Nafisa Al Mulla and Rania Abdallah receive Emirates Businesswomen Award 2006 at the hands of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed

Published May 22nd, 2006 - 12:08 GMT

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation and Patron of Dubai Quality Group presented the prestigious Emirates Businesswomen Award 2006 to Nafisa Al Mulla, head and owner of Al Murooj English School, Sharjah and Rania Abdallah, Regional Human Resources Manager for Middle East, Asia and Africa at PepsiCo International, Dubai, at the glittering award ceremony that was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai yesterday (May 21, 2006).

Her Highness Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum Bin Jumaa Al Maktoum was honoured for her achievements and contribution to Arab women and society, at the hands of Sheikh Ahmed, during the ceremony. Charles Watson, Shell Country Chairman, Dubai and Northern Emirates, Abdul Qader Obaid Ali, Chairman of Dubai Quality Group and other dignitaries were present at the ceremony.

Four criteria winners were also honoured for their respective achievements. Nafisa Salah Ali Taha, Owner of Café De La Paix in Abu Dhabi was the winner of ‘Recognition for Community Criteria’ while Nazek Al Sabbagh, Director of Civil Engineering Department at the Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation was awarded the ‘Innovation Criteria’.

Similarly, Salma Ali Saif Bin Hareb, Chief Executive Officer of Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority, won the ‘Leadership Criteria’ and Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, Supervisor in Information Technology at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai Women’s College was the winner of ‘Career Achievement Criteria’.

Speaking on the occasion, Watson said: “The Emirates Businesswomen Award 2006 is Shell’s recognition of the immense effort women have put in to overcome cultural, social and financial hurdles on their path towards personal and professional fulfillment. The Award also celebrates the courage and tenacity with which women in the UAE have pursued their dreams, and the openness with which they have embraced change, embarking on entrepreneurial ventures or on careers in hitherto untapped fields.”

“Shell is committed to increasing the number of women in the boardrooms of business and has set tough targets to ensure that women hold 20 per cent of its senior executive jobs by 2008. We are delighted with the enthusiastic response the Award has elicited year after year, and plan to extend its scope by bringing women of the larger Middle East region under its purview, in future,” he added.

Believing in the motto ‘Every Child Matters’, Al Mulla, winner of the Award in the Business Woman category, established Al Murooj English School in Sharjah in 1995, which today boasts of a student population of 160 and is set to shift to new premises this year. Her commitment to the cause of education has earned her several honours, including the British Business Group Award, the Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Award for Achievement in 2001 and the Shaikh Rashid Award for Achievement in 1998.

Abdalla, the Award winner in the Professional Woman category, is responsible for PepsiCo International’s 13,000 employees working in five business units spread across 35 countries. She is credited with introducing employee benefits, harmonious pay structures, cost avoidance strategies and accountable practices, besides achieving Emiratisation targets in PepsiCo’s businesses. Her efforts have been appreciated by the UAE National Human Resources Development and Employment Authority and have gained her the Inclusion Award for Emiratisation.

Highlighting his organisation’s role in the Award, Abdul Qader Obaid Ali said: “Dubai Quality Group is committed to building a fully diversified and progressive economy in Dubai, based on the tenets of quality and excellence. Quality breeds excellence, excellence promotes growth, which in turn, leads to further progress and prosperity. The Emirates Businesswomen Award fulfils our objective of promoting innovation, improving quality, developing professional and managerial expertise, facilitating the exchange of ideas and inspiring women to give their best.”

He added: “Women make up half the world’s population and are a powerful catalyst of economic development, social change and reform. Women are also developing as business leaders and constitute a significant and sizeable presence in today’s workplace, rising to hold responsible positions at the highest levels of decision-making and corporate leadership. It is befitting therefore that society recognises their contribution to the development process and aids their empowerment.”

Members of a Supreme Jury who selected the winners from among the 76 applicants, were also honoured during the ceremony. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister of Economics and Planning, chaired the Supreme Jury which comprised Dr Rawdha Al Mutawa, Chairperson of the UAE Businesswomen Council; Dr Amna Khalifa, Professor at the Faculty of Education of UAE University, Al Ain; Ms Judith Barton, Chief Assessor, Emirates Businesswomen Award 2006; Hussain Al Mahmoudi, Head of External Affairs and HSSE (Health, Safety, Security and Environment), Shell; Abdul Qader Obaid Ali and Ms Hessa Tahlak, Quality Executive at Dubai Quality Group.

Explaining the assessment process, Barton said: “The standard of applications received this year speaks for the new heights of achievement and excellence women in the UAE have scaled as entrepreneurs and professionals. The Award’s rigorous evaluation procedures have made it a credible and much sought-after benchmark of corporate and professional excellence, motivating more women to make a difference to society with their leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.”

The Award, in its fourth successive year, was launched jointly by Shell and Dubai Quality Group to recognise and honour the contribution of National and expatriate women to the development of the UAE. The Award holds up women achievers as role models for other women to emulate and serves as an effective networking forum.

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