(MENAFN - Arab News) The opportunities available to the Kingdom's female population were highlighted on Monday at the second day of the annual women leadership forum under way in Riyadh.
Princess Adela bint Abdullah opened the forum on Sunday.
"I'm pleased to be part of this 2nd annual Women in Leadership Forum that is focusing on the role of leading women in the social and economic world, and is sharing the successful experiences of leading and hardworking women who are still striving to develop in the community," Princess Adela said in her inaugural address.
The two-day forum, organized by French business information group naseba, is hosting over 300 members of royalty, key industry figures, and senior representatives from leading organizations to discuss women's advancement.
Creator of the Women in Leadership series and CEO of naseba Sophie Le Ray said: "We are honored to have Her Royal Highness Princess Adela bint Abdullah bin Adbulaziz Al Saud open this year's forum. This collaboration is the result of a shared vision of the role successful women have in the Kingdom. Her Royal Highness' vision of presenting Saudi Arabia as a multicultural and progressive country through the expansion of education and entrepreneurship is in perfect alignment with the Women in Leadership Forum."
Many women leaders, including Princess Haila bint Abdulrahman Al-Farhan, stressed the true definition of accomplishment on the second day of the conference.
One discussion of note was led by Nora Faisal Al-Shaaban, president of Ebdaa Exchange Co., in which she explained that in order to ensure the success of human resources, Saudi women need to focus on three points, detailing that: "Work environment, training and development, and self-discovery" are all important.
She continued by stating: "The foundations of the economic empowerment of women are to first build awareness among women, second to focus on rehabilitation, training and capacity building, and third to build a knowledge base."
Another topic discussed at length was expanding a business into GCC countries. When asked about the right practices to employ, Noor Iskandarani, head of Strategic Planning at Dhahran Global, said: "Setting of visions, objectives and planning for the future will give you the ability to know how to achieve these objectives and to implement these plans. Women need to engage their will power and consider the time frame in order to be able to evaluate their progress."
She concluded by explaining: "It's a trial and error process, you learn from experience."
Nashwa Taher, executive director of Al-Taher Group, focused on the benefit of being a businesswoman. "As a lady, I can deal with everyone and travel around and check up on different branches. I have no restrictions that are holding me back."
She shared her story about how she opened a restaurant in Jeddah and how it became the "best restaurant in the Middle East." And she is not stopping there, as she continued by explaining: "I planned and formed strategic goals to achieve my objectives. I want to expand outside Jeddah, go across the Kingdom, and then one day reach (other) GCC countries."
Day one of the forum witnessed inspirational leaders transforming the conference hall into a ballroom for dreams and aspirations, with all attendees left inspired and motivated to take action and start focusing on their potential and capabilities.
One of the most motivating speeches was given by Princess Noura bint Mohammed, who highlighted the effect of leadership in charity work.
"We need to recommend colleges and universities to graduate more leading women in society, to encourage women at a young age to engage in more charity work, to believe in the value of work and its importance, and to know that the future of women doing charity work doesn't depend on instinct nor improvisation," she said.
"Instead it depends on specialization, sustainability and planning, and finally to encourage the establishment of women organizations that train leading women."
Janice L Semper, manager executive development at General Electric, outlined how GE is supporting Saudi women's development in the region, and how they are developing a successful model: "GE looks at every employee as a leader. Developing leaders is part of our culture - we tell people what's expected, tell them how to get there, and hold them accountable" she explained.
Day one drew to a close with group discussions that included areas such as steps to the best leadership style, government entrepreneurial initiatives to support Saudi businesswomen, overcoming challenges facing women in business, and institutional mechanisms.