Muna al Gurg needs no introduction…
She is one of the UAE’s most prominent businesswomen and is Director of Retail at Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group. A graduate of London Business School, Muna is a recipient of the Emirates Women’s Award and sits on the Board of 5 organisations. Among many of her accolades, Muna includes acting as a judge on the UAE reality television show The Entrepreneur…We are honoured to have her as one of our Changemakers!
1. What are your biggest achievements?
One of the greatest achievements in my life is bringing up a daughter who is about to graduate and become a civil engineer.
She represents the future of women to me.
Also launching my scholarship with London Business School to support the economic empowerment of Arab women has been a natural fit for me.
I have learned so much about the business world and wanted to share that knowledge with other women. I also know that by investing in the education of career women and entrepreneurs I would be helping them grow and support their families.
2. What drives you to be at the top of your game? What are your success strategies?
I am very lucky to be living in Dubai, a dynamic city that keeps me going as I can feel the buzz the moment I wake up in the morning! Personally I believe there are different elements to success whether it be on a personal level, career level or within a community. Success is achieved when all these elements come together holistically.
From a career perspective, I would define success as a sustainable factor that stays beyond one’s existence. I always ask myself what I would like to leave behind me in this world. It is a hard question to answer, and it took me a while to reflect upon. I was lucky to participate in a two-year fellowship program with The Aspen Institute along with 20 other fellows from the Middle East and North Africa region, where we all reflected on what we are trying to achieve in this world. The program revolved round ‘The Good Society’ and was about giving back to the community.
I realized that I am passionate about women’s empowerment and that education is something I could contribute to. This is how I started my personal scholarship for Arab Women at London Business School.
I also deeply believe in having a healthy personal and family life – I never compromise on my time with family. My weekends are sacred and so are my outings with my mother and daughter every week.
3. The GCC states, and the UAE within it, are going through major changes when it comes to the involvement of women in business in society. What do you think is driving that?
Three of the greatest challenges women entrepreneurs face globally are getting access to capital, mentoring and training. We are very fortunate as HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, puts a great emphasis on the empowerment of women. HH Sheikh Mohammed sees the benefit this can have on the business economy.
As a result, Dubai has flourished in terms of incubators, training programs and solid mentoring towards women. The driving force is our country’s leadership and we have a great deal to thank for that. I was fortunate to have a network of mentors and colleagues who were generous with their time and advice. This is also one of the reasons why I now equally give my time back to mentor others.
4. Finally, it is important for us to recognise the power of men in supporting women. Is there a man who has played an instrumental role in your personal growth and success? Who are they and how did they influence you?
I agree wholeheartedly! My father has always been an incredible supporter, he has helped me grow to reach the point I am at right now. I have learnt humility as well as focus from him.
I am also lucky to have a husband who plays a big role in my life, I go back to him for advice and he is a strong pillar that I lean on. He has taught me that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.