National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) is proudly spearheading an exclusive program to support the accession of current and developing female executives into leadership roles. Titled the ‘Director Development Programme for Women’, this initiative was conceived by NBB and is being executed in partnership with Tamkeen, the GCC Board Directors Institute (BDI) and EMIC training, in a combined effort to further promote female empowerment in the Kingdom of Bahrain and help ‘break glass ceilings’. 

The programme will kick off on with its first workshop – ‘Empowering Women Directors’ – on the 2nd & 3rd of October 2019 at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain. Over 50 participants currently holding executive roles across the industry, have confirmed their participation. A second workshop under the theme ‘The Director’s World’ will be held in February 2020, and another two are planned until the end of next year. 

The ‘Director Development Programme for Women’ has been designed to provide aspiring and newly-appointed female directors with the essential skills and competencies to succeed in executive positions as well as a clear understanding of the principles of good corporate governance, and the duties and responsibilities that come with holding a leadership role across any industry,. 

Through the series of year-long workshops conducted by expert international trainers and speakers, participants will gain an in-depth understanding of what the role of an executive entails; how to be an effective leader and improve decision-making abilities; the tools necessary to succeed at an executive level and how to build confidence and knowledge to better overcome challenges. The main outcome of this programme is to enhance participant’s chances of being appointed into a leadership role, either as an executive or a board member, and encourage potential women directors to pursue their ambitions with skill and confidence, ultimately creating a pool of women executives that is visible and can be tapped in to fill executive positions.

Commenting on this initiative, Jean-Christophe Durand, Chief Executive Officer of NBB stated: “It is with great pride that we have taken on this initiative which is not only unique to the Kingdom but also essential to the country’s progress in so many ways. As one of Bahrain’s main national employers we are very serious about developing and empowering our workforce and building capacities for the wider benefit of the country; over the years this has sustained our solid reputation as employer of choice. We believe in taking a holistic approach to nurturing talent, and programmes such as these demonstrate our commitment to making a notable difference in the industry. The role of our partners is vital to helping us achieve our objective and we would like to thank them for helping us bring this project into fruition.”

The first workshop under the umbrella of the ‘Director Development Programme for Women’, which will be held next week, is titled ‘Empowering Women Directors’ and will be spread over two days featuring interactive sessions facilitated by international trainers on topics ranging from the challenges faced by women directors, to understanding the role of the director, why we need more women on boards, board director duties and liabilities, characteristics of high performing board directors and self branding. 

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According to Dana Buheji, Chief Human Resources Officer at NBB: ”Diversion and inclusion are two values that guide NBB in its approach to the professional development of its workforce. These values extend to making a difference on a wider national level, and this is how this particular initiative was born. We have a lot of talent in this country, many fierce women who have the ambition, passion and skill to occupy high-level positions, yet, there is very little visibility. Board rooms are generally dominated by males, this is a common phenomenon not only in Bahrain but across the globe. It is necessary for us to take a step and not only inspire, nurture and build the next generation of female board members and C-suite executives, but also provide them with the tools and the visibility to help them reach those positions. This is the purpose of the program and why we are so committed to taking it nationally.”

The second workshop – ‘The Director’s World’ – will be held in February next year with a focus on how to succeed as board members.
The program’s components have been designed by the GCC Board Directors Institute (BDI), a non-profit organization with over 1400 members that guides board directors from family-owned businesses to listed companies, to acquire the know-how and the tools to reach and sustain effective governance. BDI has been working closely with NBB to create a tailored agenda and bring in the facilitators and speakers.

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