DUBAI // Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi has added another award to her collection after becoming Emirates Woman of the Year on Tuesday night.
Mrs Alvero-Al Mahdi won in the Visionaries category that recognises women who “have challenged the norm and became trailblazers in their chosen field”.
“I was given a standing ovation during my acceptance speech,” said Mrs Alvero-Al Mahdi. “I really didn’t expect I would win the award.
“But I believe it will motivate me to get involved in other charity work and achieve more goals. I’ve become a role model and I don’t want to let them down.”
She was also named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the World, and will accept that award in California on October 26.
She won in the innovators and thought leaders category of the award, which is given by the Filipina Women’s Network in the US.
A chemical engineer by profession, Mrs Alvero-Al Mahdi, 43, began working as a quality-control inspector at a textile factory in Dubai in 1992.
She eventually rose to chief executive at Geoscience Testing Laboratory, where she manages 450 engineers, technicians, microbiologists and consultants from the Middle East and Asia.
Her husband, Mohammed Al Mahdi, 47, accompanied her to the gala awards ceremony in Dubai.
“She deserves more than what she has achieved after going through so many challenges in her life in the past 20 years,” said Mr Al Mahdi.
Arlene Pullido, a learning and development manager in Dubai, said on Wednesday: “Their two children, Noor and Humaid, were with me when she received the award last night.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my friend and the work she’s been doing.”
Ms Pullido first met Mrs Alvero-Al Mahdi in 2004. Both were volunteers with the non-profit Filipino Computer Club, which offers free computer training.
“I look up to her as a leader with good values and sound decision-making skills,” she said.
“As one of her best friends, she has never made me feel that she’s achieved so much in terms of wealth and status, and being a recipient of so many local and international awards.”
In 2008, Mrs Alvero-Al Mahdi was runner-up in the professional category at the Emirates Businesswoman awards.
A year later, she was honoured as one of the Women of Substance by Illustrado magazine in Dubai.
The same year she won the Bagong Bayani (New Heroes) Award for most outstanding employee and the Blas F Ople Award for Natatanging Bagong Bayani, the highest and most-coveted recognition given to exemplary overseas Filipinos.
In December last year she received the Presidential Pamana ng Pilipino Award from Benigno Aquino, the Philippine president.
The non-profit Filipino Digerati Association, which she co-founded, won the Presidential Banaag Award.
The other categories in Emirates Woman of the Year Award are Artists, Humanitarians and Achievers.
The four other nominees for Mrs Alvero-Al Mahdi’s category were: Yael Mejia, founder and chief executive of Foodcraft Solutions; Kate Goodwin, founder and chief executive of Illumin8 Media Make-up Studio; Tala Samman, founder of myfashiondiary.com; and Buthaina Al Mazrui and Alamira Hashim, founders and hosts of The Dinner Club by No 57.