Women of Jordan!
Doha Abdel Khaleq is the cofounder and executive partner of Eskadenia, a software company. She previously served as the regional director for legal affairs for telecoms giant Ericsson in Beirut and a legal counsel in Beijing, Shanghai and Stockholm.
What have you sacrificed at each stage of your career to be where you are today?
I like to talk about sound choices and not sacrifices; I have had to make some tough choices at an early stage to reach this point in my career like where to spend my energy, how, with whom and why? Perseverance pays off and what is seen as a sacrifice today could turn into one’s assets later on. Standing firmly on one’s core values is the backbone for success. Balance, making plenty of friends and management of time usually solve most problems.
Do you believe female mentorship is important?
Yes it is important, and I do that often through many organizations. Being a mentor means that you should be able to clear out the challenges and difficulties for other ladies by good example and change perceptions regarding what a Jordanian and an Arab Woman can or can’t do. I always tried to contribute towards discussing the real issues concerning gender inequality and progress in Jordan thus launching an online digital sisterhood [page]; a portal that links women with volunteering opportunities and projects. I have also launched watanmusicchamber.com, an organization that focuses on teaching music at public schools in Jordan with an aim to reach 100 classrooms.
How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
Balance is the key indeed to the establishment and growth of the business. It is directly related to how well one leads and connects with others. I also believe that developing good relationships is a good investment of hearts and souls which leads to a balanced life and this can be achieved by following simple steps: Prioritizing my time and getting organized by using time-tracking tools and focusing on what I like the most, which includes music, sport, spirituality and family.
How do you deal with conscious and unconscious bias in the workplace?
I am glad I am a boss so I get to put some good rules here. I started with understanding the unconscious bias in myself and others. Then I moved to solutions, such as providing training—directly or indirectly—that helps employees gain insight into the nature of hidden preconception. We can also put together a plan for uncovering and mitigating bias utilizing best practices, including tips and tools to create, grow, and maintain a participative work environment where all people feel engaged, respected, and appreciated for their knowledge, experience, and skills.
What woman inspires you to give your all and why?
Her Majesty Queen Rania is a true example of a strong modern and enlighten leader.
What policies do you believe should be put in place to move your organization toward gender equality?
We need to regularly audit laws and organizations on all related issues that are of interest to women to keep all productive women working. I am proud to say that we are the first IT company in Jordan that was given a UN Gender Equality Seal in the work place.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
There are no unbreakable barriers but the most urgent is the paradigm that some women carry and pass in their own blood stream that they can’t balance work and family. Working hard in Jordan should pay off. I also think that women leaders should be given ample theaters and platforms to connect and lead.
Women of Jordan – Part Two