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News releases 2016

WBN’s Chair outlines plans & initiatives for reaching out to wider business community at 6th conference

The Middle East & Africa Women’s Business Network (WBN) – an internal group set up by Atkins in the region to drive gender diversity across the industry - held its 6th conference last Tuesday, October 25th 2016 at the Burjuman Arjaan Hotel under the banner of “Step Forward – Enabling you to reach your potential”.

Kathleen McGrail, chairperson of the WBN opened the conference with a detailed outline of the WBN’s vision and ambitions for women in the construction industry and shared the WBN’s progress and initiatives, which includes regular networking events, coaching and mentoring, and collaboration with other women’s business and networking groups.

Kathleen McGrail further emphasised “The next phase for the WBN is geared towards harnessing the positive energy & efforts thus far towards encouraging other business leaders to support the retention of talented women and achieving senior roles in the industry whilst continuing to focus on mentoring and coaching women within the organisation.”

Kathleen’s opening remarks were followed by Ms Donna Sultan, CEO of KEO International Consultants & keynote speaker to the event at the invitation of Atkins. Ms Sultan spoke to an audience of 150 women and men about her journey to becoming a respected leader in a typically male dominated industry. She discussed how she rose through the ranks through an impeccable work ethic, mental fortitude, and a dedication to the well-being of others to become a successful & internationally recognized woman while also providing insights into how to deal with the challenges and tribulations of being a female in an industry that has generally preferred to maintain the status quo.

Activities & lectures at the conference highlighted the benefits the construction industry stands to gain from the growing number of talented and ambitious women who are building their careers in the sector providing them with the tools necessary to successfully develop their careers, navigate conflicts, and negotiate effectively through confidence building exercises and leadership development workshops.

The Women’s Business Network was launched in August 2014 as a regional community for women to share their experiences, gain support across the Atkins group of businesses in the region including Faithful+Gould, Atkins Acuity & Atkins Energy, and most importantly to retain and attract women into the business and create a positive gender balance in senior roles moving forward.

It continues to garner strong support from internal and external stakeholders all looking to promote gender diversity balance in a traditionally male-dominated industry.


For more information:

Nada Mogharbel
Senior Communications Manager
Middle East & Africa

Dale Potts
Director, Marketing and Communications
Middle East & Africa
+971 4509 8891
+971 4405 9581

Notes to editors:

Kathleen McGrail is  Director of Cities & Infrastructure for Atkins Acuity and current chairperson of the WBN.

Atkins ( is one of the world's most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, employing some 18,600 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. We build long term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas. You can view Atkins’ recent projects on our website.

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