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Press release: Aurora50 convenes high-level steering committee with leading government and private-sector organisations to driving board-level gender balance

Editor 23 November 2020
23 November 2020; Abu Dhabi: Senior representatives of several leading organisations have agreed to collaborate with Aurora50 to shape and advance board-level gender balance, thus demonstrating the highest level of commitment towards this agenda.
As part of a first-of-its-kind Steering Committee, these individuals, comprising executive and independent board directors, will assist with defining and structuring high-level conversations around increasing diversity on UAE boards, thus supporting Aurora50’s existing work in this area.
Additionally, these industry leaders will provide high-level oversight and pragmatic support to Aurora50’s Pathway20 initiative, utilising their combined breadth and depth of experience across various board roles to ensure that the development programme includes content that is relevant to future board directors, in line with global and regional trends.
The Steering Committee will be chaired by Aurora50 co-founder, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan. Committee members include representatives of Pathway20 initiative partners who are already pioneers in advocating for gender diversity, such as H.E. Dr. Obaid Saif Al Zaabi, CEO of Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA); Fatema Al Nuaimi, CEO of ADNOC LNG and Ahmed Al Mazrouei, Senior Advisor at Mubadala Investment Company.
Bringing in an additional dimension will be two independent directors, Mustafa Khariba and Sangeeta Desai, whose considerable regional and international experience will be invaluable as Aurora50 works towards the development of an independent board directors’ pipeline.
Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Co-Founder of Aurora50, stated: “Achieving gender balance, particularly at the board-level, requires collaboration and cooperation amongst all stakeholders. Pathway20 was established as a means to create pathways for merit-based opportunities with the support of a cohesive ecosystem that incorporates the principles of diversity and inclusion. We are proud to be working with our esteemed partners on driving this agenda forward.’’
By joining the Aurora50 Steering Committee, members have agreed to share their expertise and insights with regard to any current or future announced legislations and provide guidance towards any future implications on business and beyond.
Fatema Al Nuaimi, CEO, ADNOC LNG and Chair of the ADNOC Gender Balance Committee stated: “As Anchor Partner, we are very proud in how Pathway20 is fostering and developing talent, and providing a pipeline of female leaders for ADNOC and our nation. We recognise the great value and benefit of gender balance at the workplace, and we are proud to have 22 females in positions across 15 ADNOC boards.”
At its inaugural virtual meeting, members collectively reviewed the structure and content of the annual Pathway20 development programme, providing insights to enhance content using real-life case studies.
In particular, it was emphasised to further enhance the uniqueness of the Pathway20 programme by including content that prepares future directors for dynamic boardrooms, such as the skills and mindset required in order to mitigate and respond to contingencies and crises as evidenced by the global pandemic.
Ahmed Al Mazrouei, Senior Adviser, Mubadala Investment Company, added: “This initiative reflects Mubadala’s continuous efforts to positively impact our community by striving to ensure gender equality. The Pathway20 initiative is a critical one for the UAE as it highlights the importance of representation and inclusivity, and brings a range of stakeholders together to collaborate on solutions for a more sustainable future.
“With only 3.52% of board seats held by women in the UAE, the challenge to reach the 20% target set by the regulator, the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority and the Gender Balance Council cannot be under-estimated. Our steering committee members are committed to supporting the development of a female talent pipeline of directors. The competitive edge of a gender-balanced board can translate into billions of dollars of value-add”, highlighted, Diana Wilde, Co-Founder of Aurora50.
Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan concluded: “Our partners have demonstrated unparalleled commitment towards enabling a positive shift towards gender-balanced boards through their participation in the Pathway20 initiative and the Steering Committee. We hope that this will set a precedent and pave the way for other companies to accelerate their efforts in supporting the development of female talent.’’