What helped shape the woman you are today?
Many factors helped Suaad make up the woman she is today. The first of them was the strength of my mother, which refined a strength in me as well, and made me draw from this strength until I reach my goals and achieve my success. And the difficult circumstances I went through throughout my studies and challenges made me more patient and more believing that every goal is achievable and that I am a strong, dreamy, patient woman who believes in herself, as she still does to this day.
What did you want to be growing up?
For as long as I dreamed of the world of aviation, I loved planes and I always called them my love until I found what I wanted in aviation engineering. I loved the field and decided to specialize in it.
What are your thoughts on women’s role in a male-dominated field?
I find that the role of women in a field that some think is for men is no different than the role of a man, because a woman is able to be beside of a man in any field, whether it is the field of aviation, medicine, oil, or space. As long as she is passionate about what she’s doing, she can succeed. Nowhere is it written that a certain field should be for a man only.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d been given?
Be different, but not stupid!
What piece of advice would you give to any startup woman out there?
Be you, wherever, whenever, and however. Be passionate about yourself, about your career, and most importantly, enjoy each minute of every day!
Can you name three essential components a Leader must possess?
Well, if I could choose, it will be four not three:
First, a great leader is a teacher and a coach, not a dictator. They support their teams, and help them develop and grow.
Second, great leaders are prepared for change to happen at any moment. They’re able to think and make decisions quickly, and – most importantly – they know how to rally their teams to make things happen.
Third, Respect is a two-way street, and it must be given to be received in return. Great leaders understand this, and show their teams respect through trust. No employee likes to be micromanaged.
Last but not least, great leaders can tailor their communication styles to meet the needs of any situation. A leader must be an excellent listener, in order to truly understand the needs of their team. Great leaders understand that different situations call for different communication styles, and are able to switch between them with ease. Without a high level of communication skills, no leader will truly be successful.
Can you talk about one woman who has significantly impacted your life? Do you have a role model?
My mother has significantly impacted my life: a single mother at the age of 26 with four children taught me how to be a real woman, which led me to be the person I am today.
In the aviation field, Amelia Earhart is the icon of inspiration to all strong women in our field.
Where does writing teleport you to? If you were to live in one of the novels you wrote, which one would you choose, and why?
The world of novels is another world made for flying, so my mind and my heart fly to another realm. A realm that may be real, and may be fictitious. But the closest to my heart is the series of “Lover between Bulaq and Dubai”. Many ask me to write the third part; my heart does too.And because this novel lived many details, I visited places, I visited the corners, whether in Dubai or Cairo, I introduced people to the beauty of coexistence of other customs and cultures.
You recently shared a message about your superpower. What message would you like to send to women who are not able to live to their full potential and accomplish their aspirations because of setbacks caused by society-inflicted limitations, such as abuse, bullying, intimidation by a male-dominated field, etc.
Through my messages on the Social Media platforms, I try to send a message to women to shut down the violence and hatred that can be practiced against them, changing their destiny.
God honored women, the prophets as well, and all the monotheistic religions. Women must remember this in order to live a life full of beauty, love, and peace, away from fear. Every woman, subsequently, will be able to be a strong and successful female.
Do you see women more included in the world of aviation 10 years from now?
I can see more women leaders in the world of aviation in less than 10 years!
How have you been perceived so far, being the first female Emirati aircraft engineer in a male-dominated field?
Initially, there had been skepticism and fear, thinking that it was only a title or a name, but when I worked hard like the rest of the men did and I got officially promoted from technician to engineer, everyone around me became aware of my diligence. They then began to ask for my opinion relating to their daughters or sisters entering the field themselves. Awareness lectures and workshops facilitating the entry of girls to the field of aviation and engineering in particular started booming afterwards!
Do you think women can offer something to the world of aviation that men cannot?
I think she can add beside the man.
What are your thoughts on youth education in the Middle East in regards of further integrating the concepts of gender balance?
Education in the Middle East has evolved so much most schools and universities now have equal specializations for young men and women, and there have been awareness-raising initiatives on the importance of gender equality at school and at the workplace.
What initiatives do you believe can be done towards supporting women in the Middle East in general, and in your respective field in particular?
Many initiatives can contribute to building the future of women in the field of aviation. These initiatives can include but are not limited to opening the field for students to explore the various disciplines that fall under the field of aviation, through implementing summer training courses for example. Another initiative would be enticing major companies to shed the light on the importance of introducing a communication platform between the brilliant and persevering individuals in the field of aviation and the general public and opening a full dialogue aiming to support the presence of women in the field of aviation.
What’s next for Dr. Eng. Suaad AlShamsi?
Many things are coming Dr. Eng. Suaad Alshamsi’s way this year and the coming year as well. The biggest news at the moment is that I started my own company called L2L (Learn to Live) which provides consultancies to the youth in choosing their career paths, while working on empowering women in parallel.
To know more about Dr. Eng. AlShamsi, visit this link.