In the MENA region where the economic participation of women is restricted, many women entrepreneurs are launching their own businesses, generating their own income and helping other women become more involved economically. These women deserve recognition for the powerful contributions they make to better their communities. Among these women are three of Jordan’s top businesswomen and here are their success stories:
Nazzal is a deputy chair person at The Landmark Hotel, a barrister, a political activist and a mother of two. If you ask the 35 year-old entrepreneur about her work at The Landmark Hotel, she will enthusiastically tell you about her participation in the renovation of the hotel, which was built in 1978. When she took over the hotel’s ownership from her father in 2009, she had a vision for a business where everyone works as a family to reflect what it’s like to be in Jordan. With a vision of a fully Jordanian, five-stars hotel and a solid plan, Nazzal didn’t wait long before she cancelled the hotel’s management contracts with many foreign companies and partnered instead with successful local business.
Mary Nazzal turned The Landmark Hotel in Amman into a landmark that tourists seek to walk in its lobbies and enjoy the fine local art and photography. The Jordanian designed rooms, the Jordanian food and the tea with local herbs along with the excellent service insured the hotel’s place at the top. And for her great accomplishments, Nazzal was selected by Forbes as one of the most powerful Arab women in 2015.
Nazzal is also a political activist. She graduated from Columbia University with a diploma in political science and she dedicated her education and experience to serve the Palestinian cause. Currently, Nazzal is mostly active on the BDS Movement, a movement which aims at isolating Israel on every level until it complies to the international law.
Nazzal believes that women have a major role to play to bring change to the overall political and economic situation in Jordan. She aims at having the most qualified women staff in a five-star hotel. In 2015, she even opened a nursery to encourage women to work for her hotel while having their children around.
Iman Mutlaq is a CEO in Sigma Investment, a director at Australian Firm Ingot Brokers, a supporter for women around the MENA area and a mother of two. At the age of six, Mutlaq’s father died leaving her without a legal guardian in Saudi Arabia where having a Muharram is a must if you want to engage in the social, public life. Seeing this as just an obstacle, Mutlaq was determined to overcome it and to succeed without depending on the support of men.
Mutlaq’s family is related to the Saudi Royal family, but for an independent young woman paying for her own education was really important. And so when she turned fourteen, she began selling arts and crafts to pay for her education. By the time she turned eighteen she started her first business in gun cleaning supplies in Saudi Arabia. She then funded a tourism company in the 1990s before she finally move to the financial sector at the age of 27. In 2000, she started working on what would become later a multinational financial company based in Jordan, Sigma Investment.
The 48 year-old business woman believes in women’s crucial place in society. She supports many creative woman by being an angel investor in their ideas and she’s part of many companies and projects that support women education and their participation in the job market.
Doha Abdelkhaleq is a trained lawyer, a managing partner and an executive director at one of Jordan’s biggest software companies. In 1999, the established lawyer and her husband established Eskadenia, a company that works internationally, exporting software programs to countries around the world.
Like many other women entrepreneurs, Abdelkhaleq is dedicated to empower women and for that reason she launched Because I Care, a non-profit website that links women with volunteering opportunities including the Eskadenia’s music chamber where disadvantaged children are given a chance to learn how to play an instrument of their choice.
These Jordanian women realize that engaging creative, entrepreneurial women in Jordan’s economy creates a much healthier and balanced community, and they themselves didn’t settle for less than the best contributions.
Don’t forget to smile 🙂 to the success of these inspiring Jordanian Businesswomen!
The original articles on Jordan’s top business women, including those who are mentioned in this article, can be found at Venture Magazine.