Lubna Qassim: The Advocate of Gender Unity

As a lawyer of global reputation, Lubna Qassim, has made immense contribution to the legal landscape, and created milestones in Gender Equality

The Womenz had an opportunity to interact with Ms. Lubna Qassim, Executive Vice President and Group General Counsel, Emirates NBD, UAE here’s what she shared with us


Can you please tell us something about you? 

I'm the Executive Vice President, Chief Group Genreral Counsel & Company Secretary of EmiratesNBD. More than 17 years of legal experience. Educated in UK and qualified as a Lawyer both in UK & UAE. I am most passionate about Corporate Governance, Gender Parity and the Youth


In which fields you have expertise in?

Corporate Finance, Dispute Resolution & Governance


You are a multilingual. Which all languages you know?

I love languages. The conquest of learning is achieved through the knowledge of language.  The languages Inspeak are : English, Arabic, Persian, French, Hindi and still learning Mandarin. 


Please tell us about your  current role at Emirates NBD?

Currently, I am  an Executive Vice President, Chief Group Genreral Counsel & Company Secretary of EmiratesNBD. First Female to sit on the Executive Team of ENBD. I have a very demanding and exciting dual role at the Bank in managing all the legal matters and issues affecting the  entire Group.


How you got selected at Dubai Women’s Establishment? What is your role there?

I was elected by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Daughter Sheikha Manal bin Mohamed Al Maktoum who is the Chairmwoman of DWE to sit on the board of this esteemed Dubai government agency which champions the Women Agenda in the Emirate of Dubai. I believe I was chosen for the value I have added as a female Executive in Finance and contributing to the such a critical business as a GC. I take gender parity seriously and passionately advocate in my free time through my writings and public speaking



Which are the other entities you are associated with?

I sit on a number of boards both listed and non profitable organizations.


As a women did  you face any hurdles in your journey so far?  If yes,  how you faced & conquered them?

I would describe my journey so far as challenging and rewarding. I am grateful to all the challenges which came my way which has made me what I am today and wouldn't choose a different path even if I had a chance again. I have never allowed any wind to stand between me and my goal. Through resilience, preserverence and strong faith I have overcome. I have always lived by a beautiful mantra : Whenever life gave me 100 reasons to cry I have always showed life that I have 1000 reasons to smile.


How is your experience while working in other countries especially with working women?

I have been very privileged to work with Lawyers around the globe which makes me the Global lawyer that I am today. Through my experience in private practice I worked with both lawyers and clients in Asia, Latin America, America, UK and MENA ofcourse which gave me a very comprehensive cross border experience in my formative years. The challenges of female lawyers or working women generally whether in India, France or Japan remains the same. 


Please tell us your views on the women leadership  & providing her with equal opportunities?

Gender Parity is critically required not because it's a woman's issue but because there is a business case and most importantly it's a governance issue. It's important that corporations commit to gender diversity so they can ultimately be more profitable. I too often see women promoting this cause and yet the changes and progress have been very slow in the past 3 days. I believe, we will start witnessing a pragmatic shift when male executives including the Chairmens and CEOs will be seriously commiting as part of the yearly objective. The number of women in C-suite and the boardroom at a global level is alarming so Men to lean in and lead to close the gender parity gap.


You being a Govt. representative at many fronts, What are the reforms/suggestion you initiated for women?

During my years in the government I contributed to the Legal landscape of Dubai and worked on the reform of Economic Legislations in the UAE and its very rewarding to see many of these laws and policies materialized at country level. Through our work at DWE we extended the maternity leave in Dubai which was positively embraced.



It is said that there are too many restrictions  on the women rights in Middle-East countries? Is the scenario changing? How are you helping women to empower them?

Middle East is a very wide geography and both the statistics and the legislations vary from one country to another and another and moreover no two countries in the Middle East are the same so it would so it will be difficult to make a general credible comment.However, I can confidently speak for UAE which is ahead of the game and has been ranked 8th Globally for gender Parity by the World Economic forum. We have concluded many women friendly initiatives in the UAE. We have leaped milestones by appointing female ministers, female diplomats, female parliamentarians and so much more. Frankly speaking the list is endless of the empowerment of women in the public sector.


What is your biggest achievement so far?

There are quite a few however two which standout to mind is completing the reform of suite of federal economic laws and turning around a Foreign Dispute of 2Billion Dirhams into a victory.


Any message to women out there struggling to prove themselves?

Lead fearlessly and own your career- no one else can succeed the way you can!


 Thank you very much Ms. Lubna for sharing your views and experience which we are sure will help motivate all women across he world.


Ms. Lubna Qassim can be reached on twitterLinkedin


First Published: 31-Mar-2017- 18:44