An interview with Zeina Akkawi, PR and Marketing specialist, Speaker and Mentor.
Zeina is the Founder of PAZ Marketing Management and The PlayPreneurs Club. Zeina is the woman behind all the .com’s launches (Sukar.com, Fetcher.com,Souq.com, Sellanycar.com, Sellanyhome.com, hajjnet.com, goldenscent.com, and many more.)
Owner of #HashtagYourPotential Workshops, and a member of Dubai Business Women Council, she has 19 years of experience working with tourism government bodies luxury.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day last March 8, AMEinfo solicited her thoughts on the subject with the following Q&A.
1- How crucial is gender diversity in the workplace? How much of gender diversity is there in organizations in the GCC region?
Personally, I think it’s one of the important factors nowadays because it portrays equality between both men and women in the workplace and provides easier access to resources. It is clear to say that we all deserve to work in an environment that’s free from these issues, especially for women.
A lot of companies in the GCC say that diversity is a priority in their workplace and as we see, women nowadays are well represented in management roles. Yet I still think that it differs between the public and private sectors in our regions and requires more time to see the main changes happen.
2- What is your take on the evolution of women in the workplace and the growing role of women in positions of authority and leadership?
Women are always known that they can multitask in any situation and this is what makes them different from men. I’m not a feminist, neither do I feel that women can be equal to men or vice versa in certain areas, but a lot of stats indicates that companies with higher numbers of females in the workplace, be it a normal employee, female board members or any executive jobs; these women perform better financially. There has also been a rise in numbers resulting in women entering a much broader range of occupations and industries; which became a threat to many men in the workplace.
For the past years we had seen a significant impact on the economic empowerment of women, as independent purchasers, but perhaps even more importantly, there has been a sea of change in their wider contribution to macro value creation indices.
3- How are the leadership styles of men and women different?
I would say men love to display strength to be respected, in addition to needing to be in certain powerful management positions to showcase their manhood. Women need to show strength but also sensitivity in similar situations. Leadership styles do actually defer between sexes, personalities and characters, as to how a person can manage things, but the ideas is to set high expectations and help the members of their teams stay competent.
4- How do women tackle a crisis at the workplace? What is their style of functioning?
A crisis helps at all times understand what it can bring to the table; meaning it can either bring the best or the worst in people. Many can rise to the occasion or get crushed by it if it is not managed right. Women usually are communicators; so the way I see them handling any crisis is by communicating with others and seeking opinions before taking decisions. Some can be very reactive and some can be very wise. It really depends again on the profession, experience, character and judgement towards the situations.
5- When it comes to emotional intelligence, how do women perform?
Women in general are emotional in nature. People usually say that women have the natural ability to be emotionally intelligent and men not as much, since women have got both rational and emotional sides. Additionally, women in powerful positions rank highest in emotional intelligence.
Aggressive women will develop the skills necessary to move into the executive positions depending upon their leadership ability to leverage a variety of skills and approaches in order to grow their business; and some women don’t have this. Some can be in control yet they their emotions vs men shows in everything that they do; so the cases are very debatable.