Our survey reveals that 32% of the GCC Female Leaders believe that emerging/disruptive technology risk poses the biggest threat to an organization‘s growth. What are your views? How is disruptive technology changing the banking sector in Kuwait? 

In my opinion, the widespread uptake of disruptive technologies such as AI/ML has enhanced quick decision-making and expansion in banks by providing financial solutions and online services, including payment systems and internet and mobile banking systems, which have had an incredible impact on the banking industry. 

Owing to the combination of demanding customers, the rise of new competitors and increasing levels of regulations, customers have been shopping around for a better user experience and value for money. 

Therefore, banks are working toward improving technology, agility and innovation to support the customer experience and quality of services in addition to maintaining data privacy and compliance requirements.

Banks in Kuwait are adopting a digital-first approach with less face-to-face interactions with the customers. What initiatives is your team taking to create a digital-first environment for the customers? 

Boubyan Bank’s teams are working to align with the strategic approach. It has become imperative for all the teams to rapidly evolve to achieve a highly customer agile environment with a balance of regulatory compliance. On that note, we can list down a few points that we take into consideration: 

• creating focus groups to understand the customer needs;

• listen to the young generations’ needs;

• reflecting the above in products that can serve the customers through digital channels;

• ensuring technology resiliency and availability to fulfill current and future needs; and

• establishing adequate measures to manage any technology-related risks.

Do you believe innovation is the key to success in the technology sector? If yes, what steps do you take to motivate your team to imbibe a continuous innovation approach? 

Yes, I strongly believe that innovation is a fundamental tool to survive and thrive in the technology sector, as banks aim to leverage technology to build wider a customer base and better customer relationships.

Now, as a leader, I drive and imbibe continuous innovation by first cascading Boubyan Bank’s strategy to my team and providing clear objectives for fulfilling the tasks. In other words, we always help the team translate the business objectives into tactical tasks that aim to ultimately help us achieve them. Boubyan Bank has a healthy and professional environment where leadership skills and practices have been successfully implemented. 

We always maintain two-way communication, give positive feedback, and provide a space for development and opportunities for innovation. Last but not the least, it is necessary to help the team realize the importance of their role and the value that they bring to the organization with their hard work and commitment.

The technology sector is often said to be male dominated. However, you are already changing that mindset. Talk to us about your journey in becoming a female leader in this sector.  

From that aspect, I have always been blessed to be part of the Boubyan family as the culture has been very supportive toward the empowerment of women and their professional growth. Boubyan Bank has more than 50 females in managerial positions and it is growing with time. The same reflects Boubyan Bank’s commitment toward enhancing its gender representation. 

To add on, Boubyan Bank has been rolling out several programs for females which involve the in-demand skillset required to perform day-to-day job, along with specific sponsorship programs to fast-track the career paths of high-performing women. In Boubyan environment, I can proudly say that women are decision makers. They transport opinions and recommendations, and lead successful teams based on skills and competencies regardless of genders.

What message do you want to give to young female aspirants who aspire to have a career in technology/IT? 

My sincere wish and message to all the young female aspirants is to believe in themselves and they will succeed. While challenges are part of life in every aspect, there is always a way to get through them. 

Adding to that, I would like to encourage all the female aspirants to have complete faith in their values and understand their own thoughts so they are capable of expressing them to the others. Secondly, I encourage all female aspirants to start implementing their own ideas. Yes, they will make mistakes — including terrible ones — but the key is to solve and learn from these mistakes so they can create a better version of themselves. 

To conclude, we still have a long way to go in terms of minimizing the gender gap in technology but the effort  is worth it as I strongly believe that diverse talent pools are effective.

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