Promising future for women in Bahrain's energy sector

Nogaholding strives to create an environment of equal opportunity and continues to position women in various leadership and management roles across the organisation

Under the leadership of His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Chairman of nogaholding, the company is committed empowering and enabling the its women in its workforce by appointing them in leadership roles across the organisation.

Nogaholding has had prominent women in leadership roles on a group-wide level, most notably, Hadyah Fathallah, a member of nogaholding’s Board of Directors, Hayam Al Awadhi, Group Chief Financial Officer, and Nouf Al Sowaidi, Group Chief Human Resources Officer.

As a member of the board, Fathallah has over 20 years of experience as a strategy and security specialist in a range of fields, including national and global security, policymaking, entrepreneurship, innovation and digital transformation. She holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, with a focus on International Global Affairs as well as an MA in War Studies from King’s College in London.

Prior to her appointment as Director of Strategic Projects at the Office of His Majesty’s Representative for Humanitarian Works and Youth Affairs, Fathallah served as Chief Operating Officer for the global technology investment firm, C5 Accelerate.

As a regular contributor to cybersecurity, innovation and technology conferences, she built Bahrain’s first ever technology accelerator as well as established a number of initiatives to contribute to the government’s Start-Up Bahrain efforts.

She has played a key advisory role to a number of government agencies and senior government officials in areas such as counterterrorism, armed groups, security policy and strategy, cybersecurity and other national security threats. Fathallah is also a member of the Harvard W3D (Women in Defence, Diplomacy and Development) network.

Nogaholding’s Group Chief Financial Officer, Hayam Al Awadhi, is responsible for the financial control, procurement and cash management of nogaholding. She holds a BSC in Business Administration (honours) from the University of Bahrain and is a Certified Public Accountant from the Montana State Board of Accountancy in the United States of America.

Al Awadhi brings her extensive experience in financial accounting, management reporting and strategic planning across various sectors, and has held several leadership roles in both the public and private sectors. Her years of expertise have enabled her to join the ranks of several executives in the organisation.

She began her career as an internal auditor at Bapco before taking on other responsibilities in the Financial Accounting Department.

Prior to joining nogaholding, Al Awadhi was appointed by His Majesty King Hamad to serve as the Secretary-General of the Bahrain Tender Board. She also served as Executive Director for Corporate services at The Economic Development Board, overseeing Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources and Administration, and worked on setting up the Constitutional Court.

Al Awadhi was a former board member of the Bahrain Tender Board, Gulf Air Holding Company, Chairwoman of Gulf Air Holding Group Audit Committee and other government committees. She is currently a member of the Tamkeen Audit Committee and National Bureau for Revenue Grievance Committee.

Nogaholding’s Group Chief Human Resources Officer, Nouf Al Sowaidi, serves the company well, with over 19 years of experience in the field across various industries, including the public sector, the financial services sector, and the telecommunications and aviation sectors.

Al Sowaidi holds a BS degree in Management and Marketing from the University of Bahrain, an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources from NYIT, as well as a Master’s degree in Management Research from the University of Bradford.

She provides the organisation with her valuable expertise and insight into various fields.

Prior to becoming a part of the nogaholding team, Al Sowaidi held the positions of Director of Human Resources at Gulf Air and Head of Human Resources at the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, where she was instrumental in the establishment and restructuring of HR departments and policies, in addition to a suite of best practices in the HR field.

She has also established and managed her own HR advisory service, RightSize, which focuses on helping clients set up the optimal organisation to ensure continuous sustainability in their businesses.

In addition to these pioneering figures in the field, women also serve in key roles across nogaholding’s subsidiaries including Hala Mufeez, Manager of Finance in Tatweer who was recently appointed to the boards of Banagas and Tawsea, Afaf Zainalabedin, CFO at Bapco, Najat Sharif, Human Resources & Corporate Communications Manager at GPIC, and Sahar Ataaei, CFO at ASRY.

In 2022, Bapco made history when it appointed Afaf Zainalabedin to the role of Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer, making her the first woman to ever hold a high-ranking position in the company’s 93-year history.

Bapco continuously encourages women to join the energy sector in vocational positions, with female employees comprising over 12% of new recruits in 2021.

Upholding its long-standing reputation to develop and nurture the potential of Bahraini citizens by training them in both hard and soft skills, Bapco established its Oil and Gas Academy four years ago.

The Academy delivers a wide range of technical and professional training courses to meet the future needs of Bapco in line with its vision to become the primary training facility in the Kingdom of Bahrain for the energy sector.

The diploma programmes witnessed the enrolment of 97 trainees in 2021, preparing them for operators in the refining division or technicians in the reliability and maintenance division. The trainees included 38 students enrolled in the oil and gas operation programme, 20 in the mechanical engineering programme, 19 in the electrical engineering programme, and 20 in the instrumentation and control programme. Graduates are guaranteed employment upon successful completion of each programme.

Bapco continues to boost Bahraini youth through its various initiatives. The company sponsors young high school graduates for university studies both inside and outside Bahrain. The programme has awarded more than 89 scholarships, while over 270 children of Bapco’s employees have received financial assistance for their university education.

Bapco has also awarded scholarships to 10 employees for their academic development in support of their succession plans and career paths.

Additionally, 62 industrial trainees were trained in various company facilities and 612 employees were trained as part of the BMP training scheme.

The Bahrain National Gas Company (Banagas) continues to attract, develop and retain, qualified, knowledgeable and motivated employees – especially women.

From 2017 to 2021, 177 female employees attended 69 training courses worth a total of 3,240 training hours. One of the company’s female employees received a sponsorship to obtain a Masters in Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of Bahrain.

As part of the company's commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), seven female employees have benefited from the Employees Children Scholarship Scheme during the same period. Moreover, 64 women from various universities and schools completed their internship programmes during 2017 to 2021 as part of their graduation requirement.

Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mohamed Al Khalifa, Banagas has prioritised its education and youth initiatives as an essential part of the company culture, deeming them an obligation to the community, and embedded them into the company’s CSR goals.

To support the continuous education and learning of its employees, Banagas has provided a total of 869 training courses and academic sponsorships to 8,037 employees, amounting to a total of 179,982 training hours.

The company also supports the Banagas Toastmasters Club, which has a total of 28 members this year. The Club aims to help employees improve their communication and leadership skills.

Banagas’ support of youth development and empowerment includes providing internships to 155 students as part of their graduation requirements as well as scholarships to 81 of its staff members’ children.

The company has actively supported INJAZ Bahrain, a national programme that supports young future entrepreneurs, for the past five years, with a total of 81 employees volunteering to become mentors in the initiative.

Nogaholding has recognised its employees as the backbone of its organisation, embedding training and development opportunities as a core element of its operations. The company strives to create an environment of equal opportunity and continues to position women in various leadership and management roles across the organisation.