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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Khulood Al Awadhi, Director – Advanced Technology Services, Moro Hub, details her entrepreneurial engagement within the telecom sector. She explores the hurdles and prospects in this field and sheds light on how ICT companies are supporting women's empowerment.

Can you tell us more about your entrepreneurial role and how it contributes to your status as a respected woman leader in the telecom industry?

In line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for Dubai, the Dubai 10 X initiative was launched with the objective of envisioning a city that is ahead of the world by 10 years. Following His Highness’ leadership framework throughout my career journey in the field of IT and ICT, I gave myself no other choice but to evolve. Spending my life in large organizations that were striving to pioneer and disrupt, playing a successful entrepreneurial role was crucial to driving strategy, achieving results and becoming a changemaker. From leading critical governmental initiatives — mega organizational programs — establishing new functions and organizational facilities, driving strategic partnerships and delivering commercial targets under the highest pressure, to leading multi-functional teams, I always ensured that a positive mindset was spread across the team as a foundation of success. Moreover, as part of my prime entrepreneurial efforts, I was honored to play a key role as one of the founding team members of several new disruptive establishments in the ICT industry. Every achievement has significantly contributed towards elevating my professional career status and has proven that women can become effective leaders in any industry. My efforts in building organizational capabilities and achieving consistent results have helped me become a reliable and trusted asset for my organization. This keeps me eager to maintain my status as a respected woman leader among our network of partners and customers in this industry. 

As a prominent woman in the ICT sector, what challenges do you face, and how do you overcome them?

Excelling as a woman leader in the field of ICT has never been an easy journey. Going the extra mile while leading strategic initiatives and projects, which required extended working hours, was fundamental. As a strong woman leader, I was responsible for leading numerous teams of different genders, nationalities, cultural backgrounds and diverse capabilities and driving them to success. Managing conflicts, managing stakeholders’ expectations, balancing loads, making critical decisions and analyzing and taking risks whenever required were all part of the challenges I had to adapt to and overcome. Extreme flexibility, strong will and determination to achieve results were a must to withstand and succeed throughout all the changes and transformations related to the nature of such industries.

What advice can you give to other women who may be interested in a career in the ICT field?

My advice to all women who are interested in pursuing a successful, growing career in the field of ICT is to start by educating themselves and building their knowledge base by enrolling in respective academic institutions. I encourage women to embark on their career journey with a positive mindset that is open to learn, practice and build their experience gradually. Dynamic IT/ICT environments are prone to constant changes which requires women to be flexible, patient and ready to accept challenges. To become and remain prominent in such fields, it’s important to continue enriching your intellectual wealth with the latest information about emerging technologies and future trends. Throughout your career journey, “No” should not be an answer when it comes to receiving new assignments and responsibilities. I would like to advise women to leverage every opportunity and ensure they gain the maximum benefit out of it. Elevating your multi-tasking and time management skills will help you sustain and achieve remarkable results throughout the most stressful situations.

What do you see as the most exciting opportunities and notable hurdles in the field of ICT that women might face?

Although many women in the UAE have been playing an inspirational role and occupying some of the most powerful leadership positions in the country, as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum believes that women are the soul and spirit of the country, we are blessed to be empowered to participate in creating a sustainable future for generations to come. With reasonably increasing percentages of female graduates and globally growing technology demands, the need to prepare emerging women leaders in the IT/ICT field is persistent as women make up an important segment of the workforce. When it comes to “breaking the norms”, it is very exciting to drive cultural change and help broaden society’s horizons. Women have been given the chance to build strategies for ICT companies, lead key projects and initiatives, and develop key partnerships and stakeholder collaborations. In return, this has helped in growing the business, consequently boosting national economic growth.

How do ICT companies support women while seeking to amplify their roles in current and future projects?

As competent women are continuing to embark on entrepreneurial roles in various industries, they have proven their positive impact and accomplished remarkable achievements within their organizations. Therefore, IT/ICT companies have been investing in the success of women through facilitating continuous training and education programs, offering various forms of flexibility and supporting women's professional goals by creating opportunities for career progression. Honoring women and recognizing their efforts by IT/ICT companies has been very evident, as they have ensured to celebrate annual women’s days and multiple global occasions. Moreover, companies in this industry are supporting women by improving gender diversity and equality in their workplaces to accommodate a comprehensive pool of talents and increase employees’ engagement and retention. Such initiatives, in return, have helped in amplifying women’s roles and improving the overall organizational dedication.

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