Woibex 2008 Concludes
10th Global Business Women and Leaders Summit
The 10th Global Businesswomen and Leaders Summit concluded today at the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai UAE. Organized by Datamatix Group, this year’s summit was sponsored by FORSA and Virgin Megastore. The even which opened on the 8th with powerful presentations from former world leaders and representative of international organizations covered wide ranging issues relating to the changing role of women in the global and regional economy and society.
In her presentation entitled Be Your Own Mentor, Gail Burns – Managing Director Target Search & Selection, South Africa, discussed a variety of topics of interest and contemplation for women seeking success in today’s world – How do women achieve self reliance and self realization to survive, particularly in the male dominated world? Is the Corporate World “hostile” to work-life balance, thus forcing women to “choose” between being a Leader and a Mother? Is the Corporate World organized in a way that assumes that people don’t have caring responsibilities? Are women allowing themselves to be regarded as inferior and how do they break out of this pattern?
“The emergence of a strong and unified force of corporate women is forcing a change in Boardrooms internationally. Since the inception of democracy in South Africa, women have been making huge strides in the work place and there is a significant increase in the number of corporate leaders and directors in the country. Many businesses are achieving great success and are able to provide insight into the key success factors of enabling an environment that promotes equality in Business” she said.
Retha Els – Managing Director, De Nova Consulting, South Africa, presented a paper by Christine Botha, which examined the Challenges and opportunities for young women in business and leadership. She began with a look at the history of women at work and the lessons that have been learned along the way. She went on to discuss the qualities that are essential for career success, based on the feedback of the most powerful women, including good humor, the ability to tell the plain truth, self-confidence, lack of pretension, strong work ethic, positive self-esteem, positive attitude / optimism, energy and hopefulness. When discussing strategies that young businesswomen and leaders should employ over the next 10 years, she stressed the need to focus not only on careers but also devote attention to friends, family, spirituality, and hobbies and interest “as they form an integral part of effective career strategies” and added that “Unless a holistic approach is followed in the planning process, one may become horribly unstuck in years to come.”
Ms. Kelly Watkins – President Expressive Concepts, USA took the stage next and engaged the audience through her interactive session entitled The PERfect Principles of Leadership for Middle East Women – In a PERfect world, leaders would be profitable, productive, & professional. According to Ms. Watkins, in order to improve their bottom lines and their abilities to communicate as leaders, businesswomen need to apply a methodology based on the principles of PERformance, PERspective, PERception, and Personalization.
Discussing the importance of linking academia to industry, Giovanna Bejjani – Business Faculty,Ras Al Khaimah Women’s College (RKWC), UAE, demonstrated RAK women’s college efforts to prepare future leaders by forging links with industry. The presentation focused on the college’s project with the RAK free trade zone, where students, in teams, develop and compete with promotional plans to market the free zone locally and internationally. Bejjani described the four phase project which involves representatives from the RAK free trade zone’s marketing department in assessing and grading the project and in listening to the students’ ideas, hence benefiting from the students’ promotional views and also selecting the best team from an industry perspective. The Project, which she described as a “win-win situation” was successfully implemented in semester one of this academic year (September 2007 – January 2008). It aimed to develop methods to provide students with first-hand experience and encouragement for future marketing jobs, provide accessibility to new methods of learning through real life scenarios, improve student recruitment for jobs, develop a way to make the marketing industry aware of qualified students who are interested in jobs in that field, and link education and industry in a community effort to enhance students' aspirations and opportunities for future leading positions.
The speakers’ sessions concluded with, Mary Ellen Iskenderian – President and CEO Women’sWorld Banking (WWB), USA, presenting a Case Study, A Story of 2 Successful Businesswomen, illustrating the positive impact that access to financial service can have in the lives of low-income women entrepreneurs through two real life examples of women in the WWB network. Women’s World Banking helps low-income women entrepreneurs achieve their business and personal objectives by providing them with financial services.
Over its two days, Woibex 2008 was well attended by more than 100 prominent businesswomen, professionals, academics, leaders and members of the press. Khaleej Times and Al Jazeera Network were Media Gold Sponsors for the event, and provided significant support.
Speaking after the event Ali Al Kamali, Managing Director, Datamatix Group, said, “I am extremely pleased by the turnout for Woibex 2008, and I would like to thank all who participated and supported us in making this 10th edition a truly memorable one – our sponsors, Virgin Megastore and FORSA, Khaleej Times and City 7 TV; our wonderful speakers; and of course all of the delegates – these amazing women – without whom none of this would have been possible.”
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