ABout Bouthaina

Buthaina Al Ansari is the Senior Director of Human Resources at Ooredoo. She has received a Qatar Business Women Award for her Qatarisation work at Al Rayan Investment. Using her degrees from universities in Qatar, London and Cairo, she founded and manages Qatariat, a company that specialises in helping Qatari women advance into the workforce within three elements, which are the Qatariat Training and Development, Qatariat Magazine, and the Qatariat Development Consultancy. Al Ansari is a board member at the Qatari Business Forum and Arab International Women Forum in London, UK. She has been named as one of the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in 2012 and 2013 by Arab Business magazine. She’s also been voted L’Officiel Qatar’s most inspirational Arab woman of the year in 2012. Al Ansari received her MBA in strategic planning and business management from Qatar University in 2005.
Al Ansari begin her talk by saying, ‘If we want to be more than just the ID number on our ID cards, if you want to be unique and want be like those you see in the community.

you have to work on a number of things. First of all, set your goals. Your goals shouldn’t make things difficult for you. Be smart, measure and prepare yourself. Don’t over dream especially at your age because you have a long journey ahead of you…At your age, you have to have short-term goals and long-terms goals.’

Speaking to an audience of about 50 females, Al Ansari said: ‘Girls, networking, meeting successful people, listening to what they say and their experiences is very useful. We’re not just going on a trip and hear someone talk, and wear the latest abaya and branded bags. That’s nice, really nice. Yes, we’re females, we love fashion. We love to be special but my abaya doesn’t make me. The brands I wear don’t make me. What’s in my mind will make me – the way I talk, my knowledge, my experience.’

Al Ansari added, ‘Education is really important to building your character. You have to get educated, you have to learn and you have to see what are the latest achievements. Otherwise, a person won’t be special. You’ll be a very ordinary person.’

‘Volunteering opens a lot of opportunities. Personally, there’s no volunteering opportunity I didn’t do. There’s no conference I didn’t attend. There is no workshop I didn’t speak at. I want to introduce people to me. I want to tell them I have presence in my country and I want to pay back to the State of Qatar because we have all the opportunities available to us. Education is free no matter what country you want to study in. We always ask for our rights but we have a job to do as well. We have to study and we overcome the challenges.’

‘Don’t let the sting of traditions and customs come between us’, Al Ansari warned the audience. To further discuss social issues, Al Ansari said, ‘a woman came to me said Buthania, you created a magazine and I want to be on the cover of the magazine like you but I wear the niqab. I told her the niqab was never a limit.’ Another example Al Ansari used is when a bunch of Qatari females were looking to work at Ooredoo and said, ‘Buthaina, we don’t want to mix. We don’t want to work with males.’ Al Ansari replied, ‘The world has changed a little bit. We have to accept new ideas.’

Al Ansari, a wife and mother of four children, encouraged working women to create a balance between their personal, social and professional life as they consider their ambitions. ‘You have to create a balance. You have to be the foundation. No one is going to tell you do one plus two to get three. You have to do it. You have to create that balance,’ she said. ‘If you’re not happy at home, you won’t achieve anything. I assure this to you,’ said Al Ansari who began to talk about her husband who she says is her greatest supporter.

As Senior Director of Human Resources at Ooredoo, when conducting interviews, Al Ansari said she has encountered many young female graduates who lacked self-marketing skills, which she said is one of the most important skills to have in order to succeed. Therefore, she advised the audience to make it one of their key skills. She also discussed the issue of wasta, which is an Arabic word that refers to using one’s connections and/or influence to get things done. Al Ansari especially discussed the issue of when a woman gets employment or a promotion, people begin to think she did so by the use of wasta. Al Ansari disapproves of this, saying ‘When are we going to get rid of this issue?’ Instead, she encourages people to ‘see what she did, how did she market herself and what did she study about the place she’s joining.’ She told the audience to study about the organisation/company they’re interested in working at and also encouraged them to specialise in something they love.

Key Statistics:

  • L’Officiel Qatar’s Most Inspirational Arab Woman of the Year Award September 2012
  • Voted 7th by CommsMEA in the Top 50 Female Telecoms Executives September 2012
  • Voted 19th by 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2012
  • Founder and Chairperson of Qatariat T&D Holding Company
  • Senior HR Director Q-Tel
  • Ambassador WLC Qatar – Women Leading Change Qatar
  • Qatar Business Womens Association Board Member
  • Member of MENA Business Womens Networks
  • Qatar Professional Womens Network Circle of Purl Mentor
  • Master’s Degree in Business Management & HR Strategic Planning from Qatar University
  • MSc HR Master’s Degree from American University of Cairo