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.
Founder and Principal Architect at Maisam Architects and Engineers
Meisa Batayneh is the founder and principal architect at Maisam Architects and Engineers. The firm has overseen major projects across Jordan, the wider region and beyond. It’s also won numerous international awards for its creations, including the prize for best urban design at last year’s LEAF awards.
Growing up, Batayneh’s parents instilled in her the belief that women have just as much right to a career as men. “For my dad it was actually more important to educate women than men because it’s a man’s world,” she said.
As the child of an ambassador, Batayneh was born in Taiwan, and had seen much of the world before she even began her career. This also involved studying in the United States where she was fortunate to learn from some of the best architects in the world at the University of Texas who were attracted there during the oil boom.
At the time, as is still often the case today, women were discouraged from studying architecture and it was seen as a male profession. But this did not stop Batayneh. On returning to Jordan she worked with some of the best architects in the country, including Jafar Tukan, before establishing her first firm in the early 1980’s, which later evolved into Maisam.
Batayneh is known not only for her talent in architecture, but also for her leadership. She has been the President of the Business and Professional Women of Amman, and is currently a member of the board of trusties of the King Abdullah Award For Excellence, as well as the Chair of the Board of the Middle East Leadership Academy.
But when asked about her greatest achievement, Batayneh said she is most proud of her role in building on people’s passions and empowering them to be the best that they can be.
On top of all her professional achievements, Batayneh has managed to raise three children. This often meant that when they were young she would put them to bed and return to the office until the early hours of the morning.
But for Batayneh there has been no excuse or challenge that she would allow to prevent her from achieving her goals. “When you are good at what you do, when you work hard and are focused, it takes you beyond any obstacles,” she said, adding that architecture in itself is really the biggest challenge of them all.
Batayneh firmly believes that family life is important but that women have a lot to offer in their professional lives as well. “Each person has gifts … and it’s our responsibility to deliver on the gifts that we were given as human beings,” she said, adding that the strong family support system in the Middle East can actually be used to help women balance their careers.
Articles in the series of Jordan’s Top Businesswomen: