Chambers, which will oversee and co-ordinate the work of three newly constituted chambers - Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy and Dubai International Chamber. She is also a Board Member of Dubai Chamber of Trade and Dubai Women’s Association.
Dr Al Gurg is the Deputy Chairperson of the National Bank of Fujairah and on the advisory board of Coutts Bank, the wealth division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Dubai Academic Health Corporation. She is on the Board of Trustees, for the Mohammad Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences. She is also a member of the Board of Governors of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University and also on the Board of Trustees for Ajman University.
She was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate at Queen’s University Belfast for economics and also conferred the Doctor of Literature (D.Litt.) honour by Amity University, India. In 2022, she has been appointed as Honorary Pro-Chancellor at Heriot Watt University, a premier global education provider with a rich heritage stretching back to 1821, bringing together scholars who are leaders in ideas and solutions delivering innovation, educational excellence and ground-breaking research.
Dr Raja Al Gurg is also the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Al Jalila Foundation, a non-profit organisation whose mandate is to promote the UAE as a centre of excellence for medical research and education. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Emirates Schools Establishment, an independent entity which oversees the implementation of policies, strategies, and standards related to the education sector.
In 2020, Dr Raja Al Gurg was awarded the Legion of Honor, Chevalier (Knight) by President of France Emmanuel Macron, in appreciation of her outstanding efforts in strengthening the exceptional partnership between France and the UAE.
Dr Al Gurg featured in the top listing of Forbes ‘50 over 50’ in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2022.She has been ranked first in ‘The Middle East Most Powerful Businesswomen 2022’ listing of Forbes Middle East for three consecutive years as well as the top ranking in the 2020 listing of the publication’s ‘100 Power Businesswomen in the Middle East’ and second in the 2019 listing of ‘Women Heading Family Businesses’. She was listed among ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ by Forbes for 2021. She also had second position in the Middle East’s Most Influential Women listing for 2018 by Forbes Middle East.
Dr Al Gurg has been ranked 28 th in the Arab Power 2018 listing of the 100 Most Powerful Arabs, compiled by Gulf Business magazine rising from the previous ranking in 2017. She was the most powerful Emirati Businesswoman in Forbes Middle East’s 2017 ranking. She was ranked first in the Forbes Middle East’s ranking of ‘The 200 Most Powerful Arab Women in Family Business’ for 2014. She has earned several other plaudits and awards in recent years. These include the ‘World of Difference Award’ from the International Alliance for Women (TIAW) in 2009.
Dr Al Gurg represents the U.A.E. at many international conferences and round-tables as a key-note speaker and is also part of the Government of Dubai’s official delegation for various trade and commerce meetings. She also hosted the first MENA Businesswomen’s Network Forum, in her capacity as the President of the Dubai Business Women Council.
Besides providing valuable counsel to various business groups and international trade alliances, Dr Raja Al Gurg spends considerable time in several philanthropic, social and charitable activities, notably with the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Charity Foundation and the Al Jalila Foundation, a UAE organisation with global aspirations dedicated to making lasting and significant contributions in healthcare to transform lives.Professional Qualifications
Dr. Raja Al Gurg is the Chairperson, Managing Director and Member of Board of Directors of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, a family business encompassing 27 entities with interests in consumer, building & construction, retail & lifestyle, industrial, joint ventures and real estate. She joined the Group in 1989 as a Member of the Board of Directors.
She has commented: "At first I never thought I wanted to go into business. But when I took a role in my father's company, I had to prove that I could be successful regardless of the fact that I am a woman or chosen by my father. It is crucial that all women push their own boundaries and have the will to succeed."Professional Affiliations
Dr. Al Gurg has achieved many distinguished awards throughout her career. A selection of the notable ones are:
Chairperson of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Charity Foundation. The Foundation assists in establishing and supporting charity housing projects, orphanages, elderly homes, day-care centres, academic institutes, scientific research centres, public libraries besides providing study and research grants to students.
Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Al Jalila Foundation; a non-profit organisation whose mandate is to promote the UAE, as a centre of excellence for medical research and education.
The Queen of Aviation (the Brief), Amna Al Jallaf is recognized internationally as one of the Middle East’s leading aviation law experts. Amna began her career as the first and only Emirati and Arabic speaking inhouse legal counsel at Emirates. She credits a successful career at the airline on the special insight she gained by working alongside the crew in nearly every department.
After Emirates, Amna set her sights on establishing a premier commercial law Firm and the first specialist aviation firm in the UAE: Al Jallaf Advocates & Legal Consultants (Al Jallaf).
Today, Amna’s clients include international law firms, multinational banks and corporations, and industry leaders. Her practice encompasses all aspects of civil/commercial litigation and family/personal matter law.
After more than 15 years in practice, and supported by a diverse team of internationally qualified lawyers, Amna remains on a drive to improve the quality of legal services in the region, aiming to bridge the gap between local firms and the international firms they support.
Complimenting her legal work, Amna is. Member of the Board of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce; an office she has served for over ten years. Passionate about children’s welfare, Amna also has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the Awqaf & Minors Affairs Foundation.
In the legal field, Amna is one of a select number of notable legal professionals appointed to the Legal Advisory Panel of the Aviation Working Group (AWG), a UN endorsed international industry group. The Legal Advisory Panel and the AWG address various topics affecting international aviation financing and leasing.
Amna is registered as an arbitrator with Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC).LANGUAGES
Amna speaks on topics concerning aviation law, UAE law.
Mrs. Faiza Al Sayed is one of the most sought after and recognized women in Dubai. With her warm, giving heart she has been a driving force in helping Emirati women to be motivated, productive, and successful.
Mrs. Al Sayed helped establish the remarkable Dubai Business Women’s Council (DBWC) in 2002. Serving as Vice President of DBWC since its inception, she has helped countless women to attain economic empowerment. The DBWC offers educational programming, mentoring, networking, and outreach to both professional and entrepreneurial women. It is the official organization for business women in Dubai.
Mrs. Al Sayed also serves on the Board of Directors for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and is a member of the Arab International Women’s Forum – London.
Mrs. Al Sayed not only shares her time; she shares her firsthand knowledge of entrepreneurship. She has run a home furnishings store since 1993, and she started a chain of beauty salons in 2003 (with four locations in Dubai’s five-star hotels). She is on the Executive Team of Al Fahim Group, one of Abu Dhabi’s most successful family businesses where she heads the Group’s Central Procurement.
As such a successful businesswoman, Mrs. Al Sayed has been an inspiration and role model for women throughout the Middle East. Admittedly, she is most proud of two specific women - her daughters Hana and Nada.
Khawla Al Abbas Hussain Lootah is considered a role model for Emirati women that has succeeded in leaving her mark on Dubai’s business community, where she used the skills that she has gained through her studies and professional career to contribute in educating and encouraging women in UAE society, and helped to shed a light on the vast capabilities of Emirati women to excel in various fields.
After graduating from Al Ittihad Private School in Dubai, Khawla Lootah received her Bachelor Degree in Sociology from the American University in Washington DC. Two years later, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the same university, and then started her professional journey to benefit her community and country.
After graduating, Khawla Lootah was appointed the director of the Social Development Centre in Dubai, which falls under the umbrella of Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. She held the position for 10 years, where she supervised the Literacy Program for Emirati women at the centre. She also contributed in managing various other programs, which includes a variety of social assistance programs and financial assistance programs. These accomplishments made her a pioneer of social responsibility in the region, before the concept was fully ingrained in the culture of the region.
Furthermore, Khawla Lootah supervised career guidance programs to young women who did not complete their education, in addition to managing the hand crafting section of the centre, and working to find an outlet to sell these crafts inside the Emirate of Dubai. She also supervised the Arabic language programs for foreign women who wanted to learn the language. In her professional career, Khawla has made a significant impact in helping both Emirati and foreign women to grow and develop in the UAE.
In the turn of the century, Khawla Lootah served as regional director for Worldspace in the Middle East and North Africa, where she used her expertise and her experiences to enhance the company’s relationship with the government telecommunications sector in the GCC countries, and helped to develop and enhance this vital sector in the region.
Khawla Lootah has been part of the Board of Directors for both the Dubai Business Women Council and the UAE Business Women Council since their inception. She was a former member of the UAE’s Sociologist Association, and has worked as a freelancer since the eighties and continues to do so to this day. She also owns and manages Alazod (Lapis) for design and sewing and Kushner Kids Middle East, which reflects her diverse experiences and expertise, and her success in showcasing the vast capabilities of Emirati women in the labour market.
Board Member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce
Mrs. Saleh has been a leading member of the Dubai business women community for more than thirty years. She founded Petals in 1987, a premier supplier of furniture, antiques, and flowers which then expanded into event management. Through her company Mrs. Saleh has furnished many of the most luxurious homes in the UAE and planned many of the grandest weddings that took place during the 1990s and 2000s.
Currently, Mrs. Saleh is a board member at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a board member at the Dubai Business Women Council, as well as a shareholder and board member at AMSAF, a family holding company with stakes in many industries including but not limited to: Construction, Hospitality, Oil and Gas, and Real Estate.
Throughout her tenure at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry she has met with many heads of state and foreign dignitaries, as well as travelled to many countries as part of the UAE delegation. Her many years of experience have made her an invaluable asset both to the companies she works with and the institutions she represents.
Maryam Al Noori is a highly creative Interior and Wedding Designer with an extensive expertise on be spoken and exceptional wedding designs and conceptualized events.
She is the founder of Worood, The first wedding design planning company in the UAE which provides best and innovative solution to multifaceted wedding requirements in the region.
Driven by her strong passion to connect across markets and disciplines in every part of the world, her designs always commune to World-class standard and timeless elegance.
Her unique installations that blend unexpected structural shapes and clean lines make her work a state-of-the-art composition which can be compared to modern architectural art pieces.
Apart from this, Maryam Al Noori is also the founder of Intraflora, a high-end floral artistry provider which introduced the very first fresh flower arrangement and craftsmanship towards the UAE. Through her success in the field, she is the first Arab lady to be honored and granted a name of a Nobel rose after her.
This classic Nobel rose, Maryam Al Noori Rose, was endorsed by the Italian International Prize “Premio Pestigio 2005”, one of the most respected awards granted to distinguished international personalities on their role of promoting environmental culture and awareness under the tutelage of UNESCO.
The Wedding Designs and Floral Artistry creations of Maryam Al Noori both set a certain distinguished, graceful and luxurious experience to every individual she worked with. As an expert in her field, she merges trend-driven concepts with a keen understanding of her diverse clientele.
Maryam Al Noori not only creates outstanding wedding and beautiful floral design, but also creates unexpected visions and dreams in a superb reality. Ms. Al Noori is also a Board Member of the Dubai Business Women Council.
Ms. Samia Saleh is a business woman with a diverse portfolio. She is a Board member at the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), which is affiliated to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
She is also involved in the Young Presidents Organization, a peer-learning network to develop “Better leaders through education and idea exchange”.
As the owner of the Courtyard Gallery in Dubai, Ms. Saleh is a pioneer in supporting local artists and bringing international artists to the Gulf region. Her expertise in the arts won her the commission to furnish the artwork for the prestigious Burj Khalifa and Downtown Burj Dubai.
Ms. Saleh is also a member of the Board of Trustees at mentor Arabia, an educational organization that focuses on drug prevention and promotes the health and wellbeing of young people.
Fathiyah Saeed Hassan Al Khamiri is Director of Student Affairs at Zayed University and Member of the board of directors at the Dubai Business Women Council.
Ms Fathiyah Saeed began her professional career as a Teacher at Eshbilya Primary School in Sharjah in 1971-72. She also served at Sharjah Secondary School at various positions during 1976-79 period.
Ms Fathiyah Saeed also served in public sector and remained Head of Health Registration Department at the Ministry of Health during 1990-93. Later, she joined Higher Colleges of Technology - Dubai in 1993 as Student Advisor and served the college at various positions until 2004 when she moved to Zayed University.
Ms Fathiyah Saeed holds Master of Sociology Degree from California State University – USA. She is one of the first female Emirati leaders who received her early education at home and abroad. She is among those few ladies who secured driver’s license in 1976-77.
Ms Fathiyah Saeed availed many opportunities for training and self-development through workshops and conferences in the UAE and outside the country. She has also received various awards and certificates in education and professional life.
Ms Fathiyah Saeed has had varied experiences throughout her professional life. She loves to travel abroad and observes different cultures, which helped to expand her perception and acceptance of different cultures across the world.
Ms Fathiyah Saeed is married and mother of four kids. Both her father and husband extended full support and play an important role in successful professional career and happy personal life.
A visionary, creative designer, successful businesswoman and dignitary in local society.
Mrs. Farida Abdulla Kamber Al Awadhi is the owner and Managing Director of Cinmar Design, an architectural and interior design firm established in 1989. http://www.cinmardesign.ae. The design firm has a team of professional designers and staffs. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985 at George Washington University, USA.
Under her leadership she gained fame for many outstanding design projects, and won the Gulf Woman Executive of the Year Award in 1996. The first award given to Women in the Gulf.
Mrs. Farida Kamber is also the President and one of the founding members of APID (Association of Professional Interior Designers) a nonprofit organization, which has been formed in November 2005 to represent the interior design industry in the region. www.apid.ae.
As a member in IFI (International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers) Mrs. Farida contributed towards Dubai Hosting back in 2009 IFI General Assembly Congress. Also in Fall 2011, Mrs. Farida established and organized under APID management FOiD (Festival of Interior Design) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This was the first festival in the region that is celebrating the design and the Interior Design profession.
As an IFI member, she participated in May 2014 in IFI General Assembly which took place in Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia.
Also Mrs. Farida was appointed in July 2014 as member of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council. Established by official Decree, the Council is clearly driven by a desire to nurture local talent and entrepreneurship and determined to support creative initiatives, create scholarships, mentorships and collaborations, according to Dubai Design District, better known for d3. In 2009, Mrs. Farida Abdullah Kamber Al Awadhi also formed a company called ASRAR PR&Event where she is the Executive Director. ASRAR organized a number of events where prominent local designers showcased fascinating creation of the Emirates ABAYA. Mrs. Farida is dedicated to follow the steps of her late father, who was a creative visionary and a prominent businessman in his years supported his community by building the first hospital in Dubai in 1950’s and pledged to educate his children.
She always considered her duty, as a woman, to encourage young national female talents to educate themselves as well as integrate into the business environment. She contributed and supported her community and society by proving through her examples and actions, that a woman can perform both at home and also be a successful businesswoman. She has been a Board Member of Dubai Business Women Council since 2002, member of Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Arab International Women’s Forum AIWF (London), Vice President of Emirates Business Women Council, International Business Women Group (IBWG), Executive Advisory Board Member of College of Business Economics of UAE University – Al Ain and ECIE (Emirates Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship – UAE University Al Ain, Advisory board member of Interior Design Faculty at AUD, Advisory board member of the Architect Faculty at AUD.
As a daughter of U.A.E., Mrs. Farida not only provides stunning and unique interior design schemes, but also opportunities for upcoming designers by offering her expertise and skills to support students and young talents.
As Dubai Business Women Council’s Business Development Manager, Nadine helps drive business success by adopting a ‘start-up’ style of management that fosters innovation, takes advantage of new opportunities and interprets industry trends to maximize strategic objectives. Encouraging entrepreneurship is an important part of the Council’s work in inspiring women to be the best they can be. As such, she ensures that the Council is an environment in which women feel motivated to innovate, create and thrive.
Throughout her tenure at the Council, she managed to bring on board long lasting strategic partnerships with organizations and companies who share the same mission and vision, and who delivered tailor made content for exclusive workshops for the members of the Council with the main purpose of helping them develop their entrepreneurial skills.
In 2021, Nadine Halabi was nominated as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the Region under the list of ‘Women of Influence in the Arab World 2021’ by CEO Middle East. The list was under the patronage of UN women and is both a celebration of the region’s female leaders and pioneers as well as a snapshot of the economic and social currents coursing through the contemporary Middle East.
Keeping in mind the main obstacles that entrepreneurs face on a daily basis, she was able to attend to one of the key challenges by bringing on board an exclusive opportunity for eligible members of the Council who were in dire need of Mentorship and guidance. The DBWC Mentorship Programme was launched in January 2018 for that main purpose and ran for over a period of 6 months. Since then, the programme has been taking place on an annual basis and offered an opportunity to selected members to be paired with respective mentors, who represented local and international leading companies, and were experts in diverse sectors.
Another ongoing challenge that faced entrepreneurs was not getting enough access to proper information around business set up. With that said, she has been providing the members with ongoing support by bringing industry experts who delivered exclusive and specific content around business set up and development in the form of monthly workshops and seminars that were provided exclusively to members of the Council. These workshops helped many members develop and initialize the business that they always wanted to venture in and/or helped them scale up an existing one. Nadine also launched entrepreneurial initiatives that were based on 6-week accelerator programmes and which focused on helping chosen applicants set up a business of their own.
Through her demonstrated intrapreneurial approach to business, Nadine is considered in a strong position to continue charting the course of helping working women in Dubai develop their skills and abilities.