DUBAI / WAM
The opening session at the ‘Women on Boards’ hub in The Discovery at Global Women’s Forum Dubai on Tuesday explored new approaches to achieving better-balanced representation on corporate boards and enhancing how women influence today’s corporate governance agenda.
The panel discussion moderated by Mette Laursen, Founder, LinKS from Denmark featured key speakers from a number of organisations; Ayesha Sultan, Board Member of Tecom Group, Independent Non-Executive Director and Chairman of Audit and Risk Committee and Vice Chairman of Executive Human Capital Committee, UAE, Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din, Chief Executive Officer, Hawkamah, UAE and Laura Hwang, Representative to the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), Singapore.
Driven by their experience, the panellists discussed how boardroom success not only depends on the understanding of board obligations but self-knowledge coupled with the flexibility to change.
Ayesha Sultan, Board Member of Tecom Group, Independent Non-Executive Director and Chairman of Audit and Risk Committee and Vice Chairman of Executive Human Capital Committee, UAE discussed two ways to maximise efficiency on boards. She said: “The first is your role as an individual, about what you bring to the board and your role as part of a collective on a board. As an individual, there are notable characteristics of Board members – being passionate, involved with your subject and the community you are in and not afraid to take risks and challenges.”
Laura Hwang, Representative to the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), Singapore, discussed the importance of keeping up to date in a constantly changing world, with new rules and regulations. Upon reflecting the role of women on Boards, she said: “Many studies have shown, Women on Boards are the most diligent directors and will ask the best questions as they are the most prepared. Keeping current is very important and the responsibility of the Board is to know where the world is moving.”
Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din, Chief Executive Officer, Hawkamah, UAE, spoke about decision making on an Executive Board. He said, “You have to build a foundation to make decisions on a Board and you have a duty of care. This comes from reading information and staying up to date as well as asking advice from other experts. You need to have enough information to make a decision with the Board – it is part of your responsibilities”.
Commenting on Global Women’s Forum Dubai, Moderator of the opening session, Mette Laursen, Founder, LinKS, Denmark, said: “Being here at Global Women’s Forum Dubai really opens my eyes on the diversity and invitation of what the UAE represents. This is a quantum leap for women – the women we have met here at Global Women’s Forum Dubai have an extremely high level of education and courage. They are on Boards, similar to what we are seeing in Scandinavia. This event displays what is very promising for women in the future.”