An amazing woman – a great role model!
She sees herself as an “agent of change” – for the young to seek technology as a vehicle for development, for women in the Arab & Muslim world to be inspired to grow and prosper and serve their societies.
Who is she? Her name is Sheikha Lubna al Qasimi. She hails from the Royal family of the UAE and was the first woman appointed as a Cabinet Minister in the UAE Government. At present she wears two hats – she is the Minister for the Economy and Planning of the UAE and is also the CEO of Tejari.com, apart from being on the Boards of half a dozen organizations including the Autism Society of the UAE. She is also an active volunteer of the “Friends of Cancer Patients”.
I met her during a recent visit to Dubai for the meeting of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Commision on E-Buisness, IT & Telecom. She is an IT professional having graduated from the University of California with a degree in Computer Science, and following that up with an Executive MBA from the American University of Sharjah.
A charming and accomplished woman, she is a regular speaker at regional and international conferences, has won dozens of awards and continues to pave the way and open up new avenues for women in the UAE through hard work and example.
When she first returned from the USA 16 years ago, she could have got a plush position because she was a Royal but instead she joined Datamation as a programmer and worked normal 10 hour days just as her colleagues did.
Six years and several jobs later, Lubna got her first break when she joined the Dubai Ports Authority as Senior Manager of the Information Systems Department. During her tenure, she transformed the DPA through a sophisticated electronic system that networked the ports and customs authority with the cargo community, thereby streamlining the flow of documentation and enabling the efficient handling of cargo.
Sheikha Lubna credits her parents for the person she is today. From her mother she says she has inherited discipline, initiative and her pride in being a woman, and from her father she has learned creativity and a love for the world.
How has being a Royal impacted her career? Well, according to Lubna, it is difficult to convince most people that she has worked her way up so she doesn’t even try. “I let those I have worked with speak for me,” she says, and she works twice as hard to demonstrate her knowledge and her professionalism so as to win people’s trust and acceptance. But win it she has!
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