How to be a successful woman in the downstream industry: Interview with Reem Al-Anbari, Borouge
We recently had a chance to interview Reem Al-Anbari, Chief Financial Office, Borouge on her views, opinions and advice for women in the downstream oil and gas industry.
Reem Al-Anbari will be speaking at this year’s ADID 2017.
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Top 5 tips you would give to millennial women on succeeding in the Oil and Gas Industry
- Women should always believe in and live their dreams and work towards achieving their aspiration, so their minds, hearts, and souls are focused on attaining their vision. They have to believe that they are capable of translating what seems to be impossible to something possible.
- Women need to continue to develop their talents and capabilities, take risks, learn from mistakes and aim for a win-win solution. They should not let failure dampen their confidence but rather make it as an opportunity for growth. Women should always think ahead, welcome changes with an open mind, keep a positive attitude and mindset and remind themselves of their goals and move on. They should be prepared to handle challenges and deliver expectations. It is also very crucial for women to continuously educate and re-educate themselves and never stop learning and unlearning things.
- Take the initiative and take the opportunity when it comes. Opportunities knock only once. We have to grab it and seize the day. It is like riding a train. If you missed the ride on certain time, you don’t have any other choice except to wait for the next train.
- They should constantly challenge themselves set up their goals and learn from others. Like a diamond, they have to polish themselves so they can shine.
- Walk the talk and lead by example. Be a role model, motivate and inspire others. Women should demonstrate their capabilities by volunteering to carry out demanding projects & assignments, take ownership, and continually challenge themselves. They should show confidence and dynamism. They should learn to push themselves to take further steps, to speak up and let their voices be heard and heeded.
What impact do women have on the industry in your perspective?
- Women are capable and are formidable force that can help the industry to achieve development, progress and sustainability. The increasing number of women in decision making positions in the business nowadays creates more dynamism and diversity in leadership and communication styles. When we engage more women at a higher level, this could bring in more added-value to the organization as women can see things on a different perspective than men. It is like having a balance. On a certain scenario, women may use more their right brain while men tend to use more of their left brain and when given a different scenario, this brain use can be reversed.
- When women are empowered, there is no limit to the scope women can play in different sectors because women by nature are adept at multi-tasking.
What do you think can be done to help retain the number of women within the oil and gas industry?
- Retaining female talents is essential if the oil and gas sector is to continue to meet the demands over the next decades. When given equal opportunity, women can demonstrate their capability by volunteering to take challenging projects & assignments, taking the ownership, and constantly pushing and challenging themselves to contribute to the growth of the organization.
- Women should be given more avenues to express their thoughts, ideas, skills and capabilities and should be engaged in more challenging and dynamic roles.
- Women should be encouraged and supported by the management to assume leadership roles. The management should also make more exciting programs or initiatives where women can display their skills, competencies and leadership skills. Creating and supporting women advocacies thru establishing women committees would help women find good role models who could mentor and encourage them to explore their potentials. Having a mentor or good role model is of utmost importance for whatever young people see – they can become.
What more do you think could be done to attract women to the industry?
- We need to come up with some innovative ways to attract young women and encourage them to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and also look at the possibilities of welcoming women from other disciplines or fields to explore a rewarding career and opportunities in oil and gas industry.
- I think we also need to give more recognition to women’s contribution by showcasing them in public forums, conventions and social media and other forms of communication so more people will be aware about the important and influential roles women are playing in the society.
- Companies should also establish an ideal mentorship scheme which will play a crucial part in their employees’ career succession development plans.
In the time you have worked in the industry, do you think the perception of women has changed? For better or worse?
- I think the perception about women workers is far better than before. Top managements have now realized that women are equally capable and can handle top level positions. This is evident even in politics wherein a number of women are now in the cabinet/ministerial positions. The perception that women are only good at certain skills or only in support functions at work does not apply anymore.
Who or what inspired you to go into the industry?
- My career in the oil and gas industry did not come by chance. As you know, the oil and gas is the engine of our country and I really pursued a career in this industry since it was my dream and passion. I love to challenge myself. I also want to take this career due to its diverse environment whether in opportunities, people, culture or talents.
Although there has been an increase in the amount of women present in the workforce, what do you think women need to do or what can be done to get more women into positions of real power and decision making?
- Women should trust their capabilities and grab opportunities that come their way and achieve their goals. They need to continue to develop their talents and capabilities and take the initiative and risks to develop their careers in the industry. They need to display high integrity and honesty and be a good role model who could inspire and motivate others. They should also build good working relationships with top management, subordinates and peers and try their best to be more collaborative, reliable, agile, value-driven and innovative. Moreover, they should be prepared to handle challenges and deliver or even exceed expectations. They should also build a good network with like-minded individuals.
- Top and senior management on the other hand, should foster a supportive company culture for female employees and establish formal mentoring programs and implement more development opportunities for women like trainings, seminars and special courses. They should also ensure that women’s achievements are highlighted and celebrated as role models.
Do you think enough is being done at education level to promote women pursuing a career in the industry?
- We need to come up with innovative ways to attract young women and encourage them to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and also look at the possibilities of welcoming women from other disciplines or fields to explore a rewarding career and opportunities in oil and gas industry.
- Also, companies can tie up with universities and colleges where women leaders can be invited to speak before the students as part of the school’s career guidance counselling program to enlighten and encourage their students especially the your females to consider a career in the oil and gas industry.