The program designed to inspire the next generation of female talent across the fields of technology, engineering, design, and business completed its first phase of female mentoring earlier this year. In an exclusive interview, Communicate spoke with the CEO of SDG Global and The Futurist Company, Al Anoud Al Hashmi to unfold her experience as a mentor at the program.
Bentley has successfully completed its first “Extraordinary Women” mentorship program, with the visit of five members of its first cohort to Bentley’s headquarters in Cheshire.
During a week-long visit, students traveled from both the UAE and the UK to gain unique insights into the Bentley business and automotive careers.
Eight students have been mentored through the program, with mentors including entrepreneurs from sectors such as engineering, business and design, alongside academics and Bentley experts.
The global initiative, launched in the UAE, also invited a group of Emirati entrepreneurs to mentor students with the objective of highlighting the need for women in leadership positions. Communicate spoke with the CEO of SDG Global and The Futurist Company, Al Anoud Al Hashmi to unfold her experience as a mentor in the program.
In image: CEO of SDG Global and The Futurist Company, Al Anoud Al Hashmi
How does this program help you grow professionally and personally?
I believe it is vital to support female empowerment in the region. It was a great experience professionally and personally to partner up with Bentley Motors to use our joint knowledge, learnings, and desire for inspiring the next generation of female professionals.
What does the program offer to you and how do you work collaboratively with your students?
Being invited to take part in this program has given me the opportunity to share valuable lessons I have learned over the course of my career. I had a great experience, there are one or two insights I would certainly pass on to my younger self if I had the opportunity. It’s incredibly interesting to work alongside the next generation as there are things now that young people have to deal with that didn’t factor in my generation’s youth. So, I’m learning too!
I like to have an open dialogue with my student mentee so she feels comfortable asking me all of her questions – that way she can get the most from the program. We have established a great relationship and are now in a good rhythm of talking and meeting regularly, where we also try and set small goals. We also talk about the challenges and obstacles of entrepreneurship and what are the main pillars to help her succeed.
What were the subjects/courses you were mentoring on through the course of the first phase of the program?
As a young lady, she is still learning what she would like to do and who she wants to become, obtaining knowledge from her higher education institute is important and her journey of discovering what her passion is and what she wants to accomplish in her life is essential.
I created a space for her to ask and learn from my experience, to be able to ask freely about anything, and following this, we went into details around the different phases, from setting a startup, conceptualization, and defining the business module, to the supply chain and delivery aspects.
How do you think this program will help young women identify biases in the workplace and speak out about them?
This program is a platform that brought together some exceptional women in the UAE from various disciplines, to join forces and use their experience, learning, and passion to inspire female students. Along with Bentley, I believe this program offers young women the support, guidance, and knowledge to show them what to expect in what can be a male-dominated industry.
I’m sure that sharing my own experiences on not only starting a business but working through the associated mental, emotional, and logistical challenges will help my assigned student gain a realistic perspective and approach to working on her professional self and her work. Also, I believe this phase of the program offered an in-depth awareness and knowledge of the potential challenges ahead to enable her to better prepare herself as she enters the workforce.