This feature is part of a series highlighting some of the most prominent Jordanian businesswomen who managed to climb to the top of the corporate ladder in their respective fields in the Kingdom.
Managing Partner and Executive Director of Eskadenia.
Doha Abdelkhaleq is the managing partner and executive director of Eskadenia, one of Jordan’s biggest software companies. Abdelkhaleq, 49, and her husband established Eskadenia in 1999 after having worked together for Ericsson in Shanghai, Stockholm, Beirut, and Beijing.
Abdelkhaleq’s company exports its products to markets all over the world, including the Gulf and Europe. “We have been ambitious from day one, this is a company that has been established in Jordan with the objectives of being an international exporter of IT solutions products,” she said. Abdelkhaleq is also a trained lawyer. She said her legal background has proved helpful in the corporate world, particularly when it comes to dealing with trademarks and negotiations over business and legal issues.
She also referred to certain situations where her husband, who is the chairman, has to be the face of the company due to market requirements. “But there are certain situations where I have to be the face of the company because I am a woman and that’s the wonderful thing about being partners, roles and goals are distributed according to added value.”
When asked about the difference in their managerial styles, Abdelkhaleq said they complemented each other. She described her approach as being very much into people and documentation. Her partner, on the other hand, is a technical engineer who knows the ins and outs of his products and the industry.
“Our relationship has been nothing but complementary because he supports me as I go. I don’t have to explain to him what I’m doing, he understands,” she noted. “In our society if you don’t have the support of the male in your life, father or husband, [then it’s more difficult]. My Dad sent me to the London School of Economics in 1988 although he’s very conservative. He realized that I was a high performer and I deserved to pursue my higher education.”
To contribute to empowering other women and shed light on some businesswomen in Jordan and their impact on society, vivacious Abdelkhaleq launched a new women networking portal called Because I Care, last year. It’s also a non-profit website that links women with volunteering opportunities, such as teaching disadvantaged children music, each based on their interests.
She has also been a staunch supporter of the UN-backed Gender Equality program. In 2013, Eskadenia was actually accredited with the Gender Equity Seal thanks to their implementation of the concept in their workplace. Some 30 percent of the company’s 200 employees are women.
Although Abdelkhaleq complained that not enough women study computer sciences, she said the retention in the IT sector is higher among women as most males end up going to Dubai for better job opportunities. “That’s our biggest challenge. We need to push women more into sciences.”
Furthermore, Abdelkhaleq argued that women can play a bigger role in business. “I think if you have the right competency and skills at the right time, [then you can make it]. I don’t think being a woman is a disadvantage … The good thing about business is that the rules are known to everyone. It is about how you develop your chances, how you serve your clients, employees, and produce good products, I work hard and do get along; that is my recipe,” she said.
Articles in the series of Jordan’s Top Businesswomen: