The 30% Club is a global campaign led by Chairs, CEOs and leaders of industry taking action to increase gender diversity at board and senior management levels. The campaign was brought to the region in 2015 when the 30% Club’s MENA Chapter was established. It is focused as a regional volunteer effort of multi-sector leaders working together towards the objective of greater balance of representation of women on boards and in senior level positions. As part of its commitment to these objectives, the MENA Chapter sought to launch a cohort of senior industry professionals to formally mentor a number of professional women from across MENA who are all making great strides within their respective industries and who represent a future pipeline of potential board members.
Farah Foustok, CEO of Lazard Gulf and one of the founding members of the MENA Chapter, commented, “We are delighted to see the launch of this first cohort for a one year Senior Mentoring Programme. Our congratulations to our cohort and all our partners who have helped to realise this ambition. This is just one way in which the 30% Club is working to shine a spotlight on the many professional women across the GCC and to demonstrate the wealth of talent and expertise that they hold. Working with Reach and our other partners allows us to offer this cohort a bespoke and structured formal programme of networking, coaching and further development opportunities in addition to being mentored by respected leaders from across the region.”
The 30% Club has collaborated with Reach and a number of other partners in launching this inaugural cohort. Founded by four Dubai-based professional women, Reach is the first non-profit organization to be registered at the Dubai International Financial Centre. Mentors are experienced men and women willing to share their knowledge and expertise with their mentees, within strict rules of confidentiality, building trust and encouraging mutual respect. One of its key objectives is to produce a new generation of female leaders from and for the Middle East and to achieve continuity through a structured mentoring program, which may sustain future generations. Reach will host the structured platform through which the cohort will agree its objectives for the year and will also offer opportunities to connect with the wider Reach network.
The launch is being supported by a number of other organisations, including Dentons, PwC Middle East, the GCC Board Directors Institute, Boardlist and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) through access to coaching and accreditation opportunities, governance training, launch support and access to board and speaking opportunities.
Given that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic inevitably restricts the ability for the cohort to meet in person, the physical launch event will be deferred to a later date. However, with a geographically diverse cohort drawn from across the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and KSA amongst others, this presents a welcome opportunity to connect the cohort virtually and to progress the mentoring programme. Further details will be shared as the programme develops and which will form the blueprint for future cohorts for many years to come.
About 30% Club MENA
The 30% Club MENA Chapter launched in November 2015 and comprises a group of like-minded professionals and business leaders seeking to promote women’s leadership at organisations across the region. We seek to boost the number of women in executive positions across the MENA countries to build better, stronger businesses that reflect our society. Our members range from CEOs of large corporations to leaders of public/educational organisations and leading professional services firms, all committed to achieving better gender balance at all levels of organisations, because we believe it will make businesses and boards more effective.
The 30% Club MENA is the regional chapter of the global 30% Club first launched in London in 2010 with a goal of having 30% women on FTSE 100 boards by the end of 2015. Currently, women account for 33% on FTSE 100 boards, up from 12.6%.
Member firms across MENA are fast joining the initiative and taking voluntary steps towards the goal of increasing the number of women on boards and in executive positions. These member firms cover many sectors and include Lazard, Amwal, CH2M, Dentons, Etihad Airways, Heidrick & Struggles, Deloitte ME, and numerous others.