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Inspiring Business Women: Eman Abdellatif

​Eman is a dedicated and well-rounded Digital Payments and Financial Services Expert with over 25 years of experience. She successfully created and implemented products and strategies in various e-payments and SMEs segments.

While significantly improving revenues in underperforming business areas in both Egyptian and GCC markets (UAE, Qatar), she also worked in various key e-payments roles.

Her greatest strengths are results, drive and leadership; she thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the organisation’s reach. Eman has been granted several awards due to significant achievements including the Award of Excellence from MasterCard for the major contribution to e-payments business growth.

Tell us about your career progression to date

While I was still studying at university, I started planning for my career path, and one year before graduating, I joined American Express Egypt as a Customer Service Representative. I worked in various key e-payments roles in both the Egyptian and GCC markets (UAE, Qatar), mostly in Network International, QNB Group, NSGB Group, Intesa San Paolo Group, American Express and Commercial International Bank.

I have been keen to learn and advance throughout my career and transfer the knowledge I acquired to younger generations. Therefore, I joined the Egyptian Banking Institute (subsidy of Central Bank of Egypt) as a certified instructor, my courses covering topics related to analyzing the product-client matrix, the best practices for effective product development, marketing and delivery channels skills as well as the success factors for effective selling techniques.

2018 was a turning point in my career life. After 26 years of work in the e-payment field in Egypt and some time in Qatar, I moved to UAE where I joined Network International as the GM for acquiring business in the Middle East.

In 2020, I decided to formalize my consulting business and I have established my own digital payment consultancy company “WAVE Consulting”. I help clients transform their electronic payments by offering consultancy to address the end-to-end needs of payments technology.

Recently, I joined Multi Level Technology Group, a unique fintech company in UAE, which specializes in processing automation and payment solutions, I am quite interested in their work on digital transformation and I am providing support in this area.

Throughout my years of work, I developed a strong interest and passion for electronic payments. The most interesting thing about this field is that it is constantly evolving with giant innovations. I have also developed a special interest in the finance of small and micro enterprises, as this segment is disadvantaged when it comes to credit scoring and financing. I have always thought of ways to support this segment as they seek credit to finance genuine endeavours that translate creative ideas into income-generating projects. While working for QNB, I took up the challenge to establish a new lending program through a credit-scoring model that would reduce the turn-around-time for small and micro enterprises applications.

Looking back on your career, what are some key moments that have helped or hindered you in getting to where you are?

The loss of my husband was a turning point in my life and my career. I lost him in a car accident, it was a big shock. I was only twenty-seven and my son was very young. He was my backbone, supporting me in all my career and life steps. I felt death approaching and I had to choose one of two options, either to surrender and fall into depression, lose myself, my career and affect my son’s life or to call on my power and rise in order to save my life and my son’s life. I took up the challenge and I rose again. I decided to work hard and transfer the knowledge I gained to younger generations in order to leave a legacy behind.

What one factor has helped you the most throughout your career?

Focus is the most important factor that helped me achieve and progress throughout my career. I also set goals at the start of every task. This helps me to keep focused and work hard to achieve the goal. In addition, I have a strong personality and high level of self-confidence that allow me to take up challenges and get through tough times. I have always had an eagerness to learn and to take challenges and transform them into innovative experiences. I am also committed to high values and ethics that guide my life and work.

Do you have a mentor/role model in your career? What is the value in having a mentor or being a mentor?

I was lucky to have many mentors during my career life. Those mentors were role models and a source of inspiration. They provided me with huge support through guiding, lending wisdom, teaching, encouraging and empowering me. They also helped me identify and set my goals and develop a broad perspective on career opportunities.

As a mentor, what advice would you give to your mentees?

I would advise my mentees to set goals and focus on achieving them. I encourage them to learn and look for growth opportunities and take up challenges. I also advise them to always stick to their values and principles and follow them.

Do you think that your gender has ever hindered you or blocked any personal progression?

I have never considered gender as an obstacle in my career development. In the different institutions I worked for, my colleagues and managers have always treated me as a member of the team without any gender discrimination. Early in my career, I worked in a department that was considered “men only”, I was the first woman to join that department. However, I never experienced discrimination from my colleagues or managers.

Some of the obstacles that hinder women’s progressions come from the culture that still feeds into the ideas favouring women getting married and staying at home to cook and raise kids, while many women have the capabilities and talent to do much more. Some disappointing ideas and behaviours even come from women who advise other women to give up working and choose easier options of getting married and staying at home instead of accepting challenges and building a successful career path.

How does your work-life balance look like?

I succeeded in achieving a work-life balance as I have good time management skills. I am a multi-tasker; I can perform different tasks at the same time with high focus. I always focus on achievement. I set short-term and long-term goals and I work on achieving more every day.

Do you have any advice for working moms on how to progress and succeed?

I advise working moms to try to manage their time efficiently to achieve a life-work balance. The best way for achieving a balance is to divide time between family and work and focus on each area separately. They should also prioritize tasks according to their importance. Moms should continuously evaluate their capabilities. Pursuing a career should not result in neglecting their families. If a mom finds difficulty in striking a balance, then the family should be always a priority.

What is the main thing you’ve seen in any organisation that you think works, from a diversity point of view, or that enables women to progress?

I did not experience any aspect of gender discrimination in the organizations I worked for. The decisive factors for success and progression are the person’s capabilities, level of performance and achievements.

It is worth mentioning that, back in the time, there were no special arrangements for women in the organizations I worked for. Maybe things have changed now, there is an improvement in terms of allowing moms to extend their maternity leaves. Also, some organizations have nurseries and offer part-time and work from home options.

Is there anything you are doing to help emerging female leaders (within organisations/in general)?

I love the idea of supporting female leaders. I have been thinking of a way to achieve this through my newly established business. I am quite interested in designing a training package for young people to share with them the basics of digital payments and help them understand the major trends of the industry. This could support them in making career choices and identifying areas of contribution. In addition, I want to target certain disadvantaged women groups such as small and micro-entrepreneurs. I believe I can provide them with financial advice to help run and boost their businesses.

Posted about 3 years ago
About the author:
Ahmad Mahmood

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