Breaking Barriers conference explores diversity and inclusion in workplace

By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: On the second day of National Leadership Institute (NLI) conference, titled “Breaking Barriers”, diversity and women in leadership were topics of discussion. The conference, which was sponsored by Kuwait Times and Zain, took place in Grand Hyatt hotel on Tuesday, Oct 10, 2023. Experts with extensive experience working with top organizations worldwide such as Sara Sabry, the first Egyptian astronaut and the first Arab woman from the African continent to go to space, and Jo Malone, the founder of Jo Malone London, were invited to give a speech on diversity, women in leadership and inclusion in the workplace.

Sabry spoke about using life’s obstacles as fuel as she shared with the audience her journey and determination to become an astronaut despite the obstacles and negative comments. Whereas Malone spoke about the art of entrepreneurship and the means to success by emphasizing on creativity and how she intends to change the way the world wears fragrance. The conference also included workshops and a panel discussion that was moderated by certified trainer and business coach Besma Al-Qassar.

At the event, Kuwait Times spoke to Imtiaz Murshed, the acting CEO of NEST, a Kuwaiti national company for educational services and training. “Our core mandate is to transfer knowledge into Kuwait. We have to work across the full value chain of education, and this is why we are developing the new company, NEST. We called it NEST to set the right foundation and base. Our plan is to develop a school, a special needs school, vocational training centers, and we are working on academies — a digital academy as well as an aviation academy.

We are looking forward to developing a national aviation center,” Murshed said. He added that NEST is working on establishing a university. “We have already got an application with the private university council, which we are hoping to get approved and finalized soon,” Murshed said. NEST’s long-term vision, he said, is the “full-value chain and of course the final bit of our chain is NLI, which is all about executive development and continuous learning.” Murshed explained the value of continuous learning: “Even someone who is just coming into a new company, they need skills to become a contributing part within the organization.

We also believe that continuous learning is the most important thing about any organization or individual development. Hence, throughout the journey of their career there always have to be additional new skills.” Murshed also spoke about NEST’s programs for companies. “Next year we are calling it 24 for 24 — based on 24 programs that we deliver over the year of 2024, and these include: soft skills, mentoring, coaching, wellness, managing and leadership. Because someone might have great technical skills but cannot be a great leader.

And sometimes a great leader might have no technical skills. So, this is where want to be. (We hope) to give the people with technical talents the tools that help them become a better person and a batter manager, and hopefully a better innovator within their position. This is where diversity and inclusion are most important,” he said. Based on a survey NEST did with the top companies in Kuwait last year, diversity, inclusion and digital transformation were the core values that organizations struggled with, said Murshed. “Hence why NLI is breaking barriers to help organizations move forward.

The conference was the first step to promote our programs for next year. To give every company the opportunity to choose what program is relevant to their needs. We work as a partner not as supplier, and this is why we are becoming a core value for their organization because their success is our success,” he added. Zain Kuwait’s Chief Corporate Communications and Relations Officer Waleed Al-Khashti told Kuwait Times: “We are happy to announce our role as the primary sponsor for the esteemed NLI conference.

As Zain, we take pride in continuously pushing boundaries and breaking limitations and that is what this conference’s title “Breaking Barriers” is all about. This marks another year of collaboration with the NLI team, who share our commitment to driving digitization, empowering women, promoting diversity, and fostering inclusion,” he said. Khashti added that the partnership “perfectly aligns” with Zain’s overarching strategy and direction. “Today, we are fortunate to witness such speakers sharing their success stories, thus enriching our collective experience. We extend our best wishes to all participants for a fruitful and rewarding conference,” he said.

The post Breaking Barriers conference explores diversity and inclusion in workplace appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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