I was very proud and honoured to have met Ms. Jumana Abu-Hannoud, the Managing Director of SOS Children’s Village International, Gulf Area Office at Middlesex University Dubai today, where she was presenting on issues of global importance. Jumana won the Emirates Woman of the year and the Humanitarian of the year award 2017. She has an amazing background of leadership and works hard to empower women in the region, offering mentoring through various organisations and ‘Reach’ (see www.reachmentoring.org). Offering lots of advice and nuggets of wisdom today, a key message from Jumana was that you always had to be ready with your ’10 second elevator pitch’ – if HH Sheikh Mohammed walked through the door right now and asked you what support you would like to reach what goals and to make what impact, what would you say? Would you be ready? What if it were another organization?
For Jumana, the secret is in knowing who you are talking to, their interests, their needs, and aligning your interests with theirs. A good person for all aspiring leaders to chat with.
Jumana Abu-Hannoud comes from a seat of policy making in the humanitarian and public service field, having served as Chief of Staff for HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister, Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
During her five-year tenure with HRH Princess Haya, Jumana started out as Communications Director and was at the heart of the development of several national, regional and international strategies and projects in the fields of health, education, social development, peace and humanitarian aid.
She was appointed by Royal Decree as Member of the Board of Directors of the International Humanitarian City, a dedicated free zone authority of the Dubai Government that facilitates humanitarian aid and development work. She was also tasked with the restructuring and transitional management of the IHC for two years, during which she also managed the humanitarian portfolio of HRH Princess Haya as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and Messenger of Peace.
In 2010, Jumana ventured into entrepreneurship and established a first of its kind agency specializing in CSR, fundraising and humanitarian communications. She then became a partner at FEEL Brands, where she leads responsible branding and consulted on projects for WFP, UNICEF, Dubai Cares and Plan International. She also worked as a Public Information Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and supported the SOS International Children’s Villages, Gulf Area Office in a voluntary advisory capacity for 3 years prior to joining the organization as Managing Director of the Gulf Area Office.
Committed to women’s leadership, Jumana is a Founding Partner of Reach Mentoring, the first non-profit incorporated organization in DIFC, dedicated to female mentoring and professional development in the Middle East. She is also a co-founder and Steering Committee member of the 30% Club GCC chapter, a collaboration platform for businesses and individuals to accelerate representation of women on boards and in senior executive positions. She also headed Corporate Affairs & Sustainability for Hills Group, owners of the largest outdoor advertising agency in the Middle East among 13 successful multi-sector businesses.
Jumana is a graduate of the University of Jordan, a certified Chief Sustainability Officer by the International Leadership Management (ILM) organisation in the UK, and a member of the Wharton Executive Education alumni.
Throughout her 18+ years of experience in executive management, entrepreneurship, corporate affairs, sustainability, external relations and fundraising she worked for government, United Nations, NGO’s, start-ups and the private sector where she was heavily involved in designing national and international campaigns and strategies. She currently heads the Gulf Area Office for SOS Children’s Villages International as Managing Director.