Khulood Qayed - Empowering Women
Following your passion is key to developing a fulfilling career. Khulood Qayed tells her story about joining Shell and pursuing her professional goals.
Khulood is a Finance graduate and holds an MBA, but after two and a half years of working in the banking industry she realised that she wouldn’t find fulfilment in her work if she didn’t make a change.
“I was stuck in a room analysing documents by myself and I’m very outgoing and like to be with people,” Khulood said. “Life is short and I didn’t want to be unhappy, so I decided to take the leap into HR and Communications.”
When she first joined Shell, Khulood admits she was nervous about being surrounded by so many experienced people, but her opinion soon changed: “I was young when I joined and missed the large community of young people. However, a five-day induction programme in the Netherlands called Shell Life changed my mind. I quickly learned about Shell’s caring culture, history and global projects. It gave me a sense of pride and I became emotionally connected with the company. Ten years later, I still feel that my move to Shell was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Khulood originally planned to start working for the government – a popular decision with many Emiratis – but that soon changed when she was selected for a leadership programme under UAE leader Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum in 2006.
“There were 33 other people from both government and private industries,” she explained. “They told us how, even though we were in the private sector, they considered us to be agents of change for our country. I decided to stay with Shell because I would still contribute just as much to my country as I would if I worked in the government sector.
About development opportunities, Khulood added: “In Shell, you have access to people who are leaders in their field – there is so much to learn and so many people to learn from. The projects are complex and being part of a multi-national company has helped me understand different business sectors. Every industry has its stressful moments, but the support system in Shell shows that the company truly cares.”
Khulood values her family and as a mother of a boy and two girls, she appreciates the flexible working Shell offers. “My commute to work takes about 50 minutes, so I enjoy the fact that I can work from home sometimes.”
Khulood’s passion for supporting female development resulted in the creation of a women’s network in Dubai. “Networking is important,” she explained. “Being part of extra-curricular activities outside of your actual day-to-day work opens doors in your career.
People shouldn’t limit themselves to their daily tasks; instead they should try to find innovative ways of connecting with people they will probably not meet otherwise. I also think it’s important for women to learn how to market themselves. We tend to play down our skills and expertise, but I think there is a fine line between being confident and arrogant about your abilities.
“So far, my experience in Shell has been enriching. It is a nurturing environment where people are the most important assets.”
Khulood’s advice for women
- Market your personal value proposition. “You have to be able to talk about yourself, your career and your unique value proposition. It’s not bragging if you do it at the right opportunities.”
- Be vocal. “You have to be assertive and you have to communicate. I attended a three-day Shell Women’s Career Development Programme, which was invaluable in encouraging us to speak up.”
- Explain what you want. “Shell is eager to provide you with new opportunities, but can only support you if you know where you want to go in your career.”
- Just do it! “People in Shell are respectful and there is always an opportunity for learning and development. Take it, you won’t regret it.”
“Ten years later, I still feel that my move to Shell was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
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