Guest Speaker: Ms. Maxima Fernandes

1.    From a business perspective, how would you describe the UAE market to aspiring women entrepreneurs looking to achieve success in their respective fields?

"The UAE offers a unique environment highly conducive to female entrepreneurship. Over the past few years, the government has made a concerted effort to encourage and promote women's entrepreneurship, recognizing its immense potential for driving economic growth and social progress. As a result, women are now making significant strides in their respective fields, starting successful businesses, and driving positive change in how they are perceived in society.

A critical factor that makes the UAE such a fertile ground for female entrepreneurship is the supportive ecosystem that has been put in place. The government has launched various initiatives, such as the Women's Empowerment Global Summit, which brings together women entrepreneurs worldwide to share their experiences and expertise in scaling their businesses. Additionally, several organizations, such as Dubai Women's Establishment and Sharjah Business Women Council, support and train women entrepreneurs to build their businesses and enhance their skill sets.

Furthermore, the UAE has strong policies to ensure women's equality and empowerment. The constitution guarantees equal rights for countrymen and women and affirms the importance of women's participation in all aspects of society; several viral laws and regulations aimed at eliminating gender discrimination in the workplace have been introduced in recent years.

The thriving economy of the UAE also offers a wealth of opportunities for women-led businesses. The country's strategic location, modern infrastructure, and diversified economy make it an ideal place for businesses to flourish. Moreover, the UAE government has taken several measures to reduce the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs, such as streamlining the registration and licensing process and offering tax incentives to startups.

In conclusion, there has never been a better time for women to start and grow their businesses in the UAE. A supportive ecosystem, firm policies, and a thriving economy make it an ideal place for female entrepreneurs to pursue their passion and achieve success while driving positive societal change."

2.    In your opinion, how do you believe your experience working with ECC has impacted your character and professional growth?

"I feel incredibly fortunate to have spent the last two decades working with ECC. Throughout my time with the organization, I have had the pleasure of working alongside a talented and inspiring group of individuals who have all contributed to making my time at ECC enjoyable and fulfilling. Although my job may appear easy to some onlookers, it can sometimes be challenging. However, I have learned to be patient, friendly, and professional, enabling me to fulfill my role to the best of my abilities. This has significantly contributed to my personal and professional growth over the years.

One of the most important lessons I have learned while working for ECC is the importance of adapting to change. The world around us is constantly evolving, and to remain competitive and successful, we must be able to respond and adapt quickly. I have witnessed this first-hand at ECC, where we have had to pivot and adjust our approach to meet our client's changing needs and expectations.

Working at ECC has taught me to handle challenging situations resiliently and gracefully. In any organization, there is bound to be high pressure and difficulty, but how we respond to these situations ultimately defines our success. I have learned to remain calm under pressure, communicate effectively with my colleagues and stakeholders, and think creatively to solve complex problems.

Finally, working with ECC has enabled me to develop a sense of pride in my work and the organization. I am inspired by the dedication of my colleagues and driven by the desire to contribute to the continued success of ECC. The sense of camaraderie and shared purpose within the organization is unique and has played a significant role in my personal and professional development.

I am immensely grateful for the last 20 years I spent with ECC. The experience has been invaluable in my personal and professional growth, and I look forward to contributing to the organization's success for many years."

3.    As a successful woman within the group, what advice would you offer to other female colleagues to help them elevate their level of dedication and commitment to their respective roles?

"One of the keys to achieving professional success is developing a set of character traits that enable you to tackle challenges with confidence and resilience. Regardless of your industry or specific role, cultivating your characteristics can be a game-changer for success and satisfaction in your career.

The first and foremost trait that is vital for professional success is confidence. Believe in yourself and your abilities. When you approach your work with a sense of self-assuredness and determination, it is more likely that you will achieve your goals. While it is natural to feel a sense of self-doubt at times, it is essential to consciously overcome these feelings and believe that anything is possible with the right mindset and approach.

In addition to confidence, adopting a growth mindset that focuses on learning and improvement is essential. Instead of seeing failures or setbacks as obstacles or roadblocks, learn from these experiences and use them as stepping stones to move forward. Every challenge you face is an opportunity to learn and grow, and the more you embrace these moments, the more confident and resilient you become.

Identifying your strengths and utilizing them in your work is also crucial. When you are working from a place of power, you will find it easier to get motivated, stay engaged, and produce high quality work. Take the time to assess your skills and attributes personally and then find ways to leverage them in your role. This approach can help you feel more confident and empowered and contribute to your professional success. Finally, remember to care for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Schedule time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation."