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Women in Nexans: enhancing female leadership beyond frontiersJul 18, 2019
Launched in 2018, Women in Nexans (WiN) is a Nexans initiative aimed at developing an internal community encouraging individual development and career path enhancement for women. Established in 5 regions and 27 countries with central and local leaders, WiN helps women in different roles share their experience and gain support in their career development.
This month, Karima Cherifi Human Resources Director GCC Countries at Nexans, shares with us her expatriation experience as a female manager in the Gulf.
Could you please briefly present yourself, your professional path and your role in Nexans at moment?
My name is Karima Cherifi and I am currently the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) HR and Director of Administration in QICC, a joint venture company between Nexans and Al Mirqab (a Qatari invest). I joined Nexans in July 2017. Currently my area of responsibility involves HR, Administration and Communications for GCC Countries (both Qatar and UAE). I manage daily HR Operations in Qatar which is a very multicultural environment with 18 nationalities represented in our team! I am also part of the Manage Me Up team in the role of MERA Coordinator. Before joining Nexans, I worked in the paper industry as HR Director and Country Manager. I started my career in HR as an HR Generalist while I was in the university and I had the chance to become an HR Director at the age of 28.
What are your main challenges in your position?
First of all, fighting gender stereotypes in QICC. I was surprised that the laws and policies of a Gulf country are actually very protective of women’s rights. It has worked to my advantage in many ways. Hence, during my first few months here, I felt empowered to work on transforming the mindset of managers to focus more on skills and competencies, not on gender.
Secondly, being the only female in the management of QICC is a new experience for me. Yet I am proud to be part of the change and showcase that diversity is important and highly valuable for achieving business objectives.
As a female leader and an HR Director, what advice can you give to women to strengthen and improve their individual careers within Nexans and unlock their full potential?
I feel very strongly about 3 things in general:
- An ambitious woman fights not just for women’s rights at work, but for men’s as well. Being in HR, I feel that it is my duty to always ensure that my decisions are not biased.
- Women nowadays don’t dream enough. So dare to be bold, take risks, make mistakes and learn from them.
- And finally, challenge yourself everyday. Be content but always strive to be better by seeking counsel from other inspiring successful women. I had the opportunity to meet Christine Lagarde, the Chairwoman of the International Monetary Fund, many years ago when she was minister of economic affairs and I think that her path and her success as a woman leader is an example for me and all women striving to achieve career success.
A Gallup report based over 4 decades of research on women managers states that there are not enough women in management positions even though female managers outperform their male counterparts when comes to driving employee engagement. This is why we need to work more on achieving the objectives of WiN, including increasing the number of women managers by 3 points in three years. I believe we can do it if we keep supporting and encouraging each female employee to strive for greatness.