Top 5 tips for women on effective leadership in the UAE, by Emma Evans

Emma Evans, Head Human Capital Management at Transguard, shared her top 5 tips for women on effective leadership in the UAE in the Khaleej Times on 8 October, 2016.
Here are the transcripts of the interview with Sandhya D’Mello:

SM: Tell us about your career journey so far and what’s next from here?

EE: My career is an important component of my life and it gives me great satisfaction when I feel a sense of achievement and contribution through my work and when I have made a positive impact on other people’s lives.
Of equal importance is that I have a good balance between caring for my three small children, being a supportive wife and having time to pursue my hobbies and fitness interests.

My daily life compares to a military operation with in-depth planning and preparation to ensure that by the end of the day every box is ticked so I can sleep peacefully knowing everything is on track and under control.

My career journey started in part-time customer service roles whilst studying for a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and a Master’s of Science in Business Psychology. Although the roles were perhaps viewed as simply helping to fund my studies, my first taste of working for profit-generating businesses confirmed my fascination for people interaction in a business context.

After graduating, my first full time job was for Tata Steel in the UK managing Graduate Recruitment and Development.

I moved to the UAE in 2008, as a Business Psychologist for an Abu Dhabi Corporate Government business, Senaat. I thoroughly enjoyed and valued the experience of working with professionals from all over the world and being a part of the growth and development of the UAE.

I was supported to achieve my Chartered Business Psychologist status and in pursuing an MBA, which to me demonstrated that the organisation valued my professional contribution and on-going learning.

In 2015 I accepted a role in Dubai with Transguard Group, responsible for leading the training and development function, and early in 2016 was promoted to Head of Human Capital Management.
I am enjoying the challenge of my role in a vision driven business that has vast reach throughout the UAE. People are of key importance to any business success and my current role allows me to have a major influence in support of this.

At Transguard we have a leadership team committed to diversity which is really important as this culture must come from the top. We are actively appointing and promoting women into leadership roles as well as supporting the next generation of leaders through apprentice schemes and mentoring programmes. Our latest mentoring scheme paired young potential leaders with mentors from our General Executive including our managing director, so companies with a long term vision likes ours know that investing and supporting your people is key to a successful and sustainable business.

SM: Your comments about UAE as an ideal hub to encourage women to explore and grow in their careers?

EE: The opportunity here in the UAE is vast for women in terms of gaining experience and exposure in order to develop professionally.
The vision of the Government is clear and women are an integral part of this in terms of adding value and contributing to the success of the UAE.

SM: What is your message to UAE Women?

EE: Take full advantage of the opportunities available for your personal and professional growth. Do not be deterred by what might be considered as male dominated environments and follow your career and education goals.
View any hurdles as an opportunity for growth and learning as your resilience will get you to where you deserve to be.

SM: As part of the business support services industry, what have been your observations of the UAE as a nation since so many nationalities have made the UAE as second home?

EE: The UAE is becoming increasingly more receptive and supportive to new ideas and innovation. Best practice is becoming more commonplace, demonstrated through alignment to international standards.

Opportunities exist for women across a full spectrum of roles, in a wide range of industries and this is becoming increasingly the case.

Within my professional network, a hot topic is the increasing importance and benefits to businesses of having an increased gender balanced workforce.
It is evident that the UAE Government is actively supporting women in the workplace.

SM: What initiatives have been undertaken to boost women empowerment,
employment in UAE?

EE: In the Public sector, the appointment of women into senior positions is widely
Documented, which raises the profile of the importance of women in the

Revisions of policies that make employment conditions more favourable for
working mothers will shortly bring about improvements geared towards encouraging women to return to work during and after starting a family.

Women are being encouraged into more technical roles, with many educational institutions reaching out to women in order to attract them into traditionally male dominated professions.

SM: 5 Tips on effective leadership in UAE for women who aspire to make it to the top?

EE: I believe that a measure of being a successful leader is through those around you being not only willing to follow you, but supportive of your vision in every sense. Based on this, my advice would be:

• Be an inspiration for those around you by engaging and empowering them to be a part of the success
• Lead by example through respect for others and their differences
• Ensure fairness and consistency in all interactions
• Don’t consider anything as a failure in others, only a learning opportunity for them and for you also
• Build and maintain a network of professionals to support you on your journey

I am truly passionate about the concept of self-awareness and how an improvement of this can lead to one being more able to manage all interactions, including but not exclusive to leading others.

So even with a busy schedule, make sure you find time for self-reflection and seeking genuine feedback from others to ensure that you never stop learning and improving yourself both personally and professionally.

In the article Emma talks about a current hot topic - the increasing importance and benefits to businesses of having an increased gender-balanced workforce. The MBA holder in business from Alliance Manchester Business School also shares 5 tips for women on effective leadership in the UAE.

Read the full article by Khaleej Times journalist Sandhya D’Mello here