Emirati Women's Day 2018
Step into the lives of these extraordinary women as their unique journeys to achieving excellence outline their role in Emirati society, marking them as ambassadors of the nation's pride. On this Emirati Women's Day, we pay tribute to the personalities whose tale of inspiration can help pave the way to a better tomorrow.
H.E. Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr – Director General - Dubai Smart City
H.E. Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, the impressive woman behind Dubai Smart City believes she is passionate about things in way that enables her to push her boundaries and challenge her capability. Much of her appreciation for life stems from the fact that she has been tasked with leading the digital transformation of the city in which she was born and raised. Today, she is more than conversant with the theories of artificial intelligence and blockchain—but this wasn’t always the case.
So what has made her who she is today? A sense of curiosity, grit and a commitment to her purpose. She isn’t afraid to take on a challenge – in fact, it’s what keeps her going.
She is grateful to the UAE for giving her the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge technologies whilst simultaneously paving the way for their global growth. On a daily level, she derives joy from knowing that every technological advancement made in Dubai impacts the lives of over four million people.
Dr. Aisha is proud to be part of the 66% of women who form a part of the UAE’s government, for she knows, first-hand, the huge role these trailblazers have played in transforming the city into a happy and sustainable one. Whilst raising a family is largely a woman’s domain, she believes equally that females have a huge role to play in a nation’s advancement, too.
Her life changed when she saw her father working for the Late Sheikh Zayed. It was then that she realised that she, too, wanted to be a decision-maker who could positively impact the lives of people. She might have often been reminded that running a country was a man’s domain, but this only fueled her desire to break all boundaries. Today she firmly believes that each of us can define our own future—it’s in our hands.
Salma Al Marri – Sinyar Gallery
Awarding-winning multi-media artist and the owner of Sinyar Gallery, Salma Al Marri, is delighted to be part of a lineage renowned for its determination and tenacity. She believes that these traits, combined with her unwavering confidence in reaching her full potential, set her apart from others.
Al Marri is proud of having developed her own artistic style and identity through her work, which is influenced by both the global landscape and her immediate environment. On a personal level, she takes joy in knowing she has raised well-balanced children with the ability to respect people of all backgrounds.
The artist pegs her success to her capacity for positivity—in all situations— and her ability to learn from her mistakes and hardships, an exercise in self-awareness. She strongly believes that her faith in destiny has also greatly contributed to her unparalleled sense of peace.
Al Marri is grateful to have been born an Emirati woman, witness to her country’s transformation through its people’s capacity to strive for more. She has no doubt that the women of her land have been able to reach their potential thanks to their strong will and the support of the UAE leadership.
A moment that changed her life? The time she decided to join a Fine Arts College at Cairo University; it was then that she knew her calling was to express herself and share her inner world through art.
Fatima Al Shirawi – The Gracious F Colour Consulting Company
Fatima Al Shirawi is an Emirati entrepreneur and the woman behind The Gracious F Colour Consulting Company. She believes her biggest professional accomplishments are her multiple awards for pioneering the emirate’s first colour consulting company.
The creative’s success stems from her philosophy of self-evolution, which includes a balance between family, work and health, a desire to explore creativity through travel and a quest to help people in her community and beyond. She prides herself on her unique ability to stay strong through hard times, be true to her values and think outside the box.
The image consultant is proud to be an Emirati woman, belonging to a nation of generous leaders who firmly support female empowerment. Over the years, the UAE’s ability to strike a fine balance between religion and progress is what has most impressed her about her nation’s trajectory. Today, she is grateful to be as a positive role model who’s paved the way for the future of design and fashion luxury in the GCC.
Her single most life-changing moment arrived when her mother passed away. It was then that she realised the importance of leaving a legacy behind. Now, she knows it’s all about the journey and making your mark for posterity’s sake.
Aljoud Lootah – Aljoud Lootah Design
Aljoud Lootah believes it’s her attention to detail that differentiates her from the rest. She has a keen interest in exploring form and function, and experimental approaches to materials and techniques, in ways that go beyond the obvious. She believes that she has two major accomplishments on a professional level—having products from her Oru Series collection acquired by an international museum for their permanent collection and establishing her studio at Dubai Design District in 2014.
Lootah is unusual in that she never moves forward without both a plan A and plan B—preparation is the key to her success. Whilst life has thrown many curveballs her way, she has never stopped at the first obstacle she encounters—instead, she’s always charged on with fortitude.
The successful creative knows she’s blessed to be an Emirati woman for a variety of reasons, the primary one being the endless opportunities and support local women here receive from their visionary leaders. She’s also deeply proud of her country’s history and culture and its place atop the list of most rapidly developing nations in the world.
Time and experience have taught her that it isn’t a single moment that changes one’s life. Very often it’s a series of small incidents and experiences that give individuals both personal and professional purpose.
Mashael Al Ali and Fatima Al Shaikh – Re: Urban Studio
Mashael Al Ali and Fatima Al Shaikh, the ladies behind Re: Urban Studio, believe that managing a design-centric business incubator in an all-women partnership is a unique challenge that has taught them a lot. Together they believe that that their biggest professional accomplishment has been creating an opportunity, where perhaps, many didn’t see one. With both juggling roles as mothers and careerwomen, balance has always been the key to their success.
Both these pioneers believe that women in the UAE have a lot to thank their country for; today, the nation provides a safe and nurturing environment in which the fairer sex can excel. Today, they’re proud to belong to a land which encourages women to find a middle ground between modesty and modernity.
A moment that changed their lives? They can’t pick one! The time when Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zayed honored them both by setting up a meeting with the Education Council inside the studio? Or the moment H.E Shamma Al Mazroui praised Re: Urban Studio’s work, granting them a distinguished seal. Or perhaps when the company was granted the first business incubator license by the Dubai Economic Department, establishing it as the first design-centric business incubator certified by Dubai SME…
Noura Al Ghandi – Albal Design Studio
Noura Al Ghandi, the founder of Albal Design Studio, prides herself on her ability to understand people. Her empathetic nature has enabled her to support successful entrepreneurs at local start-ups (such as Society and Rain Café) in designing and executing their projects.
Her biggest source of professional joy is founding Albal Design Studio in 2015. She believes she couldn’t have done this without her trust in Allah combined with her own ability for self-motivation.
Today, she is grateful to be an Emirati woman, blessed with leaders who greatly respect and trust a women’s opinion. She takes pride in her ancestry and the willpower of matriarchs who have greatly contributed to the country’s success.
In 2008, her father, Abdullah, passed away leaving her truly bereft. It was from him that she had learned how to draw and dream, and his love still serves as her daily dose of inspiration. Albal means, “always on my mind” as her studio is dedicated to the man who taught her everything…
Ahlam Al Bannai – Ahlam Photo Studio
Ahlam Al Bannai, the owner of Ahlam Photo Studio, is an artist, researcher, educator, entrepreneur and mother of four. She currently works as a faculty member in a college of technology, whilst also doubling up as the chief photographer at her artistic space in d3. More than anything else, the talented creative believes that being able to handle two full-time jobs, raising four children and remaining a strong part of her community are her defining abilities.
Al Bannai’s biggest accomplishment is something she does daily – waking up with the goal of sharing knowledge and inspiring others. Being a trusted advisor to hundreds of students is what gives her utmost joy. She owes her success to her husband, in large part, but also to herself; she understands it could not have come without her capacity to dare, dream and learn from her failures.
Al Bannai’s life shifted drastically when she had to travel to the USA for her higher education. In living alone in an alien culture, she learnt how to be a self-reliant problem-solver. Her lifechanging years abroad transformed her into an emissary of her country with the will to succeed in the future.
The multi-faceted lady believes that Emirati women have been great leaders for many generations, often having to raise children in the absence of their husbands. Over time, these women have been recognized for their ability to take on big issues. Today they are working mothers, supportive daughters and inspiring sisters, who are core to the nation’s advancement.
Hessa Al Joker: Pearla
Hessa Al Joker, the founder of the women’s clothing line, Pearla, prides herself on her ability to look at a variety of situations from different angles. She believes that her ability to bring a different perspective to the table makes her unique. Whilst she is proud of many things, her biggest accomplishment to date has been establishing her own business thanks to a character determined by grit and determination. She now knows, that the secret to success is creating things with love.
Al Joker is proud to be an Emirati woman as she believes she receives respect and encouragement in all arenas. She feels strongly that women in the nation are truly appreciated and given the chance to pursue their ambition.
A moment that changed her life? Receiving her college degree. It’s what made her realise her passion and determination for all things creative—and her ability to fulfil her dream of starting her own business.