25 professional women mentored by Reach in year 1

  • First Annual Event attended by over 100 mentors, mentees, founders, advisors and partners
  • 25 mentor-mentee pairs made up first cohort in 2014; second cohort now includes 51 pairs

Reach, a non-profit organisation incorporated in the DIFC, which is dedicated to professional women mentoring and leadership, has marked a successful first year of operation at its first Annual Event which saw mentors, mentees, founders, advisors and partners come together for an evening of engaging speeches and panel discussions around the theme of [mentorship].

Established in 2013 by four successful business women, Reach aims to build a community where aspiring female professionals can interact with business leaders. The structured one-year mentoring programme gives female professionals access to impressive business leaders of both genders across various sectors. Mentees are paired with mentors through a specialised online platform that selects the most suitable match by aligning their interests, goals and objectives.

Reach has a strong and diverse Advisory Committee whose members come from well-known Emirati and multinational institutions and are dedicated to the objectives of the organisation. They have also partnered with leading multinational corporate and educational organizations including, Thomson Reuters, 

Farah Foustok, Founder of Reach and Chief Executive Officer of Lazard Gulf Ltd, said: “Reach was created to allow for a structured mentoring program and our desire to help develop the next generation of female professionals in the Middle East. We identified a gap in mentoring opportunities for women and sought to address it by giving them access to a group of very successful business leaders. It is a journey of hope and inspiration, of new links and opportunities, and the results have exceeded our expectations.”

The first cohort saw 25 professional women mentees complete the programme at the end of 2014. The feedback has been very positive and as a result of high demand the second cohort includes two groups. The first consists of 26 pairs that were matched in January 2015 and a second group of mentees and mentors was just matched this month and includes 25 pairs.

Fatma Almarri, Reach Advisor and CEO of KHDA remarked: “Reach offers mentoring, guidance and leadership support for professional women, in order to realize their true abilities and their key roles. These programs will have a positive impact on women to excel both in the workplace and life in general.”

Rana Ghandour Salhab, Reach Advisor, Mentor and Partner at Deloitte Middle East, commented: “Leaders are not only born; they are made. Mentors, particularly in the middle management stage of any professional’s career, are invaluable because they assist these young managers in building their capabilities, they open up opportunities for them, and bring them C-suite leadership insights. Being a member of the Reach Advisory Committee gave me a unique insight into the impact such a pioneering organization could make in the advancement of UAE women leaders.”

Versha Shivshanker, Mentee and Business Analyst at Nomura, added: “It is important to have someone challenge you, inspire you and push you to give your best. My Reach mentor did all of that, helping improve my confidence and support my career development. I encourage everyone to have a mentor, whether in your organisation, through your network or as part of a structured programme like Reach.”

Reach has also partnered with key educational and professional institutions to provide workshops for their mentors and mentees, in addition to a series of informal networking opportunities throughout the year enhance the Reach community and provide continuity for the skills and support needed by professional women.