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Meet the First Female Executive at Saudi Arabia’s Largest Telecom Company

Moudhi Aljamea. Supplied

It’s well-known that women have long been under-represented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, and especially leadership roles. But things are changing – including in Saudi Arabia, where Dr Moudhi Aljamea has recently become the first female executive at Saudi Telecom Company.

Better known as STC, the Riyadh-based organization is the largest telecommunications company by market value in the Arab World, according to Forbes. But out of thousands of employees, Dr Aljamea – General Manager of the Digital Technology School at STC Academy, which opened last year to build digital skills in the region – is the first Saudi woman in an executive position.

“Technology is something I have been always passionate about,” she explains. “I was fortunate enough that my father was one of the main engineers at the Ministry of Post, Telegraph, and Telephone (today the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology), and we were one of the first houses to be connected with the Internet when it was first introduced in the Kingdom. Since then I developed my passion for technology, and I knew for sure that I would be working in that field of technology.”

Dr Aljamea began her role in February. Prior to joining STC, she was president of the entrepreneurship unit and business incubator at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Dammam. She has a PhD in computer security, has had several papers published, spoken at conferences across the globe, and developed her own algorithms to make computer systems safer. She even has one of the cybersecurity world’s top certifications, the Certified Ethical Hacker v10 – which requires years of experience, passing a 125-question quiz, and continuing studies.

In being the first female executive at one of Saudi Arabia’s largest companies, Dr Aljamea says she feels a responsibility to be a role model for other women – especially Saudi women. “As they say, with great power comes great responsibility, and I think this role will give me the power to inspire women in technology, which I consider as a privilege, more than a pressure,” she explains.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is full of talented females, and with the great support that we are receiving from our government, I think it is just a matter of time, and we will see many more of our great female leaders.”

She has advice for the next generation of female leaders. “Simply believe in yourself and work hard on developing yourself. We are in an era of empowering youth, and especially females in the Kingdom, and this is the chance to shine. Practically speaking, it is important to position yourself on a trajectory that leads you to your goal and not be afraid to ask others to help you get there – you’ll be surprised how people are willing to help.”

Exciting as Dr Aljamea’s appointment is, it also comes as women in the Middle East are making strides in the traditionally male-dominated telecommunications industry. For example, in the UAE, Dubai-based du has formed the first telecommunications industry women’s council. In Kuwait, Zain has introduced a new maternity leave policy, in addition to hosting its second women’s empowerment forum. In Bahrain, Batelco has been highlighting the achievements of female employees – including deputy group CEO Muna Al Hashemi. And Dr Aljamea’s own company is seeking to rapidly increase the number of women it employs.

Dr Aljamea’s appointment also comes as other Saudi women are reaching new heights. Last month, HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan was named Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador to the United States – and recently tapped to head the Kingdom’s Special Olympics Federation at the Special Olympics World Games, taking place in Abu Dhabi this month.

Dr Aljamea has more advice for young women. “My favorite quote is, ‘if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.’ Don’t rush yourself in doing something that you don’t like just because you think it’s the future.”

Read Next: The Arab Women Foundation Finally Has Its First Saudi Member

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