CBRE and British Embassy host ‘Women in Business’ event in Abu Dhabi

CBRE’s second instalment of the ‘Women in Business’ series takes place in the UAE capital ahead of International Women’s Day.

March 8th, 2018 , Abu Dhabi (UAE):  Leading businesswomen from some of the most influential and successful firms in Abu Dhabi gathered at CBRE’s second ‘Women in Business’ event co-hosted by the British Embassy Abu Dhabi, to engage in dialogue on women’s empowerment in the workplace.

Hosted by the global real estate consultancy, CBRE and the British Embassy, the event, was held in the lead-up to International Womens’ Day, focused on gender parity and opportunities for women in the Emirate and beyond. The event featured inspiring female leaders from the public and private sectors and their diverse success stories. The interactive discussion provided the audience with a unique opportunity to learn from, connect with and inspire one another.

The female-only panel consisted of businesswomen from various industry verticals namely:

  • Wanda Lizakowska-Maciejczuk, Property Manager, CBRE Middle East
  • Shafeena Yusuff Ali, CEO of Tablez Food Company, Chairperson for Tablez India and Director of Twenty I4 Holdings
  • Ameera Amir, Founder and CEO of Weyakum, Founder and CEO of Lahum, President of Columbia University Alumni Association UAE, Board Member FiveOne Labs

During her opening remarks, the Deputy British Ambassador, Stephanie Al Qaq,  commented on the crucial role which women play in the UAE’s economy.

“In the year of Zayed, it is appropriate to celebrate the vision and achievements of His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed in putting the education and empowerment of women at the heart of the UAE’s development.”

“Women’s participation in economic activity and the labour market in the UAE is impressive. Women now comprise 8/29 Cabinet members, including the high-profile Ministers of Youth, and Happiness, 9/40 (22.5%) members of the Federal National Council, 43% of the Emirati workforce, 66% of government sector workforce, 30% of senior decision-making posts, 30% of the diplomatic corps and 15% of professional posts. Women constitute 71% of students at government universities and 50% of students in private universities and colleges. These figures are among the highest in the world.”

Commenting on her role in the firm and the event itself, Wanda Lizakowska-Maciejczuk, Property Manager, said, “CBRE as a business is committed to accelerating the role women play in its offices globally. Having worked in several international markets, I’ve seen this firsthand. I am proud to be part of a firm that places high importance on gender parity and boasts several programmes such as the CBRE Women’s Network that attracts, recruits and retains some of the most successful women in the business world.”

“CBRE is an excellent company for a woman moving up the ranks into senior leadership positions and remains committed to hosting several similar events to speak to women in the region about real-life, tangible opportunities in the market for them to embrace.”

The event revealed that in an industry which typically attracts more men, CBRE has a  higher proportion of female professional staff (at around one third) compared to the industry standard of around 13%.

The joint event comes at an opportune time as discussions around women are top of mind with International Women’s day taking place on 8th March.

Shafeena Yusuf Ali, CEO of Tablez Food Company, Chairperson for Tablez India and Director of Twenty I4 Holdings, commented passionately, “We as women have unbound untapped empathy, understanding, strength and resilience. To use these amazing traits to add value to not just our families but to the society and community that we live in, is extremely important. On this day that the world celebrates our gender, let’s strive to reach our full and whole potentials.”

Ameera Amir, Founder and CEO of Weyakum, Founder and CEO of Lahum, President of Columbia University Alumni Association UAE, Board Member FiveOne Labs, followed by emphasizing the changes in the UAE, “A lot of transformation has taken place in the United Arab Emirates over the last few decades. In a short period of time, the country has achieved a society where women participate meaningfully in all aspects of life. Naturally, my vision for the future of women is very much inspired by what I see in the United Arab Emirates today; the  tangible results are what give me hope and motivate me to continue through my own efforts.”

Stephanie Al Qaq, continued by saying, “The UK is a world leader on gender equality, last year spending £214.5 million through the CSSF (Conflict Security and Stability fund) to support actiivies to promote gender equality overseas. 2018 marks the centenary of (partial) women’s suffrage in the U.K. and the year in which women could stand as candidates as well as be elected as MPs. Following the 2017 General Election, we now have the most diverse parliament in British history: we have 208 women MPs, which is 32% of the Commons; and in local government, women now make up 33% of elected positions.”

“We recently published the fourth edition of the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and the UK will work on tackling the obstacles to women’s meaningful political participation. This includes through the Foreign Secretary’s vision of enabling girls to access and complete twelve years of quality education and Department for International Development’s forthcoming Strategic Vision for Gender Equality, which includes a new focus on women’s political empowerment.”

The female-only event was attended by a cross-section of women from various businesses and sectors across all levels.


About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2015 revenue).  The Company has more than 70,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 400 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide.  CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting.  Please visit our website at




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