Monday 10, April 2017 by Jessica Combes

CBI empowers female employees at Banking on Women 1.0 event

Commercial Bank International (CBI) held its inaugural Banking on Women 1.0 event, which was attended by 180 female employees.

Banking on Women 1.0, held under the support of Mark Robinson, CEO, and Hessa Al Ghurair, Chief Human Resources Officer and head of Corporate Social Responsibility, featured motivational talks from three inspiring UAE women: Dr Maryam Mattar, a prominent Emirati genetic disorder specialist; Hala Kazim, an Emirati counsellor and personal transformation programme founder; and Vanessa Fisk, the former regional Chief Operating Officer at Standard Chartered Bank, and an independent member of CBI’s Risk Committee and Credit Committee.

Attendees participated in a speed painting exercise and a charity auction to raise money for Sharjah Women’s Protection Society.

“Banking on Women 1.0 was organised exclusively for women, by women. It is the first women-focused event held by CBI since the bank was founded 26 years ago, and was created from a desire to support our female employees perform to the best of their ability. It has been hugely successful. Hearing from inspirational female leaders has reminded our employees what is possible, but also demonstrated the hard work that is required to achieve success. We look forward to running further Banking on Women events,” said Al Ghurair.

Banking on Women 1.0 focused on barriers to gender equality in the corporate world, highlighting CBI’s own efforts to drive female empowerment through training and development. Women currently form 43 per cent of CBI’s workforce, and 15 per cent of executive management.

“His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum has said that opportunities do not lie around waiting for someone to grab them – they are made. When I was a young girl, I did not think that it was possible for me to become one of the top Arab scientists in the UAE. But through hard work and determination this is exactly what I have achieved. I want women in the UAE to never doubt their aspirations, but to be prepared to put in the hard work,” said Mattar.

Kazim added that in order to encourage greater gender diversity in the workplace, businesses in the UAE need to recognise that women play many roles outside of the workplace, and often lack the high-visibility experiences that prepare men for executive positions. Companies can change this by providing adequate training and development for women so that they can reach their full potential.

“Women make better leaders– it’s that simple. We outperform across operating, interpersonal, and motivational metrics. And we drive a more balanced work culture, with better decision making. But we need to seize change ourselves and be proactive about tackling our own headwinds. Often we need to develop a thicker skin. It is not always about success or people saying positive things about you. We need to accept the setbacks and get back up again with integrity,” said Fisk.


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