In celebration of International Women’s Day 2018, Canon Middle East (CME) has announced the ‘Young Women Mentorship Programme’ aimed at creating a two-tier approach to supporting women gain knowledge and achieve success in business starting with school-age students through to executive women.
The first part of the mentorship programme will be aimed at students during which Canon will support three girls per year. These girls will be offered an opportunity to be mentored and coached by a senior Canon executive to gain an insightful understanding about business, work environments and the required education and training to achieve successful careers. Furthermore, Canon will also create a network of business women achievers who can meet on a regular basis to share best practices and experiences as well as empower young girls in their careers by expanding their connections and supporting other women in business.
Canon Middle East announced the new initiative at an event where they hosted several women leaders, from diverse sectors, to honour their accomplishments and to provide an opportunity for them to share their journey and experience as well as network and exchange best practices.
The event was hosted by Mai Youssef, Corporate Communications & Marketing Services Director, Middle East & Africa – Canon Middle East, at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, and attendees included Nayla Al Khaja, First Emirati woman filmmaker, as well as UAE-based women journalists and social media influencers. From Canon’s side attendees included: Veronica Juul-Nyholm, Human Resources Director, CME; and Jyoti Pillai Business Operations Director, CME.
“We are delighted to launch the ‘‘Young Women Mentorship Programme’ dedicated to empowering young women, and through them, the larger community. The programme’s mission is to nurture the talents of girls through mentorship, build their self-confidence and inspire them to discover and fulfil their true potential. This coincides with our International Women’s Day celebration, an opportunity to focus on what women, especially in the region, have achieved and to highlight their accomplishments that have paved the way for others in the Middle East and Africa to push their boundaries.” said Mai.
“The determination of women has brought us to where we are today. With our event, we are celebrating these amazing women, who lead in their respective industries, and are inspiring other women and supporting them reach their full potential. There is still much more to be achieved, but women today are on a path forward and there is no looking back,” she added.
At the event, Canon also dedicated a segment for a Q&A session with the audience, where the women leaders discussed their careers and explained how they broke barriers to get to where they are today.
“The region has an incredible resource of educated and talented women who can contribute significantly to any organisation and society as a whole. This opportunity of untapped talent needs to be recognised across all industries. To date, only between 25-30 per cent of women are economically active as opposed to 60 per cent in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. This underlines the need for more work to be done to achieve more inclusion and economic activity for women in the region. In fact, an OECD report states that raising women’s participation in the labour force to the same level as men could boost global GDP by USD 12 trillion, or 26%, by 2025,” explained Veronica Juul-Nyholm.
“At Canon, we understand the value and strength of women in our organisation and for this reason we have implemented a programme that allows them to excel and achieve their potential in the workplace. As a result, most of our leadership positions today are filled by women, and I couldn’t be prouder to share this accomplishment,” added Mai.
“This achievement also clearly resonates with Canon’s global corporate philosophy of ‘Kyosei,’ which means living and working together for the common good. By creating the space and opportunity for women in the region to grow professionally, we are powerfully demonstrating our commitment to our philosophy,” said Mai.
Internally, Canon has created an environment that encourages women to return to the workforce and achieve success even after a career break. For instance, Canon introduced extended maternity leave, and flexible working hours to provide more career opportunities for women in the technology and imaging industry.
Photo caption: Mai Youssef, Nayla Al Khaja and Vernonica Juul-Nyholm