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2023: Aurora50’s Officially Amazing™ year in review

NOORA workshop - Emirati woman speaking
Suzanne Locke 14 December 2023
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In the biggest news of the year for us, we launched NOORA, our new corporate women’s network.
In July we welcomed our founding partners, Accenture, EGA, ENOC, TAQA and The Emirates Group.
We ran our first workshop for our first 50 members in September, and another for 70 members in November.
Members can expect at least four in-person workshops annually, as well as two signature face-to-face networking events, all alternating between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
We and our partner companies hope to inspire many more companies to follow suit in 2024, to accelerate the pipeline of women who lead with impact.
In November we also ran The Inclusion Summit for the first time, with 900+ attendees, 90+ speakers and 318 companies from more than 25 industries.
The summit focused on gender diversity, nationalisation, youth and People of Determination.

Officially Amazing™

We became Officially Amazing™ at the Summit! We’re so proud to say that 7,000+ change-makers signed our pledge for gender equality in the workplace, in collaboration with ADNOC.
This broke a Guinness World Records™ 24-hour campaign record and made us all world record-holders.
The Summit also saw the launch of the Challenger Programme, a partnership between EGA and Aurora50.
It brings together major industrial companies in the UAE that are traditionally male-dominated and that share the goal of promoting gender diversity.
So far, we’re proud to say EGA is joined by ADNOC, Ducab, Emirates Steel Arkan, Siemens, Strata, TechnipFMC and TAQA.

Fixing the bAIs

The Summit also showcased Fixing the bAIs. In this campaign, in partnership with MullenLowe MENA, we have set out to fix AI’s gender bias using AI itself.
We have created a vast image bank of women in various professions, to teach AI that women can be engineers, mathematicians, CEOs and more.
All of our images are royalty- and rights-free, and we encourage you to download and use them on the internet so AI can recognise diversity.
Fixing the BAIs has won a clutch of international awards – it won bronze at the Epica Awards, three golds, a silver and a bronze at the Cresta Awards and three silvers at the Gerety Awards.

RAK Roadshow

Aurora50's The Inclusion Summit 2023 - RAK roadshow
And to wrap up on the Summit, we mustn’t forget the Ras Al Khaimah Roadshow in June. We engaged with under-served communities across the UAE with a focus on.
Some 150 people from universities, the private and public sectors came together to discuss youth in the northern emirates, with a keynote speech from HE Mohamed Al Nuami, chair of the RAK Chamber of Commerce.

Other Aurora50 events

We ran a series of events this year for partners such as Bulgari, Du, InvestCorp and TAQA, around women in ICT, International Women’s Day, allyship and Mental Health Awareness Month.
We collaborated with TAQA for a #WomenInEnergy event at the World Utilities Congress and, most recently, ran a panel at COP28 on finance careers and sustainability. There have also been trips to Riyadh and to Bahrain for training and other initiatives around women in leadership.
We welcomed another cohort of Pathway20 – the region’s only board career accelerator dedicated solely to building the pipeline of highly competent female board directors and connecting them to boards of listed, large-scale private companies and high-growth scale-ups, supported by the UAE government.
We ran eight workshops through the year covering topics such as crisis management, executive coaching and corporate governance, with women from ADNOC, AD Ports Group, Al Hilal Bank, Americana, EGA, Emirates Nature – WWF, Masdar and Mubadala.
This year we also ran Gateway for the second time. This is a live, virtual programme for senior women executives in the GCC region so they can proactively map a route to their first board directorship.

A new website

In October we launched our shiny new website. While it’s still being developed (expect much more in 2024), we wanted to ensure it was streamlined, easy to use and accessible, right down to the fonts. We want to be as inclusive as we can across our business.
We also began to showcase our partners’ initiatives in diversity, equity and inclusion, publishing reports on ADNOC and EGA’s outstanding efforts.
In personal news, we lost a dear colleague on 14 February, Poonam Chablani. She brought an immense level of experience, calm and maturity to Aurora50 and she is still very much missed
On a happier note, we congratulate one of our youngest team members, Rachel Pereira, a former Aurora50 intern who graduated with a first in business & commerce from Amity University Dubai before throwing herself into a sterling job running logistics at our Summit.
Finally we were delighted to be officially recognised as a social enterprise in December by Ma’an, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Social Recognition in the first scheme to accredit social enterprises in the UAE.

What’s coming in 2024

So that was our busy 2023! It’s been wonderful to see the growing support for more women on boards and in leadership – and some unified national targets for these – in not just the UAE but Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
We look forward to joining Harvard Business School’s Club of the GCC for their Crossroads event in Riyadh in January.
We’re also looking forward to welcoming dozens, if not hundreds, more members to NOORA and ramping up for the next iteration of The Inclusion Summit – and another roadshow.