The GCC region has seen significant progress in recent years when it comes to promoting gender equality and diversity in the workplace. Women have been playing a crucial role in the HR field in the GCC, breaking through traditional barriers and contributing to the success of various organizations. This year, it's the perfect time to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of some of the top woman HR leaders in the GCC. These women have not only broken through the glass ceiling but have also inspired and paved the way for other aspiring women leaders in the HR industry. In this blog post, we will highlight the top 8 woman HR leaders in the GCC, who are making a significant impact in their organizations and beyond.
Lama is an HR leader with over 18 years of global experience in Saudi Arabia, the US, & the UAE. She built her experience in different industries spanning Banking, Energy, Consulting, and finally within the Government sector in Saudi Arabia. Having worked in varied industries and different cultures has equipped Lama to become a strong strategic HR leader who is regarded as a trusted thought partner with a clear ability in building talent strategies and driving transformations that are aimed at long-term impact & sustainability. She is an empowering leader with a firm belief that human capital is every organization’s unique value differentiator.
Lama is a certified board director and a chartered member of the GCC Board Directors Institute. She is an alumnus of Wharton and graduated from their CHRO Program and is an alumnus of Esade where she graduated from the Misk 2030 Leaders Program, in addition to being a graduate of other selective leadership programs such as, (SHE Leads) by the Swedish Institute (Si), and the Accelerated Leadership joint program by Misk & GE. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Sharjah.
Tamara is a purpose-driven and passionate HR leader bringing extensive HR expertise across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia within numerous industries, including hospitality, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, and FMCG. She is passionate about coaching and partnering with business leaders to drive the business and people agenda.
In her different capacities, Tamara has led several organizational and cultural transformations and is known for her passion and leadership in the mental health and Employee Health and well-being space.Tamara is a certified change practitioner, NLP master practitioner, and Coach.
Maitha al Murar is the Group Chief Human Resources Officer at AD Ports Group and has been instrumental during the transformational changes of the organisation leading a dynamic workforce and proactively managing cultural change as well as driving future skills development to upskill, reskill while developing an agile workforce that can support the group’s continuous growth and future aspirations as well as keep pace with its global expansion.
She led the establishment of a new centralised hub for all common HC transactional activities built around a shared service model and succeeded in achieving optimal HC operational effectiveness ensuring a strong focus on employee well-being with the development of a new well-being strategy supported by a dedicated well-being section, in addition to the formation of a comprehensive Talent Management strategy, while enhancing training and development programmes and ensuring diversity and inclusion.
She leads the process of articulating the UAE Leadership’s Emiratisation Vision by setting an ambitious long-term strategy. She served on the board of some clusters within AD Ports Group and is responsible for governance and institutional restructuring at the Group level.
Kate Barker is a CXO & Board Advisory Leader, Executive Coach, and a recognised authority in the Future of Work, digital transformation, executive development, diversity & inclusion, and HR/people/technology.
As an international advisor, Kate’s career spans three decades, working to advance Fortune 500 companies and Governments around the world to have confidence in their future, to stay competitive and minimise risk. She has earned successful partnerships with C-Suite executives, international royalty and government leaders, and the highest level as an Executive Coach.
She has garnered respect in a multitude of roles, like a Futurist for the $500B Futurist-City - NEOM in Saudi Arabia, as a Senior Advisor to His Highness (UAE), or as a leading global Consulting Partner at PWC (Asia) and Ernst & Young (USA). Kate has been a regular feature on Leadership + EDI + Future of Work and also regularly publicly addresses and publishes on topics like Digital Transformation, Leadership Development, Diversity & Inclusion, and Future of Work at CXO Summits & Executive Roundtable globally. Kate has led real-world results with clients, Microsoft, Virgin, Deloitte, and Google, and is a senior advisor to EY & McKinsey & Company. As a proud champion for diversity and inclusion, Kate is a Board Director devoted to challenging mindsets and shifting organisation practices to fully realise the leadership potential of all women and men.
Priya is a Senior Human Resources Professional with 25 years of experience in varied industries such as Technology, Oil & Gas, and Insurance. Priya is a dynamic HR leader with extensive experience in Talent Management, Coaching & Mentoring, Organizational restructuring and Design, Learning & Development, and Employee Engagement.
Working with people and providing them with a conducive environment to be the best version of themselves is her passion which drew her to this profession. She is a qualified HR Director with business and financial acumen who crafts and drives the HR agenda to meet organizational goals. Her personal mantra in the corporate world is “If you think of people just the way you think of every area of your business and invest time and energy in them, your business will thrive as people are your real assets. Priya is currently employment with NOW Health International, an IPMI provider as their Global HR Director and is responsible for all aspects of HR reporting to the CEO, and has a team of HR professionals reporting to her across several geographical locations.
Mutlu was born in Giresun, Turkey. She graduated from Bogazici University with a Political Science and International Relations degree. In 2008 she also earned her second bachelor’s degree in Law from Marmara University with a special focus on Labor Law. Mutlu brings more than 19 years of diverse HR experience with focus on Talent and Organizational Development.
Mutlu, started her HR career at Citibank, then she held HR generalist roles at Tekstilbank and PricewaterhouseCoopers Istanbul offices. Before joining GE, she was the Senior Organization and Talent Development Expert for Sabanci Holding where she supported the design of new HR systems & processes for talent management, career management, and succession planning, and managed group-wide development programs. Mutlu started working for GE Aerospace in 2010 as the HR Leader for Turkey Technology Center, where the organization achieved 4X growth within 4 years. As the HR leader of this growing organization she successfully developed, implemented, and executed various HR processes and programs, and led significant organizational changes impacting people and processes. Since May 2019 she has been working as the Regional HR Director for Middle East Turkey CIS Russia and Africa regions based in Dubai.
Sonia Mian is an HR and Wellness Professional with more than 16 years of experience across various industries; out of which her core favourites have been within the Construction, Hospitality, Retail, and FinTech sectors. She has a wealth of knowledge from Canada, UAE, and the KSA regions, and curates a unique and holistic HR experience, both in corporate and start-up environments.
Sonia has supported amazing companies in the past, some of which include but are not limited to -Accor Canada - Novotel, Hilton North America, Urbacon Construction, Mars Canada (yes, the chocolate company), Al Futtaim, Emaar, NSHAMA, Artists in Motion, EXPO 2020 and most recently, KLAIM, a FinTech within the Healthcare Industry. And she is loving it!
Sonia has consulted, led, and managed teams across the board under Operations and HR, with a strategized focus in the Audit, Finance, and Legal departments. She truly believes that good HR encompasses all these verticals and more. Over the years, Sonia has also incorporated a wellness approach focussing on the mind, body, and spirit. She passionately believes that mental wellness coupled with good old’ HR really ensures the human-to-human aspects are encouraged, respected, and rewarded, which in turn provides a win-win scenario for both the People and the Companies that she supports.
As the second biggest operator of quality schools in the UAE, HR at Taaleem aims to add real business value as a function that has a strong voice at the leadership level, helping to drive financial and commercial success through the group’s most precious asset – our people.
Talat’s vision for human capital has evolved from her 30 years of Human Resource experience, along with her playing a leadership role in a wide array of industries ─ from Oil and Gas at BP, Aviation at British Airways, Financial Institutions at ABN AMRO Bank to Pharmaceuticals with GlaxoSmithKline. Moreover, over the past decade, Talat has been spearheading multiple HR leadership roles in the sectors of Private Equity, Construction, manufacturing, and Real Estate Development within the UAE.
Additionally, Talat has extensive, solid expertise in the areas of organisational and leadership development, as well as restructuring HR Functions to align them to business. She has received various HR Leadership Awards on an international level, has been shortlisted as a Judge for the International Business and Leadership Awards by Arcet Global for 2020, and has authored several HR-related articles on LinkedIn - where she has over 8000 followers. She is also a member of the Worldwide Association of Female Professionals and has completed various leadership programs and certifications from Cornell University, London Business School and IMD. In addition, Talat is a certified Executive Coach.