Sky’s the Limit

Watch out glass ceilings, Hind Al Zahid is coming for you.

We spoke to Hind Al Zahid, the first Saudi woman to work as an executive director and member of Dammam Airports, about her personal life, professional journey, future goals and the position of women in the Saudi workforce.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a wife, mother of two and a businesswoman. Beside my work as an executive director and member of Dammam Airports, I’m the head of the Businesswomen Center in The Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EPCCI), an advisory member in the King Faisal University and Imam ibn Abdulrahman University advisory boards, a Steering Committee member for Women’s Employment and a co-founder of Zoha Arabia Co., a retail company based in Khobar.

I hold a BA in English literature from Imam ibn Abdulrahman University and an MBA from Gulf University in Bahrain.

What is the biggest obstacle facing Saudi women in labor?

It’s the unequal opportunities in the workplace, also known as the “glass-ceiling” effect, which prevents women from obtaining promotions and upper-level positions. This is not an institutional problem because, as of 2006, the law had been very clear in allowing equal opportunities. However, it’s the stereotypic assumptions that need to change; the ones that perceive women as unfit for leadership roles.

My mission is to change that. I aim to empower women and to give them those opportunities.

What could be done to solve this issue?

I believe in implementing a top-down approach which simply puts women in places of power to press for change that empower women and advance their rights. Thankfully, our country is extremely supportive. Vision 2030 gives a significant emphasis to the Saudi woman and believe in her abilities and her leading role in developmental changes.

On a larger scale, I strongly believe in establishing specialized institutions that ensure decent work opportunities for women and protect their rights as workers. I hope that one day we can establish a Ministry of Women and Family Affairs or a Supreme Council for Women.hindalzahid_2017-1

What do you think of the current status and conditions of Saudi working women? 

There’s no doubt that it’s improved a lot and I’m very proud to have witnessed and even been part of some of these changes. In my job with EPCCI, we were involved in changing many of the labor laws.

For instance: previously, the law required women business owners to always have a male manager running things. Now women can solely and completely run their own business. Also, we helped in granting official beauty salons licenses where previously no such license existed; instead they had been operating under tailoring licenses. Official licensing is important to increase the quality of the offered services, promote healthy competition and allow better monitoring.

So, what’s the secret to your success?

Knowing my mission in life: Women empowerment.

Every one of us has their own mission. Everyone is put on earth to deliver a message and fulfill a purpose. Know what wakes you up thinking about every day and pursue it unwaveringly.

What helps you recharge outside of work?

I slow down, stay in the moment and enjoy the simple things in life, like the taste of a good cup of coffee or the smell of a fragrant flower.

I also have an early morning ritual where I wake up at 5 a.m. every day and walk for an hour. This clears my mind and sets me up for the rest of the day.

Can women balance between life and work?

Of course, they can, but this will require some effort. Personally, I always put my family first. I dedicate my weekends to my family and never attend events, weddings or gatherings that take me away from them. On weekdays, I have two fixed hours (from 4 to 6 p.m.) during which I make sure to spend some quality time with my two kids.

Any word of advice for our readers?

Women empowerment can only happen if we support each other as women. Work together, support each other and raise ourselves up together.


The Only Address You Need

Interviewing founder Faisal Alharbi.

Tell us about is a commercial network that provides a robust directory of all commercial venues in the region, including location, contact info, exclusive deals, social media and website addresses. Inwan already boasts more than 100,000 entries and will continue growing thanks to our “open collaboration” model which allows anyone to contribute information that we later verify.

What inspired you to start Inwan?

I’ve always had a passion for giving back to my community. When I came back to Saudi after graduating in 2006, I tried to search online for opportunities and was disappointed by the lack of information available, including basic things like working hours and locations of businesses. Sometimes the information would be outdated or flat-out wrong.

So, seeing a need, I created Inwan to provide a legitimate and collaborative website that would serve everyone reliable information.

What’s your vision for Inwan?

We aim to become the best online directory in Saudi Arabia and the Arab World by providing a complete, legit and up-to-date database for people to use and contribute to when they want to search for anything (e.g. universities, shops, malls, restaurants, companies, etc.).

We want people to think about the minute they need to search for anything. And while there are other services similar to ours, we feel that if we joined forces and collaborated together instead of competed, we could grow in strength and succeed together.

FaisalAlharbi_Khobar_2017_AA-5Do you think that getting a degree before starting a business is necessary?

Never let opportunity pass you by just because you think you don’t have enough formal knowledge. Take the chance and continue learning and developing. Knowledge is found everywhere; you only need to know where to look. University degrees alone won’t make you succeed in life, but experience and hard work will.

How was the inception and journey of making the site?

This site is the outcome of extensive research and design made by experts and engineers over the course of six years, dedicated to providing the best service we could. After consulting the right developers, I designed the business plan and hired a special company to develop the website.

My friends supported greatly with their contributions, especially since they came from different fields. Whether it was Ibrahim who took care of marketing, or Hashim, with his strong business sense that helped us with business development consultations. Everyone came together to make what we have today.

If you could only give one piece of advice to someone who plans to start his or her own business, what would it be?

“Product before profit.” Always focus on your business’s product or service. If you provide good service, you’ll get a good profit.



Ultimate List of Resorts in Sharqiya

1- Palm Beach Resort

Everything you could need at Palm Beach Resort is in the palm of your hands. In this resort, a variety of chalets and cabanas are offered to accommodate you and your family whatever its size. Also, you can enjoy many different marine activities such as jet skiing, swimming, and boat riding.

Address: Half Moon Bay, Al Azizia
Telephone: +966 13 896 6633

2- Golden Tulip Dana Bay

Golden Tulip Resort Dana Bay is beautifully located on the finest spot of the famous Half Moon area and enjoys the longest private golden beach in the Arabian Peninsula. The resort offers 140 beach front villas and chalets ranging from one to four bedrooms, and exclusive villas of five bedrooms with a private swimming pool.

Address: 2423 HALF MOON, Al Khobar
Telephone:  +966 1 38 963666. For Reservations:  800 358 0846

3- Mövenpick Beach Resort Al Khobar

This resort offers a perfect getaway with its 36 contemporary and spacious deluxe villas to choose from. At Mövenpick Beach Resort, you will enjoy a relaxed atmosphere complete with excellent resort facilities.

Location: Half Moon Bay Road, 31952  Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Telephone: +966 13 849 2999

4- Holiday Inn Resort Half Moon Bay

The luxurious Holiday Inn Resort Half Moon Bay is a great option for your family vacation. At this resort, you can enjoy 3 family-friendly swimming pools and a private beach. Also, depending on the size of your family, you can choose between guest rooms or spacious villas, all with views of stunning Half Moon Bay.

Address: Azizzia Area, Half Moon Bay, Al Khobar 39246, Saudi Arabia
Phone:+966 13 896 3333

5- Sunset Beach

One of the best places to visit in Sharqiya. This oasis of luxurious residences, swimming pools, full-service Ladies’ SPA and world-class Gentlemen’s health and fitness centers, offers you everything you want. Sunset Beach ensures you an experience that takes your perception of class and elegance to a whole new level.

More Details:
For Accommodation Reservations
Location : Sunset Blvd, Al Tahliyah, Al Khobar 34713, Saudi Arabia
Telephone: Phone +966 13 890 2000 Ext. 5001