Fighting for equality: Souad’s story

Souad grew up with inspiring family members who shaped who she is today. As a champion for women in business, she shares what she has learnt in her career

Souad Benkredda, Managing Director, Head of Financial Markets

UAE

I was honoured recently to be recognised as one of the Financial Times’ top 100 global female champions in business. This was a wonderful recognition, not just of the work done in my team, but also the commitment we have to ensuring we support top female talent and create a fair, meritocracy based work environment for everybody. We do this by listening to colleagues through panel discussions, small group workshops and individual feedback sessions and then commit to taking concrete actions on what is and isn’t working.

Gender equality has always been important to me. I’ve been brought up to stand up for what I think is right and not to compromise on my values. My biggest source of inspiration is my parents, especially my father, who was a very brave man. He inspired our family to do the right thing and to positively influence others instead of only doing what benefits you individually.

“Gender equality has always been important to me. I’ve been brought up to stand up for what I think it right”

Another big source of inspiration is my brother. He encourages me to challenge the status quo and to think big, always while maintaining ethical standards. Without him I would not be the person who I am today. He inspires my leadership style, which is to remain authentic and to have confidence in myself. I visualise the tasks ahead of me and set about achieving them, motivating others along the way. I try to help others achieve their tasks regardless of the team they work in as it makes me feel that I had a positive impact.

I was recently asked what advice I’d give other women in our organisation. To them I would say: be authentic, focus on your competencies and if you think that your career is not progressing, there are always mentors and leaders in the organisation who are willing to advise you. Don’t give up if you like what you’re doing. However, it is also important to seek honest feedback and use it to improve. Each of us thinks differently and we should view this as a great opportunity to learn from each other, whether we agree or not. It’s always good to see things from another perspective.

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