Exclusive Interview with Wafa AlObaidat

Q1) What are some key challenges hindering the financial inclusion of women, and how can they be addressed?

Wafa AlObaidat: Financial inclusion remains a critical challenge for women globally. According to the World Bank, around 1.7 billion women remain unbanked, restricting their access to economic opportunities. To address this, we need comprehensive strategies that include advocating for policy changes, dismantling gender biases, and implementing financial literacy programs. At Playbook, our commitment to financial well-being is reflected in initiatives like the pay-it-forward scholarship program for girls in underserved communities. We’re also driven to make financing accessible to female-led ventures. Through the recent acquisition of Women Spark, we aim towards getting more female investors to participate in the ecosystem, and creating more deal flow towards female led ventures that are solving problems, especially for a female populace and creating a supportive ecosystem for them. As part of our financial flagship series we’ve held events in Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Kuwait, in partnership with The Family Office. We’ve covered topics around financial inclusion and development like ‘Crafting Your Personal Financial Advisory Board’, ‘Unleashing Financial Freedom, ‘Taking Charge of Your Personal Finances’ and ‘Rewiring Your Money Mindset’ to help women navigate the complexities of the financial landscape and take control of their financial journey.

Q2) How can organizations encourage and support the advancement of women into leadership positions?

Wafa AlObaidat: Organizations can support women’s leadership advancement by prioritizing mentorship, fostering inclusive cultures, providing tailored skill development, offering flexible work policies, implementing recognition programs, ensuring equal opportunities, and facilitating networking opportunities. Playbook actively contributes to this cause by providing a dynamic platform for women to access mentorship, diverse masterclasses, and a global network, creating a transformative space for leadership growth. We also work with leading organizations like Bapco, GiB, Talabat, Zain, NBB, Benefit and many more as their learning partners to equip their female employees with curated learning resources to help women navigate leadership challenges and also help to build more inclusive workplaces with access to equal opportunities. Playbook is committed to initiatives that empower women economically, support financial inclusion and foster entrepreneurship to contribute to a more inclusive
economic landscape.

Q3) How has the concept of leadership evolved in the digital age?

Wafa AlObaidat: The digital age demands a shift in leadership paradigms. According to a report by Deloitte, 94% of executives view digital transformation as a top strategic priority. Leadership now involves being agile, tech-savvy, and fostering innovation. Playbook’s emphasis on technology-enabled learning, with 5,000+ learning minutes and a cinematic library of masterclasses, aligns with this evolving leadership landscape. At Playbook, we’re all about embracing this digital evolution in leadership. We’re not just teaching; we’re preparing women leaders to thrive in the dynamic digital landscape, where being connected and tech-savvy is the name of the game.

Q4) What initiatives can encourage more women to pursue careers in the tech industry?

Wafa AlObaidat: Encouraging women in tech is crucial for industry growth. Only 25% of computing jobs are held by women and initiatives like coding bootcamps, partnerships with tech firms for internships, skill-building, mentorship programs and targeted educational outreach are vital. At Playbook, we’re actively implementing these ideas. Our platform provides mentorship opportunities, tech-focused masterclasses, and networking spaces. We’re creating an ecosystem where women feel supported and equipped to thrive in the tech industry. Now with the introduction of the Angel Investor Membership and Female Founder Membership, we’re expanding our efforts to encourage women to actively participate in the tech industry by providing them with avenues for practical application and networking.

Q5) How can edtech contribute to bridging educational gaps for women?

Wafa AlObaidat: Edtech is a powerful tool for educational inclusivity. EdTech contributes by making education more accessible and tailored to individual needs. It is a means to go beyond traditional education by providing a bridge between learning and real-world application. Playbook’s mission aligns with bridging these educational gaps by offering accessible and flexible learning opportunities through cinematically-produced masterclasses, networking opportunities, and 1:1 mentorship, Playbook ensures that women receive actionable skills and support for personal and professional growth, actively addressing educational gaps and empowering them on their journeys.

Q6) What skills are essential for effective leadership in the era of digital transformation?

Wafa AlObaidat: In today’s digital era, leadership demands adaptability, tech-savviness, and a visionary outlook. It’s about embracing change, utilizing technology for growth, and fostering innovation. My experiences emphasize the need for a forward-thinking approach, creating an environment that encourages creative problem-solving, and continuous learning.

Q7) What is ‘Playbook’? What Is Its Mission?

Wafa AlObaidat: Playbook is driven by an unyielding passion to empower women worldwide. It’s not just an edtech platform; it’s a transformative force, a vibrant community, and a practical tool for real-world impact. Our mission extends beyond education; it’s about bridging the gap between learning and doing, fostering leadership, and contributing to positive change globally. Playbook, as a fully female-founded venture, embodies values of diversity, inclusion, and innovation, aiming to redefine the narrative for women in every corner of the world. It’s more than a platform; it’s a movement, a catalyst for empowering women on their leadership journeys, and a testament to our commitment to fostering positive change and financial inclusion through innovative programs and resources. Playbook, at its core, represents a new era of possibilities for women, providing not just education but a roadmap to success and advancement.

Q8) As an entrepreneur, what is the best advice you can give to young women hoping to start on their entrepreneurship journey?

Wafa AlObaidat: Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey is a thrilling yet challenging endeavor. My advice to young women: Trust your vision, embrace resilience, and never underestimate the power of your unique perspective. In the digital age, opportunities abound, and your voice matters. Encouraging entrepreneurship in young women is crucial for economic growth. Data from Crunchbase shows that female-founded startups receive only 2.2% of global venture capital funding. My advice stems from experience – build a strong support network, seek mentorship, and leverage platforms like Playbook, where 150+ expert mentors can guide you on your entrepreneurial journey and offer tangible pathways for young women to enter the entrepreneurial landscape, providing them with the necessary resources and connections to thrive.

Q9) What are the essential foundations you develop in every business you have established?

Wafa AlObaidat: In my entrepreneurial journey, I anchor every venture in the pillars of purpose, inclusivity, and impact. It’s about building ventures that not only thrive but contribute meaningfully to positive change in society. Playbook, a testament to these values, stands as a global force for women empowerment. Purpose propels our mission, inclusivity shapes our diverse community, and impact defines our transformative influence on women’s lives. These foundations, anchored in my commitment to fostering positive change, resonate in every endeavor that can hopefully create a legacy that transcends business into a powerful force for societal progress.

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مارس 26, 2024/

Nisreen Deeb has more than 13 years in the IT industry by consulting businesses on their digital  transformation journey and 10 years in the social entrepreneurship by co-founding many  initiatives to empower youth and women in Lebanon, and currently she is the director of the  Lebanese League for Women in Business. She is certified from international institutions on  leadership, management, governance of organizations, and roles of policies in development.  Nisreen is involved in encouraging young women to appreciate STEAM and aspires to global  reach through the power of technology, which is perceptible from her winning achievement in  2013 as a one of the top 5 TechWomen emerging leaders in Lebanon and spent five weeks in  Silicon Valley.   Cultivating Opportunities: Nisreen’s Dedication to Empowering Lebanon’s…

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