Porsche’s “Drive Defines Her” campaign: How a Saudi entrepreneur turned loss into success
Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE has uncovered empowering stories of successful women from across the region, each making significant strides within their respective lines of work. The inspirational #DriveDefinesHer campaign aims to support, highlight and celebrate the determination of female leaders across the Gulf.
Drive Defines Her’ shines a spotlight on successful businesswomen in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, by sharing their inspirational stories, while encouraging others to pursue careers in male-dominated professions. The campaign is centred around Porsche’s commitment to supporting female leadership within the organization and beyond.
Adwa al Dakheel says female empowerment is about investing in one’s self as new campaign by Porsche highlights inspirational women
A renowned Saudi Arabian entrepreneur has revealed how an early financial loss motivated her to succeed and has encouraged more women to step outside of their comfort zones.
Adwa Al Dakheel – who, at 28 years old already wears the multiple hats of stock trader, CEO, writer, entrepreneur, pilot and musician – said being the best version of herself drives all her efforts.
“What made me enter the business world was my obsession with financial independence. In 24 hours, I was able to turn $1,000 into $2,800. But then, in 48 hours, the profit went into negative $128. This loss motivated me to try again and be the best in this field,” said Al Dakheel.
Al Dakheel was speaking as part of luxury automotive Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE’s new inspirational campaign featuring her along with two other determined and driven women from the Gulf region.
The campaign, #DriveDefinesHer, marks the upcoming release of the new Panamera in the Middle East early next year. It shines a spotlight on the three women by showcasing their aspirational stories through video while encouraging other women in the Middle East to pursue careers in male-dominated professions.
“Staying in our comfort zone limits our potential. Flying was a personal accomplishment of mine, especially as a woman,” said Al Dakheel.
“Female empowerment begins from within: you have a gift and that is the chance to invest in yourself, day after day, and to be the best version you can be,” she continued.
Al Dakheel, who is also the CEO of Falak Business Hub, her trip with the United Nations to Bangladesh in 2017 changed her perception about money completely.
“I felt that money became a tool I can use to help create an impact for people in need. With my latest venture, Falak Business Hub, we were able to create 115 jobs in Saudi Arabia across several new businesses,” said Al Dakheel.
Al Dakheel advises aspiring young entrepreneurs to “work smarter not harder”. “With every challenge I face, I ask myself: are you just busy or are you productive? Are you working right or are you working hard?” she said.
“My love for adventure is what wakes me up every day and the opportunity to always experience something new. So if I were to sum up who I am, I’m an adventurer,” said Al Dakheel.
Porsche Middle East launched its campaign with Emirati filmmaker Nayla Al Khaja, followed by Al Dakheel, and with Kuwait architect Hend Almatrouk rounding up the series.
The video series starts at Porsche’s regional office in Dubai, with Shurooq Zainal’srecent appointment as Legal & Compliance Director for the MEA Region. Born and raised in Dubai, she is the organisation’s first female Emirati in the Director team and was previously selected to mentor Emirati students and graduates at the UAE Ministry of Youth Affairs’ Youth Hub, where she shared her experiences of working in the private sector. Commenting on her participation in the new campaign, Shurooq reflects: “I’ve always been driven to do things differently, to not follow the traditional path for Emirati women but to create a new one for myself. I want to encourage more women to push the limits of their abilities in order to change their perception.”
The second female Porsche employee to be portrayed is German-born Aileen Fahr, who joined Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE in 2020 and holds a senior position in the regional sales team – an area of the business that has been typically male-dominated. She credits her first career in an emergency unit at a hospital as a defining chapter in her life and one that shaped her into the empowering female she is today. Speaking from her experience she says: “The key to empowerment is to see the value in yourself. It is a gift that, as women, we should not hold on to, but pass on freely.”
Nayla Al Khaja
Representing the UAE is Nayla Al Khaja, the first female film director and producer in the UAE, whose project was accepted by Cannes Film Festival and marked the first one by an Emirati. Her drive to succeed and the sacrifices she has made along the way, motivate her to tell her stories through film. She believes she is now in a fortunate position where people look to her as a role model; a responsibility she relishes as she works to inspire the next generation of female Arab filmmakers. “Being part of this campaign has been an unforgettable experience. To work alongside other driven females has been extremely motivating and something I will never forget. Knowing that I can encourage other young women out there to break out of their comfort zone and overcome their fears, is very important to me.”