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Welcome to Pathway20

Join the sisterhood of success! Pathway20 is a powerful 12-week board accelerator. Think of it as the boardroom launchpad for influential GCC women. Aurora50 has been running Pathway20 since 2020. Over 80 percent of our graduates are now non-executive directors. Limited time? No problem. Pathway20 fast-tracks women’s board aspirations. In 40 hours of expert-led training, we help busy executives to skyrocket their board careers. And the accompanying corporate governance diploma proves that learned skills are board-ready.

Pathway20 partners

Anchor partner
Ega the Client of Aurora50
Emirates Nature the Client of Aurora50
FAB (First Abu Dhabi Bank) logo
Founding partner



Iman Al Qasim

Executive Vice President of Human Capital, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) Pathway20: 2022 Board directorships: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), United Printing and Publishing (UPP), TAQA, EGA Reinsurance Ltd, EGA America Inc

“I've discovered a lot about myself during Pathway20. Being part of a group of women that is driving the change, and trailblazers for the UAE and for women on boards, is amazing. The content has been very inspirational. The speaker line-up has been very diverse. It's just a phenomenal experience.”


Julie Cunningham

Global Head of Tax, Risk and Resilience, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) Pathway20: 2022 Board directorships: International Fiscal Association, EGA America Inc, Emirates Global Aluminium (Singapore), EGA Reinsurance, Emirates Global Aluminium Korea, Emirates Global Aluminium (Shanghai) Aluminium Co

“Pathway20 is a transformational programme that has elevated my ability to deploy value across all board appointments. The secret sauce rests with the world-class course provider, carefully selected speakers, curated, impactful content and an elite cohort of women that, together, will make a difference.”


Fatima Al Fahim

Senior Vice President, Mubadala Pathway20: 2021 Board directorships: Emirates Steel Arkan

“It’s not only important but also proven that women with a network of successful female and male peers achieve much higher positions in leadership. Aurora50 provided a strong network, comprising extremely accomplished and highly talented women board directors to whom one can reach out to for guidance and mentorship.”


Mariam Balfaqeh

Director, Abu Dhabi Executive Office Pathway20 2021 Board directorships: Takaful Emarat Insurance

“The technical training enabled me to gain required skills, to be in that boardroom, to be able to talk, negotiate and build alliances. It is because of the Pathway20 mentorship that I was able to serve as a board member.”

Pathway20 features

One impactful sprint

A 12-week commitment, with five full-day, face-to-face workshops (in UAE)

Corporate governance diploma

An internationally recognised, university credit-rated diploma in corporate governance to prove that learned skills are board-ready

Access to directors

Access to 20+ seasoned non-executive directors (NEDs) to help close the network gap for aspiring board directors

Corporate and individual packages

  • Corporations nominate and sponsor talented women employees
  • Corporate women self-finance and join independently

Latest practical board skills

Regularly refreshed and updated content as board-critical topics (e.g. AI) evolve, providing practical, real-world insights into being an effective board director

1-to-1 board coaching

Three one-to-one momentum board coaching sessions with a board career expert or coach give insight and feedback during each phase. These help participants to strategically map a board career action plan

Pathway20 journey



Participants take ownership of their board career and develop a growth mindset to build their board portfolio.



Senior executives build board director leadership competencies, using toolkits and action plans to drive meaningful progression.



Unite with other women on the same pathway and accelerate together. Learn from NEDS who can divulge their own path to the board.


Benefits for participants and alumna
pathway_dstpl pathway_mbl

Pathway20’s NED & advisor network

  • HE Khalfan Belhoul

    CEO, Dubai Future Foundation

  • Huda Al-Lawati

    Board director, MAGRABI Retail Group

  • Prof Dame Heather McGregor

    Provost & Vice Principal, Heriot Watt University, Dubai Non-executive director, FEET plc & Lowell UK

  • Dr Ayesha Binlootah

    Assistant Vice President, Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) Board director, Salik

  • Jana Yamani

    Board director, Anghami

  • Elham Al Qasim

    Board director, Amanat Holdings

  • Abdul Wahab Al Halabi

    Vice Chair, Union Properties

  • Tony O’Sullivan

    UAE Managing Partner, EY

  • Mustafa Kheriba

    Executive Chairman, Iceberg Capital Board director, various companies

  • Fawad Khan

    Board director, Anghami & Northacre

  • Saeed Al Awar

    Head of Middle East, Rothschild & Co Board director, ADC Acquisition Corp & xCube

  • Youssef Salem

    CFO, ADNOC Drilling Senior advisor, Moelis Board director, Swvl & various private companies

Pathway20 benefits for corporations

Developing women's careers is good for talent acquisition and retention

Growth mindset and mentor/ sponsor/ role model opportunities

Participants build valuable network for future business ventures

Diverse board leadership results in better decision-making and performance

A proactive approach to diversity grows company brand and reputation

Investing in women’s leadership improves succession planning

Pathway20 - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the personal value of joining Pathway20 for me?

We believe there are 14 different ways a board directorship can help in a senior executive’s role and responsibilities – and in your future career.
  • Widen your professional network
  • Build business acumen
  • Learn collaboration
  • Finesse communications skills
  • Learn more about leadership
  • Get to grips with corporate governance
  • Understand the company vision
  • Learn better decision-making
  • Build a support network for collective acceleration
  • Offer an opportunity to coach and mentor
  • Provide a fresh intellectual challenge
  • Grow a personal brand
  • Make you better at your job
  • Give you confidence
You can read the full post – 14 ways a board career will help your career – on our Insights page. Also read the question below – Why should I become a board director?

What is the value for my organisation in putting one of our women leaders on Pathway20?

1. Developing women’s careers is good for talent acquisition and retention:
  • attract and retain top female talent
  • create a stronger overall talent pool
  • foster a more engaged workforce.
Reap the benefits of increased engagement and loyalty, and reduce costly staff turnover.
2. Diverse board leadership results in better decision-making and performance:
With countries like the UAE setting quotas, and with board diversity and skills widely published, it is imperative to ensure gender diversity on your board/s. It is also proven to improve collaboration, stock returns and shareholder relations.
3. A proactive approach to diversity enhances company brand and reputation:
Commitment to gender equality and inclusion makes your business attractive to new customers and investors – and has a proven impact on regional companies’ ESG ratings.
4. Participants build a valuable network for future business opportunities:
Connecting with board directors and executives creates a valuable network that can open doors to business opportunities and build stakeholder relations.
5. Growth mindset and mentor/ sponsor opportunities:
Pathway20 participants and alumna develop a growth mindset to take ownership of their own career and board advancement. They can also act as a role model and help and advise their colleagues.
6. Investing in women’s leadership improves succession planning:
Ensure your organisation’s stability by future-proofing leadership and creating a steady pipeline of talent to rise to the top.

What does the Pathway20 accelerator provide, in a nutshell?

  • Five full-day, face-to-face workshops on board-critical topics, delivered within three months by board experts and experienced directors.
  • Ongoing, private membership to a community of women with whom you can develop and grow as you build your board portfolio.
  • An internationally recognised, university credit-rated diploma in corporate governance.
  • 24×7 access to learning and development materials, including on-demand content.
  • One-to-one momentum board coaching sessions with a board career expert/ coach to give insight and feedback during each phase, and help you strategically map your board career action plan.
  • A showcase spot for each alumna in the exclusive Aurora50 board bio pack, which is shared with executive search firms and board nomination committees looking for talented women.

What is the time commitment for Pathway20?

The 12-week Pathway20 accelerator is expected to take a minimum of 79 hours, broken down as follows:
  • Five full-day workshops (seven hours each plus lunch, which is included in the price) take place during. Homework must be completed for each workshop. (35 hours + minimum of 5 hours)
  • Each participant will also have three one-hour one-on-one personal momentum board coaching sessions. (3 hours)
  • The corporate governance diploma requires a minimum of 36 hours. There are 11 modules in total; each is expected to take 3-4 hours. There are also three online assessments for the diploma. (33 hours + minimum of 3 hours)

What is the investment cost for Pathway20?

Corporations nominate and sponsor talented women employees. Corporate women self-finance and join independently.
There are two payments options for Pathway20: a single payment or two instalments.
    • Single, upfront payment: Secure the best value with a single payment (7.5% saving). Payment is due immediately after signing the agreement. Dh75,000 plus VAT


  • Split payment: Spread the cost over two instalments for convenience. First payment due immediately upon signing the agreement (Dh41,250 plus VAT); second payment due 30 days after signing date (Dh41,250 plus VAT). Payment to be made by two post-dated cheques. Dh82,500 plus VAT
Corporate packages are available upon request to organisations. Fill in our enquiry form (/pathway20/corporate) and we will contact you within 48 hours to discuss

How is Pathway20 different from other board career programmes and accelerators?

1. Aurora50 is not a corporate governance centre: we offer practical advice from both senior experienced board advisors and non-executive board directors.
2. Pathway20 has evolved into a single 12-week sprint to quickly bring executive women up to speed with board-critical skills. Content is regularly refreshed and updated as topics, such as AI, evolve. This provides practical, real-world insights into being an effective board director.
3. We provide 1-to-1 coaching in the form of three personalised ‘momentum’ board coaching sessions with a board career expert or coach. This gives participants tailored, individual insights and feedback during every phase of Pathway20. And it helps them to strategically map their board career action plan.
4. We provide a private, exclusive network and ongoing membership to a community of women at a similar career stage. This gives participants similarly-minded executive women to develop and grow alongside as each builds her board portfolio. We also provide access to 20+ board directors, to help participants close the network gap. Aurora50 is well experienced with building communities: we also manage the NOORA network, where corporate women network face-to-face and across sectors.
5. Pathway20 alumna are added to the exclusive Aurora50 board bio pack, which is shared with executive search firms and with board nomination committees looking for talented women.

Do I have to be UAE-based or do I have to work for a UAE company?

If you are not UAE-based you are warmly invited to join Pathway20, but you must be prepared to travel to the UAE for the face-to-face workshops (workshops will take place in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi).

What companies are part of Pathway20?

Pathway20 was Aurora50’s very first initiative when the organisation began in 2020. We started Pathway20 with anchor partner ADNOC and founding partner Mubadala. Other corporate clients have included AD Ports Group, Al Hilal Bank, Americana, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), Emirates Nature WWF, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Masdar and Sandooq Al Watan.

What are the joining criteria for Pathway20?

Pathway20 is for influential women from the largest and most distinguished companies in the GCC.
Participants are expected to have:
  • experience in managing both teams and people
  • responsibility for profit and loss (P&L) and budget
  • involvement in key strategic decision-making.

Has Pathway20 changed?

Yes! Pathway20 launched in 2020 as a year-long accelerator and we ran three successful cohorts in this format. We also ran Gateway as an online programme for aspiring board directors. Based on feedback, we’ve restructured Pathway20 as a fast and flexible accelerator for busy executives. It’s now a 12-week series of workshops. Pathway20 provides highly practical insights on board skills and targeting boards, along with a diploma in corporate governance. In its new format, Pathway20 also replaces Aurora50’s Gateway.

How does the 12-week programme break down for Pathway20?

Pathway20 is a blended learning accelerator, combining face-to-face UAE-based and virtual workshops with home learning and one-on-one coaching.
It is broken out into three phases, each four weeks long:
1. Phase 1: Board search & positioning (13 hours, weeks 1-4) Secure the right board seat as a woman executive. Learn to craft a compelling value proposition, demonstrate both expertise and individuality, and navigate the board nomination process with confidence.
2. Phase 2: Deepening governance expertise (13 hours, weeks 5-8) Become a confident and insightful board director. Get to know the complexities of modern board governance and how it affects the GCC landscape.
3.Phase 3: Honing leadership & influence (13 hours, weeks 9-12) Understand the unique challenges faced by women board directors. Learn to become a powerful presence in the boardroom, champion critical issues and collaborate and communicate to drive meaningful change.
4.Alongside the three phases, you can study and take assessments for a corporate governance diploma. This is self-paced for flexible learning. Read more about this below.

What are the modules of the corporate governance diploma? How long does it take?

There are 11 modules to the corporate governance diploma in total; each is expected to take 3-4 hours. There are also three online assessments to take.
The diploma is certified by the European Qualifications Framework and is internationally recognised and university credit-rated.
It is self-paced for flexible learning: you can take it in as little as 12 weeks or up to six months.
1. Introduction to corporate governance:
A clear and concise overview of the world of corporate governance, its development and its importance.
2.Governance architecture:
Develop the appropriate governance structures as your organisation grows.
3.Governance handbook:
Policies, procedures and strategies differ by industry. All these will form part of the board’s Governance Handbook.
4. Reporting:
The information and supporting processes that directors need in order to perform efficiently – in detail.
5. The company director:
All the corporate and fiscal responsibilities needed to make a real impact.
The importance of aligning the culture of the board with the organisation and its strategy.
The tools used, the strategy development and implementation processes and the board’s role.
8.Financial matters:
How to identify and critique the relevant areas of the financial statements that relate to company operations.
Providing appropriate oversight of risk around the boardroom table and asking intelligent questions.
10. Evaluating performance:
How to initiate and implement an evaluation of a board on an internal or external basis.
11. The non-executive director (NED):
Systematically formulate a personal plan for a career as a director or a NED.

Why should I become a board director? And am I ready?

Although board directors traditionally tend to be older (the average age of an S&P 500 independent director is 63), we believe it’s experience, not age, that matters. This is certainly the case in the Gulf region, where managers and executives tend to be given responsibility much earlier in their careers. Aurora50 research has identified that 10-15 years of experience in a senior leadership or executive role is the ideal timeframe before you look to take on a board role. It is also helpful that you have had profit and loss (P&L) responsibility of significant size. If you don’t understand the numbers and you’ve never known the inner workings of a business then, despite your technical expertise, it will be very difficult for you to add value to a board. You may not yet understand financial statements (you can get trained up on that) – but if you’re not comfortable with numbers, it’s just not going to work. You also need to be familiar with the fiduciary requirements of a board director. Pathway20 will teach you the fundamentals. If you’d like to find out all the other ways we think you can ready yourself for the board, read our blog post on the Insights page, Positioning yourself to become a new Gulf board director.

Join Pathway20 today

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Download Pathway20 brochure

Pathway20, the boardroom launchpad for influential women in the GCC. Find out more about the workshops, diploma and the directors and trainers you will meet in our brochure.