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Hanaa Hasan Taha: Inspiring inclusion and celebrating achievements

International Women’s Day (IWD), observed annually on March 8, is a global celebration of women’s achievements and a call to action for gender equality. It serves as a powerful reminder of the progress made and the work that remains to be done.

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International Women’s Day (IWD), observed annually on March 8, is a global celebration of women’s achievements and a call to action for gender equality. It serves as a powerful reminder of the progress made and the work that remains to be done.

The Times Kuwait features five women from Kuwait published in KPMG Kuwait’s report Global Female Leaders Outlook 2023–24. These Female Leaders who are Shaping Resilience in a Polycrisis share their amazing stories of challenges and success.

The report finds that despite shouldering increased responsibilities, Global Female Leaders remained optimistic about corporate expansion, societal progress, gender parity, and their own professional aspirations. This resilience in the face of a volatile economic and social backdrop sends a positive message.

The opinions and insights of the Global Female Leaders presented in the report reflected their confidence in future prospects and the importance of equality in ongoing transformation endeavors and emphasize that diversity is not just a buzzword that companies are trying to catch on.

The KPMG report also underlines that despite advancements in promoting diversity, inclusion, and legal structures, considerable hurdles remain. Numerous women still encounter bias, often switch jobs to progress in their careers, are underrepresented in leadership roles, and navigate male-centric networks within organizations.

Overcoming these hurdles is crucial to unleashing the complete potential of equal participation. The report illuminates evolving trends that Global Female Leaders are driving within their companies. They are adjusting digitalization strategies, with a greater focus on employee development rather than technology investments, and they are strengthening cybersecurity measures.

This ability to respond to external changes through internal adjustments indicates a promising enhancement of organizational resilience. Global Female Leaders underline that certain personal qualities are gaining prominence, particularly adaptability and foresight.

The fast-paced advancement of technology, evolving stakeholder demands, compliance requirements, and market disruptions, such as those triggered by geopolitical factors, emphasize the importance of quick response and operational flexibility, while keeping strategic, long-term objectives in mind.

These qualities resonate strongly with the Global Female Leaders KPMG spoke to, enabling them to proactively assume leadership roles despite the complexities of the current polycrisis.

KPMG Kuwait hopes that the Global Female Leaders Outlook 2023–24 will offer fresh perspectives and help foster a deeper recognition of the female leaders’ ability to navigate challenges with resilience and agility.

Hanaa Hasan Taha,

Managing Director,
Chief Financial Officer, Kamco Invest

What strategies or practices are you employing to foster resilience within your team or organization during challenging times? How has it changed compared to when you started?

One of our biggest areas of focus is teamwork. We give each team member the opportunity to express their opinions. I feel, listening to their concerns and everything else they have to say empowers and encourages them to collaborate better to find solutions for our challenges and help achieve our organizational goals.

We also ensure that our goals and targets are clearly communicated to each team member and see to it that they are aware of their roles and informed of the challenges they may face. We believe having a clear vision and strategy is critical to achieving success, and recognizing our team members’ achievements, increasing their accountability, granting them the authority, and providing them with timely feedback only makes things better.

During the COVID-19 crisis, we emphasized remote working, supported our team members emotionally and even helped address their health concerns. Incorporating flexible work hours also helped, allowing our team members to deliver in time even during crises situations.

One of the biggest changes that I see now compared to when I started is flexibility. I am more flexible with my team; not only do I empower them but also ensure that I delegate important tasks to them.

What difference are you seeing in women taking up finance or related fields as their first career choice in comparison to when you started?

There is a stark increase in the number of women who are choosing to pursue finance, or its related fields, as their first career. This rise can be credited to the various initiatives that are aimed at empowering women in the sector. The gender parity is also evident in many organizations — all of which is encouraging young women to become finance professionals and succeed at it.

What is your advice to new and existing female leaders who are finding it challenging to tackle long workdays, maintain work-life balance and deal with more such scenarios?

Female leaders should learn how they can delegate some of their responsibilities and identify top priorities at work and in their personal life better. This will help reduce their workload and maintain adequate work-life balance. In addition, female leaders should explain the nature and demands of their work to their family members to gain their extended support.

It goes without saying that they need to manage their time effectively to accommodate hobbies and wellness-related activities and have the flexibility for any unprecedented events. Lastly, they should maintain a women-only network where they have the access to other female leaders for times when they may require their support.

What advice would you give to women who want to advance from a middle-management role to being in a female leader’s position?

For women seeking to grow and climb the success ladder in their career, it is essential that they not only develop leadership skills but also embed a sense of responsibility and continuous learning in their approach.

They need to work hard, know their strengths and weaknesses, participate in decision-making committees, take up more challenges to gain necessary experience, and focus on expanding their network so they can keep building on their knowledge and skills.
While it is important to do all of the above, it is crucial they remember to celebrate their achievements and successes too.

What steps is KAMCO taking to foster the culture of gender equality? Please share a few examples.

We are proud to have become members of the women’s empowerment movement in Kuwait, a subject that we hold dearly close to our individual and corporate values at Kamco Invest. Committing to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) falls in line with our corporate culture and our strong belief in providing every individual the equal opportunity to excel within our organization, regardless of their gender.

Kamco Invest participated in the “Driving Women’s Empowerment Forward: Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and the Role of Business to Accelerate Equality in the Workplace” event which showcased Kuwait’s developments around women empowerment and welcomed new members into the initiative.

Additionally, the Kamco Board includes two women: Sheikha Dana Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Board Director, and Entisar Abdul Raheem Al-Suwaidi, Board Director. Our Executive Management also comprises two women, Nawal Mulla Hussain, Managing Director of Support Operations, and I, Hanaa Hasan Taha, Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer.

Ms. Hanaa Hasan Taha is the Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer, at Kamco Invest. She has 29 years of experience in finance, accounting, business analysis, budgeting and strategic planning, due diligence, and funds and portfolio accounting. Ms. Hanaa joined Kamco Invest in 2019 as Director of Financial Planning & Control and Accounting Operations, following the merger of Global Investment House and Kamco Invest, where she played a vital role to facilitate the merger transaction.
Prior to this, she was the Senior Vice President, Head of Finance and Treasury Department at Global Investment House, and worked at the Kuwait Financial Center before that. She has a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from Ain Shams University (Cairo, Egypt) and has served as a Board Member and Chairperson across multiple coveted regional asset management, investment banking and brokerage companies.

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