Qatar women keen on promoting leadership development networking group

July 18, 2011

A networking group for Qatari and expatriate professional women is planning to formalise in order to ensure its continuity, its founder has said.

The Qatar Professional Women’s Network (QPWN), formed in February 2010, aims to help its members “enrich their network and refine their professional capabilities.”

“We want to formalise the QPWN, so that it can be sustainable. We want to continue offering more and more interesting events to help women develop themselves as leaders and contribute to the success of Qatar,” Christina Zini said.

The idea of forming the networking community was to fill in a perceived void.

“When I came to Qatar in 2009, the only professional women’s network group around was the Qatari Businesswomen Association, which is focused primarily on Qatari women who own businesses,” Christina said.

“So I decided to form QPWN to fill the void in the community and establish a network for women cutting across nationalities, age groups, backgrounds and professions, among others,” she told Qatar Tribune.

Christina, who worked as a professional development leader at the International Business Machines (IBM) for nearly 14 years, said the QPWN was formed with an objective completely different from other existing women groups in the country.

“We have an open approach to membership because we are an informal organisation. So, there is no membership form and no membership fee. An individual can become a member by joining the group’s mailing list, or by joining our Facebook page or LinkedIn community. This is the way in which we keep in touch with our members and other community groups that follow us,” she said.

The group has expanded both its community reach and the role it plays for many women in Qatar. The QPWN functions through its volunteers.

“Eighteen women make up the QPWN’s core planning team. We take care of all outreach and publicity efforts to increase our membership, promote events and attract more women to the group. There is also the events team which is focused on planning and coordinating the events and then another team which is focusing on developing the mentoring programme,” she said.

From 45 women that showed up at the first meeting in May 2010, the group has now over 100 women regularly attending the monthly networking events, about 1,000 members in its mailing list and over 1,500 Facebook followers.

The QPWN members meet every fourth Monday of the month at different locations in Doha. The after-work networking event usually takes place from 6pm to 8pm.

The meetings are informal, and occasionally involve a speaker or a networking game.

In addition to the monthly informal networking events, the QPWN also organises other events, such as panel discussions and workshops to help women find work and develop their professional skills.

Through this group, a number of women have found jobs and others have established new business connections.

“We had a workshop for jobseekers. So we partnered with a recruitment agency. The event included teaching women a proper way of packaging their CV for searching a job that matches their qualifications and interests,” Christina said, quoted by the daily.

However, she says that their most notable event so far was the Dream BIG!, the launch event organised at the Four Seasons in December 2010 with some of the most accomplished women in Doha as guests and speakers.

“This upscale event launched the QPWN to the local community and established us as a group of professional women who have big dreams for their individual future and the future of Qatar. Our impressive roster of speakers included Vice-Chairwoman of Qatari Businesswomen Association Aisha Alfardan, Dr Amal al Malki of Carnegie Melon University-Qatar and Executive Director of Doha Film Institute Amanda Palmer.

“Having these inspirational women leaders to our event reflects my personal mantra and dream for the QPWN, which is first and foremost to inspire other women to live their dreams.”

Recently, the group held events which included an Arabian Market Networking event on June 15, personal empowerment and success workshops billed ‘Awaken the Leader Within’ held on June 22 and a monthly networking event on June 27.

Future plans for the group include launching a ‘mentoring ring’ called ‘Circle of Pearls’, in September or October.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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