Kholoud Al Kendi hopes to be a role model to other Emirati women through her work with a US defence contractor.
Inspired by other UAE women, Emirati hopes to lead by example
ABU DHABI // Kholoud Al Kendi has always drawn inspiration from the trailblazing efforts of Emirati women. Now, as she displays her leadership skills in the world of security, defence and technology, she is the one setting the example.
As the first Abu Dhabi employee of Harris Corporation, a US defence contractor that specialises in secure communications systems, she has been the public face of the enterprise since its 2010 launch.
Now, as the company’s business development manager, her focus is on defence and public safety. She has been instrumental in delivering projects with the Armed Forces, Abu Dhabi Police and Abu Dhabi Airports. Right from the start, she said, being a local has had its advantages.
“I needed to set up policies and workflow, but I also helped to provide guidance for the company since I’m an Emirati who knew the society and the culture more than others,” said the 31-year-old. “This meant I should be an ambassador for my country, especially with our working environment being diverse and multicultural.
“I knew almost everything about all the clients we met – assignments, projects, events.”
Ms Al Kendi said when she joined the business team she started to learn more about the company’s systems, products and capabilities.
“When we secured our first project with the military in 2012, I was involved during the initial discussions as some customers prefer to deal with a local contact,” she said. “The same happened with other clients. Having an Emirati working for the company has always been considered a positive.”
Ms Al Kendi has been recognised by being nominated for the American Chamber of Commerce Woman In Business Award 2016, celebrating working women who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and accomplishment.
In 2014, she was invited by the America Women’s Network to talk to an international group of women about her achievements.
“Emirati women are capable of participating effectively and using our talents, skills and knowledge in the development revolution that the UAE is now living,” she said.
“If the opportunity is there, and the family support and courage is there, I want us to step up and show the world that Emirati women can make a difference.”
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