Dubai, UAE; April 12, 2012: GE (NYSE: GE) is highlighting the importance of mentoring to drive women's empowerment at the workplace through its support to the MENA Businesswomen's Network Forum 2012 being organized in Dubai, under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister for Foreign Trade. GE is the Silver Sponsor of the event, on April 12 and 13, attended by over 350 businesswomen.
The objective of the forum is to strengthen the position and increase the reach of businesswomen in the Middle East and North Africa region -- a key market of GE, where the company has over 80 years of heritage - by expanding their networks, improving their skills and learning new ones.
Nabil Habayeb, GE's President & Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, said: "Workplaces with diverse teams function more effectively. When men and women bring their individual strengths to the table, the entire performance of the company is enhanced. Empowering women to realize their true potential is the most effective pathway for regional transformation, and in this strengthening the participation of women in both private and public sector roles is important. Our objective is to create a robust pipeline of women leaders, a goal we are driving through our HR Diversity initiatives and Women's Network."
Addressing the MENA Businesswomen's Network Forum at a session on 'Transforming a Region Through Mentoring,' Joe Chalouhi, HR Director of GE Energy, underlined the path-breaking role that the company's Women's Network, established in 1997, plays in encouraging group mentoring through 'My Connections' program -- GE's uniquely structured group mentoring model. The session was moderated by Nina Easton, Senior Editor and Co-chair, Most Powerful Women Summit, Fortune USA.
Chalouhi said: "Mentoring is part of our organizational DNA and we have taken it further through the Women's Network, which has a strong operational base in the MENAT region. Mentorship is most effective when it becomes a natural process -- most leaders have mentors who provided them the right guidance throughout their career. While mentoring is one of the approaches for women's development in GE, we support their participation and career progression through a number of approaches including the Women in Leadership program which entails improved competitive work practices, engaging middle managers, training programs as well as executive sponsors and mentoring."
Chalouhi said that GE's Women in Leadership program looks at the top performers in a managerial role and defines for them mentors. They are then given six-month long assignments and external coaches aimed at enhancing their soft skills and 'brand'. This, in turn, helps in attaining measurable steps of progress achieved through mentoring.
GE's Women's Network in the MENAT is all about growth and brings together more than 500 women working at GE to cultivate their leadership skills, business practices, personal contacts and career opportunities. Mentoring is one of the key functions of the Women's Network in addition to sharing experiences, best practices and knowledge of successful women role models.
Earlier this year, GE received an award from 'Great Place to Work' in the UAE as being a top employer for 'Emiratis' and 'Women' following an extensive survey conducted among the company's employees. GE was also ranked among the world's top 25 most inventive companies by 'Business Week,' and in the top 50 most innovative companies ranking by 'Fast Company.'
GE is integrally involved in driving the economic growth dynamics of the MENA region. Over the past decades, GE has not only established a solid presence through its regional headquarters in Dubai, but also has a wide geographic base with 17 ground facilities in eight countries. The company has also invested US$200 million in Middle East localization initiatives in the past 24 months.
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