Complex Made Simple

The Diversity Council expands into the MENA region

The Diversity Council is an inclusion accelerator bringing together leading companies in a cross-industry alliance to empower women in the corporate sphere.

"The Diversity Council MENA is a positive step toward ensuring that boardrooms and executive suites are places of equal opportunity" The inaugural meeting will showcase the importance of cross-industry initiatives, and will share knowhow on achieving inclusion The Diversity Council MENA unites businesses from around the region who wish to champion the diversity agenda

The Diversity Council, an inclusion and diversity accelerator bringing together major leading companies in a cross-industry alliance, is expanding into the MENA region. Owned by the Nordic strategic consultancy Above & Beyond Group, the Diversity Council will enter the region in partnership with Mediaquest. Senior representatives of the Above & Beyond Group will be flying in from Denmark for the first HR Meeting followed by a Press Reception at The Diversity Council MENA launch, which will be hosted on July 3, 2019 in Dubai.  The founding partners and media partners are embarking on a journey of cross-industry collaboration and best-practice sharing. The Danish ambassadors of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE will also be present at the launch with other regional officials and distinguished guests. 

The Diversity Council was established in 2016 by the Above & Beyond Group in Copenhagen and has a strong presence in the Nordics. The Nordic council is comprised of 16 renowned companies including McKinsey & Co. Denmark, PwC Denmark, Maersk Line, Maersk Tankers, Microsoft Denmark & Iceland, and the Danish Foreign Ministry, who have committed to the alliance. The diversity strategy developed by the Above & Beyond Group pinpoints the key tools needed to accelerate female empowerment in the corporate sphere across continents. Developing talent and increasing the number of female leaders in organizations requires time, focus and the commitment of a strategic alliance – and that’s where The Diversity Council comes in. In this unique format, knowledge can be shared and new solutions developed in three core focus areas: pipeline development, inclusive leadership and the future workplace.

“With the Saudi Vision 2030 and the UAE Vision 2021 reshaping the economic and business landscape in the region, governments and corporations are tackling ‘diversity in workplace’ with renewed energy. The presence of The Diversity Council MENA is a positive step toward ensuring that our boardrooms and executive suites are places of equal opportunity, and that we have a secure pipeline of high potential future female leaders. We look forward to working closely with the Above & Beyond Group to deliver The Diversity Council MENA and the Advanced Leadership Program for Women to champion the diversity agenda, empower the leaders of tomorrow, and optimize the businesses of the future," said Alexandre Hawari, CEO of Mediaquest. 

Tine Arentsen Willumsen, Owner and CEO of the Above & Beyond Group

“We are thrilled to be establishing The Diversity Council MENA and continuing the expansion of The Diversity Council internationally. With companies across the world recognizing the business imperative of addressing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal number 5, Gender Equality, we are delighted to see the continued commitment of our large partner companies, as they take the lead in turning conversation into action. The inaugural meeting will showcase how to accelerate advancements with cross-industry initiatives, and we will begin the process of sharing knowhow on achieving inclusion, with companies committed to leading this important agenda," said Tine Arentsen Willumsen, Owner and CEO of the Above & Beyond Group.

The Diversity Council MENA unites businesses from around the region who wish to champion the diversity agenda and find efficient joint solutions. The cultural transformation empowered by The Diversity Council is rooted at the very top, with the vision of the CEO and the Head of HR. Members meet at the CEO level twice a year, and at the HR level in two annual workshops, to jointly discuss their challenges, share initiatives, and look for synergies to help their female talents progress. The council also strengthens the female leadership pipeline in the Middle East through the Advanced Leadership Program for Women, which will be held in the UAE in early 2020.

“The Advanced Leadership Program for Women, facilitated by Headspring Executive Development, is based on our proven concept in the Nordics, and supported by professors from London Business School, INSEAD, IE Business School in Madrid and the University of Cambridge. Additionally, leadership experts from McKinsey & Co., and senior business journalists from The Financial Times, will also run courses. We look forward to bringing the world-class program to high potential female leaders in the MENA region, equipping them to fulfill their potential. All female executive talents will be allocated influential cross-industry mentors and supported through intake, development and focused retainment strategies. Female talents will also be made more visible within the firm through leadership courses. The time is right and the related growth potential for the region is enormous,” Tine Arentsen Willumsen concludes.