Gone are the days when business was predominantly male-dominated. The world has witnessed a remarkable shift, with women playing an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the future of business globally.
Within the UAE’s realm of unlimited possibilities and boundless potential, a remarkable group of women has emerged as trailblazers, defying conventions and forging their path to unprecedented business success.
In this enlightening article, we proudly present the crème de la crème of Emirati businesswomen in Dubai, whose achievements transcend borders and inspire generations to come.
These remarkable individuals have shattered glass ceilings, transforming challenges into opportunities, and leaving an indelible mark on the entrepreneurial landscape of the UAE. Their stories of resilience, determination, and unwavering belief in their abilities serve as a guiding light, empowering others to embark on their unique journeys and strive for greatness.
Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr
Dr. Aisha Bint Buti Bishr, also known as Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, is the esteemed Director-General of the Smart Dubai Office, spearheading the transformation of Dubai into a fully-fledged smart city. Her visionary leadership has led to the creation of the groundbreaking ‘Smart City Index,’ a pioneering benchmark for global smart city implementation in collaboration with ITU and the UN.
In addition to her role at the Smart Dubai Office, Dr. Aisha holds prominent positions in esteemed organizations. She is a distinguished member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Councils, contributing her expertise to the team responsible for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s Smart Cities Readiness Index. Furthermore, she leads the World Happiness Council’s Council of Happy Cities.
As a testament to her influential role in shaping the future, Dr. Aisha serves as the chairperson of the Dubai Future Council for Digital Transactions, a key initiative within the Dubai Future Councils. Additionally, she holds a Non-Executive Director position at Emaar Properties, further showcasing her expertise and involvement in the business sector.
Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, an esteemed leader, currently serves as the Minister of Climate Change and Environment. With unwavering dedication, she spearheads the ministry’s mission to combat climate change, safeguard the UAE’s ecosystems, and fortify its food and water security. Through her visionary approach, she develops and implements impactful measures, policies, and initiatives to address these pressing challenges.
Previously, as the Minister of State for Food and Water Security, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri played a pivotal role in overseeing national food stocks and water supply. She championed the advancement of food and water technology innovation, fostering a culture of sustainable practices. Her efforts were not limited to the domestic front, as she actively fostered international partnerships in the realm of food and water security.
With a passion for climate-smart agricultural solutions, Her Excellency has spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable practices within the agricultural sector. Additionally, she has been a driving force behind marine conservation endeavors in the UAE, further showcasing her commitment to preserving the country’s natural heritage.
Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi
Her Excellency Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi, the current Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, is a distinguished leader overseeing the Prime Minister’s Office and strategic programs. Her responsibilities include driving the development of UAE Centennial 2071 and ensuring the successful execution of UAE Vision 2021. She holds the esteemed position of Chairwoman at the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) and serves as Vice Chair of the World Government Summit Organization. Her involvement extends to the board of trustees of the Museum of the Future.
In a groundbreaking move, she previously held the position of Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, a pioneering role introduced by the UAE government. Recognized for her global contributions, she became the first Arab member of the UN’s Global Entrepreneurship Council appointed by the United Nations Foundation in 2015. Fortune magazine acknowledged her exceptional achievements by listing her among the World’s Greatest Leaders in 2017, where she stood as the sole Arab figure.
Hana Al Rostamani
Hana Al Rostamani, the Group Chief Executive Officer at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), brings over 23 years of banking and finance expertise to her role. In addition to her position on the board of AW Rostamani Group, she serves as the chairperson of FAB Private Bank Suisse and a member of MasterCard Advisory. As the sole female Group CEO of a prominent UAE-based bank and publicly listed corporation, Hana is renowned for her visionary leadership, emphasizing innovation, diversity, and inclusion. Previously, she held the role of Deputy Group CEO and Head of Personal Banking at FAB, spearheading the transformation of the bank’s consumer division with a strong focus on customer-centric and digital strategies.
Hana Al Rostamani’s influence extends beyond banking, as she chairs the Global Council on the Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular interest in goal 7, “Affordable and Clean Energy.” She has also served as an independent director at Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company (Du) and as vice-chairperson of the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Services.
Rola Abu Manneh
Rola Abu Manneh, the current CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, holds the distinction of being the first Emirati woman to lead a bank in the UAE. Her remarkable leadership has propelled the UAE to become one of Standard Chartered Group’s top five markets. Recognized for her influential role, she was included in the prestigious ‘World’s Most Powerful Arabs’ list by Arabian Business in 2019. Under her guidance, the bank received esteemed recognition from the Ruler of Dubai as the Best Banking and Financial Sector Institution supporting gender balance.
Prior to joining Standard Chartered Bank, Abu Manneh served as the Head of Corporate & Investment Banking at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), where she successfully managed relationships with various stakeholders, including government entities, elite customer groups, and multinational corporations. Additionally, she held the position of General Manager of FAB’s Wholesale Banking Group, overseeing Project Finance Syndications, Financial Institutions Group, and Global Transaction Banking.
Dr Maryam Buti Al Suwadi
Maryam Buti Al Suwaidi has made history as the first woman appointed as Chief Executive of the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) in the UAE. She began her career as a Senior Legal Researcher at Dubai Educational Zone and later joined SCA in 2002 as Director of Legal Affairs and Legal Advisor. With prior experience at the Ministry of Education and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, she became the first Emirati woman accredited as a country assessor and expert for Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Al Suwaidi’s appointment as CEO of SCA in 2021 marks another milestone in her trailblazing career.
Dr. Saeeda Jaffar
Dr. Syeda Jaffar, an esteemed financial sector veteran, holds the position of General Manager GCC at Visa Group. With extensive expertise in financial services and payments, she brings valuable insights to her role. In addition to her responsibilities at Visa, she serves as a board of trustees member at Kuwait University. Prior to joining Visa, she held leadership positions at Alvarez and Marsal, United Arab Bank, Bahrain FinTech Bay, and McKinsey and Company, working with diverse clients from the private and public sectors.
Dr. Raja Easa Al Gurg
Dr. Raja Al Gurg, a renowned business figure, holds the esteemed positions of Chairperson and Managing Director at Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group LLC (ESAG). She is also the President of the Dubai Business Women Council and a Board Member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Additionally, she serves as the Founder and President of the Business Women Committee and holds various positions in other companies and organizations. Notably, she is the first Emirati woman on the board of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited and a board member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives. Throughout her career, Dr. Al Gurg has received numerous accolades, including the “Most Influential Arab Woman in Family Business” award. In 2019, she made history as the first Emirati businesswoman to publish her autobiography titled ‘Raja Al Gurg – An Autobiography.’
Maitha Al Dossari
Maitha Al Dossari, an accomplished professional, holds the esteemed position of CEO at Emaar Entertainment, a subsidiary of Emaar Properties. In her role as General Manager of Corporate Services at Emaar Properties PJSC, she plays a crucial role in managing and overseeing the operations of Emaar Entertainment’s diverse leisure assets. These include renowned attractions such as the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, SEGA Republic, KidZania, Dubai Ice Rink, and Reel Cinemas.
Additionally, Al Dossari actively contributes to Emaar Retail’s expansion efforts, aligning with Emaar’s strategic vision for regional growth. With a wealth of experience in procurement, logistics, and operations, she has demonstrated expertise in optimizing processes, implementing policies, conducting audits, and effectively managing costs. Throughout her tenure at Emaar Properties, Al Dossari has held various significant positions, including the role of Chief Operating Officer of Emaar Entertainment.
Majida Ali Rashid
As the CEO of the Real Estate Promotion and Investment Management Sector at the Dubai Land Department (DLD), Majida Ali Rashid holds a prominent position in the real estate industry. Under her leadership, the DLD launched the influential “Commercial Property Price Index” in 2021, which serves as a crucial benchmarking tool for analyzing and assessing commercial real estate in Dubai. Her exceptional contributions as the head of the Investment Management and Promotion Centre, the DLD’s investment arm, have earned her recognition, including the esteemed Female CEO of the Year Award from the CEO Middle East Awards. Additionally, she has been consistently ranked among the Most Powerful Arab Women.
With a wealth of experience, Majida Ali Rashid previously served as the Assistant Director General of the DLD, where she played a pivotal role in advancing Dubai’s real estate sector and enhancing its reputation as a premier investment destination. During her tenure, she successfully explored various avenues for promoting Dubai, launching initiatives that have attracted global investments while ensuring market transparency through continuous quality monitoring processes.
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