Speaker Interviews

Dr. Nashwa Al Ruwaini
CEO and Board Member, Pyramedia Productions,
Co-Founder and Board Member, Abu Dhabi Film Festival

  1. When you started more than two decades ago, how involved were women in media and in your opinion, how has the industry evolved? How do you view media as a game changer in the world and the industry's we work in? What changes do you anticipate in the next 5 years?

    Women's role in media has evolved dramatically in the last two decades. Women now have greater opportunities across all facets of the media, both, in front of and behind the camera.

    The future of media is very exciting with new platforms for communication and expression. The media landscape is constantly changing with the rise of social media. Of course social media will continue to transform how people access content and express their own ideas. With the rise in user generated content and reporting of news content by the general public, I think it is now important more than ever to have systems for credibility and fact-checking of real-time reporting.

  2. From a radio and TV presenter to founder, CEO and Board Member of such a celebrated media house, from your journey spanning more than two decades, what would you consider an important trait of a leader?

    Women's role in media has evolved dramatically in the last two decades. Women now have greater opportunities across all facets of the media, both, in front of and behind the camera

    In my experience the most important trait of a leader is communication. Your team relies on your knowledge and being able to come to you with their own opinions and questions. This is the key to successful business, no matter what field you are in. Having an "open door" policy enables a workforce that confides and trusts in you. Your vision is clearly defined and communicated which everyone works toward.

  3. Dr. Nashwa, you are a leader across multiple businesses that demand your time and attention. Can you tell us, when you look at the industries you are involved in, do you see a pattern where women are excelling as business leaders? In your opinion, is there a particular industry that could benefit from more female input and leadership?

    One of the main attributes of women as leaders is instilling more nurturing competencies in their staff. Well nurtured staff is enthusiastic people and they are more effective at getting things done and delivering results. There are many different studies that have shown that greater gender balance in senior leadership brings many benefits. I think there are a wide range of industries that would benefit from having women's input at the highest levels. However, one particular area would be presidency. I want more female presidents to rule.

  4. Media is changing the way we live and operate in business. What opportunities are there for women in media today? What advice would you give young women preparing for a career in the medial industry? In your personal opinion, is it a good career choice?

    While the media industry is becoming increasingly competitive, there are also more opportunities now than there ever have been. Employers in media look for a wide range of people with different technical and personal skills. My advice would be to try and strike a balance between gaining accredited qualifications with gaining work experience and making the necessary connections. While it can be difficult to get a foothold in the media, the industry is replete with examples of successful women who have made it big. With hard work and dedication the media industry offers ample opportunity to be creative, to travel, to network and carve a successful career.

  5. Lastly, you are a guest speaker at the Women In Industry Forum. Ahead of May, can you please tell our audience what they can expect to hear from you at the Forum?

    I want to make it clear at the Forum that success won't come looking for anyone who hasn't a commitment for it; there are no short cuts! Success takes an incredible amount of hard work. It takes someone who is willing to be dedicated to their goals, whether you are male or female; determination is the key to success. Learn from your failures and never let your setbacks discourage or shake your will. I truly believe in the saying "It is only through failure that you can learn to succeed". It should motivate you to keep moving forward and be the force that drives you to grow and evolve from your mistakes.

    I have had my share of rejections and ups in downs, but I always persevered; never give up on your dream. If you are willing to fight for it, you will succeed.

Lorraine M. Martin
Deputy Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Mission System and Training

An experienced leader, Lorraine Martin has held a number of positions during her 28-year career with global security and aerospace company, Lockheed Martin Corporation. She currently serves as the Deputy Executive Vice President for the company's Mission Systems & Training business area with more than 36,000 employees around the globe and over 1,000 programs. She has worked across the company's portfolio, most recently leading Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II program – the corporation's largest program of record. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Lorraine served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

The team at the Women In Industry Forum got in touch with Lorraine to hear her thoughts on women in leadership and ways to promote women's full potential in industry.

  1. In your opinion, do you think enabling more women in the workforce has impacted not just companies and corporations but also global economies?

    Absolutely. During my 28-year career in the private sector, I've seen first-hand the growth and expansion that occurs when we open up opportunities to women. We also know that statistically more women in the workforce correlates with stronger economic growth, according to a 2012 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship. When more women work, economies grow.

    While there is still room for greater global gender equity, I'm encouraged to see the UAE leading the region in gender equality according to the World Economic Forum's 2014 Global Gender Gap report. We're also seeing a greater acceptance of women as civic and business leaders in the last few decades, and that's only going to continue.

    Fostering the growth in leadership positions for women is only part of the equation. When we expand the overall number of qualified women in the workforce, we will see an even greater exponential impact on the global economy.

    Therefore, it is of global importance to educate young women and provide everyone equal opportunities to work, to lead and to succeed. The more intelligent, problem-solving human capital we have in the marketplace, the more innovation and growth we will see, particularly in emerging markets.

  2. Twenty eight years ago, when you started at Lockheed Martin, opportunities available for women were quite scarce. How would you describe your experience of the last 28 years? What would you consider to be the driving force of such a global movement to open positions to women in leadership positions?

    I was a captain in the U.S. Air Force before I began working for Lockheed Martin, so I came into the company in the fortunate position of already being an experienced leader. This was a time when women were uncommon in the service—and female leaders were even rarer. That's one of the empowering aspects of the U.S. military—when you're an officer, they put you in leadership positions literally the day you're out of college. When I made the transition from the public sector into the private sector, I was also put in a leadership position very early in my career, largely because of the experience I had in the Air Force. And right here in the UAE, a key component of the country's development strategy is the engagement of women as leaders. Organizations who leverage this will have an advantage.

    What enabled me to grow as a leader was when I seized an opportunity to do something totally new. I was trained as a software engineer, but I was asked to lead a team on hardware-related programs, which was something I literally knew nothing about at the time. Again, flexibility brought me new opportunities.

    One thing is certain; the demand for competent, flexible leadership will always exist. And that is one of the forces driving the global movement to open leadership positions to all those who are qualified. There is no end to the challenges leaders face around the world today. All leaders, women and men alike, will be needed to move us forward.

  3. Lorraine, with such wide exposure across various functions, what would you consider an important trait of a leader?

    There are two complementary characteristics that I have learned are absolutely vital: consistency and flexibility. While they might sound contradictory, they actually go hand-in-hand. A leader must be true to themselves. When they are centered on who they are and what they are passionate about, it has great impact. It provides a guide for those they are working with. We all have different leadership styles. As a leader, you need to set expectations that allow teammates to know who you are and how you lead. While leaders need to be the leader that the situation demands, those you lead need to be able to navigate and understand how to effectively work with you.

    The steady drumbeat of consistency is the ability to follow through on your commitments. As I like to say: every commitment, every day. When all else is confusion, remain rock solid to your commitments and your team will follow suit.

    How does flexibility work into that? Take a look at your own career path. After 10 or 20 years in the workforce, few of us remain in the fields in which we earned our degrees. I've had a number of career opportunities because I was willing to try something new and outside my view of what I was to be doing.

    I benefited from bosses and mentors who challenged me to stretch myself professionally. As one of my former leaders once told me, "Every job should make you feel like you're drowning -- like you're not sure how you're going to do it. Otherwise, you're not growing." That's what I mean by flexibility.

    So, be consistent so that your team understands how to work with you effectively, while always challenging yourself to look for opportunities outside of your comfort zone. It will open opportunities and enable you to be a stronger leader.

  4. What advice would you give young women preparing for a career as a senior leader?

    It all starts with education and that learning should never stop. Once you begin a new role, learn your business inside and out so you can help your team navigate complexities and help your customer solve whatever challenges they may face in the future.

    Lockheed Martin, for example, is a very engineering-oriented company. Not everyone is an engineer, but our reputation was built on our ability to solve the most complex problems for our customers. STEM education provides a distinct advantage in our field, and I would encourage any young woman who has even a seed of interest to pursue STEM subjects – or career development opportunities in these fields. The technology challenges in public and private sectors are climbing.

    Be brave and trust yourself in new situations. We learn when we are challenged. That will mean that we will find ourselves in situations where we have yet travelled. Confidence and humility are a powerful combination.

  5. Lastly, you are a guest speaker at the Women In Industry Forum. Ahead of May, can you please tell our audience what can they expect to hear from you at the Forum?

    I am looking forward to participating in the forum and sharing some of what I've learned during my career. It has been an interesting and exciting journey, full of unexpected twists and great challenges, including my most recent move within Lockheed Martin. I've picked up a couple of principles that have served me well, and I hope to share them at the forum and discuss ways in which the public and private sectors can further collaborate to unlock the potential of women.

Back to Conference Speakers

Sponsored by:
Organised by:
dmg global energy
From the organisers of:
Official Publication:
Pipeline Magazine