Maryam AL Kaabi is the Chief Administration & Personnel Officer at North Oil Company
Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how you’ve made it to your current leadership position within a traditionally male-dominated sector?
Even though one might think that a male -dominated sector is less attractive and supportive to women, I have found our sector to be very respectful and supportive to women at all levels. It has the maturity and experience to attract women to many career paths.
Over time we have learned more about our sector and embraced what works and what doesn’t. I had male mentors and role models that supported me during my career to reach my current position, and I am grateful to each of them. I would also like to add that the most enduring change begins within.
Sectors like ours are very dynamic and therefore, we need to continually work on the only element we have complete control over, which is ourselves. We must start by owning more of who we are, and what we have to offer. When we do so, we reclaim our own power and learn to thrive in any sector
Do you think the pandemic has affected career opportunities for females? If yes, how?
A global survey found that nearly seven out of 10 women who experienced negative shifts in their routine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, believe their career progression will slow down. While this is true on a global landscape, we can also see some positive outcomes. The pandemic has helped young mothers to become physically present to their children and care for their families. The virtual scenario, I believe, also enables our employees to see their colleagues as human beings with competing priorities, offering them the opportunity to become more flexible and understanding as work and personal lives overlap. This may extend to being more tolerant of a missed deadline or more understanding of an unconventional work schedule, something we can all learn from this ‘new normal’. Women who are known for their multitasking gifts can now leverage the potential that hybrid working has to offer.
How do you promote gender diversity and equality in your organization?
In NOC, we have initiated a Women in North Oil (WIN) network that creates platforms and avenues to address, discuss and look for solutions to promote the organization’s vision of a more diverse and inclusive work environment. We take gender balance seriously and believe in creating open spaces for engagement and dialogue where common goals of equality are fostered.
What do you think needs to change for the energy sector to attract more female leaders?
I believe we are on the right track. It will take time, but we are certainly getting there.
Do you think the recovery from COVID-19 will happen in the next 1-2 years or will it take longer?
The timeline of the recovery from Covid-19 lies on the competing speed of the vaccination in all countries of the world, not only the most developed ones, versus the emergence of new variants – of which we see the impact even here in Qatar. It is therefore difficult to define an end date to the pandemic. It seems more likely that we will have to learn to leave with it, like we are doing now with the seasonal flu.