Yemeni Business Woman Designs Her Own Way

I am a simple Yemeni woman who was raised in a community where women don’t have the space to show their full potential.

But, it was different in my family because the girls were given an equal chance to study, just like the boys. When it came to work we all had to find our own way.

Because I was passionate about it, I studied architecture in Jordan, but I had to finish here in Yemen. I graduated in 2005 and found myself unable to find a job because opportunities were limited. After more than eight months of searching, I took the first chance I got to work . I joined a construction company called Griffin LTD even though the pay was really low. After a year, I decided to leave because the designs were not so challenging and I had a chance to work on a university project.

That’s when a turning point in my life occurred. A friend recommended me to an oil services company called Al Majara International to work as an Executive Director. I thought it would not possible as I was a fresh graduate and it was not my field of study. But, to my astonishment, I was hired. Honestly speaking, I was so frightened of the whole idea of leadership but then I took the challenge and thanks to God and to my friend who believed in me, I successfully worked in this position for almost three years and was able to connect with many professionals in the country.

In 2010 I applied and was hired by Total E&P Yemen , an affiliate of the Total Group as Managing Director Executive Assistant & Diversity Officer. Joining an international company the size of Total was very valuable to me and I learned a lot, especially, in the area of diversity.

“So, I gathered my courage…”

But, I still wasn’t satisfied. I always told myself there would come a day when I  would go back and work in my field of study and passion. So, I gathered my courage and resigned from Total. I joined a group of young investors (four men and me) in an investment company called the Basha Group. I am also starting my own Design & Construction office.

I attribute my courage and career path to a longing for the best and the search of my authentic self. I am guided by a quote from Rachel Andrews, “The more of me I be, the clearer I can see.”

My courage is based on:

  • Awareness: Being supported by a family that had education as its first priority built my character.
  • Motivation: Being surrounded by friends who are very ambitious and inspiring.
  • Unfairness: Being rebellious by nature to everything that seemed oppressive to me; not accepting the fact that I lived in a community which often treated women as incompetent.
  • Belief: Trusting that God always gives you back the good work that you do.

“I wish for women the courage to explore, the wisdom to select carefully, and the joy that comes from finally being yourself.”

I may not be able to determine the future but our world is full of possibilities and chances. I wish for women the courage to explore, the wisdom to select carefully, and the joy that comes from finally being yourself.