Global Women Forum - Introducing Hana Nasser

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Global Women Forum - Introducing Hana Nasser

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Hana Nasser during the Global Women in Pipeline event in Berlin, April 2024 (© EITEP)
Hana Nasser during the Global Women in Pipeline event in Berlin, April 2024 (© EITEP)

Hana Nasser is an exponential coach, international speaker, mentor, and mediator with over 25 years of experience. She has led human rights and empowerment projects in the Middle East, focusing on peace and sustainable development. Hana holds multiple degrees in translation, mediation, an MBA, and certifications in healing and coaching. Her extensive career includes roles as a consultant, coordinator, director, and project manager in governmental, non-profit, and private sectors. Hana was also a speaker at the Global Women in Pipeline event, presenting "Empowering Through Leadership: Nurturing Mentorship for Women."

1. As a woman with extensive experience in various fields, including conflict management and empowerment, how did you find your way into the energy business, particularly within the realm of pipeline technology?

Although women comprise 39% of the global labor force according to the International Energy Agency IEA, they represent only 16% of the traditional energy sector, with even fewer in management. The barriers women face in this sector mirror those in the broader economy, but they are more urgent due to the sector's transformation. Clean energy transitions demand innovative solutions, new business models, and increased participation from a diverse talent pool.

My journey into the energy sector, particularly within pipeline technology, has been a fulfilling experience, rooted in my passion for coaching, training, and mentoring others to achieve their best potential. Here’s how I support individuals, especially women, to navigate this dynamic industry by organizing their inner world to excel in their outer world.

But before starting any support in any field you have to get aware who you really are, how you ended up where you are now and where you really want to go. Women with whom I work are invited to build confidence and clarity, exploring their strengths, values, and passions, essential for thriving in the industry. Emphasizing personal development, I help cultivate a growth mindset and resilience, crucial for tackling challenges and seizing opportunities, especially in a man dominated environment. Through targeted training, women are led to enhance soft skills, including project management and strategic planning, necessary for effective leadership and alignment with company’s goals. Specialized training in conflict management and negotiation empowers clients to handle complex stakeholder interactions. My tools vary between mentoring, coaching and consulting and focus on empowering women leaders, facilitating networking, and advocating for career growth. I teach mindfulness and stress management techniques to maintain well-being and assist in setting clear, achievable goals. While committed to sustainability and impact, I focus on innovative problem-solving and efficient methodologies to drive success and make a meaningful difference in the industry.

2. Could you share some insights into the challenges you've faced as a woman navigating the predominantly male-dominated energy sector, especially in roles involving leadership and decision-making?

Navigating the predominantly male-dominated energy sector, especially in leadership roles, presents numerous challenges, but can be divided into three main challenges. Two are outer challenges, while the last one is an inner one: First challenge is the existing patriarchal system in the industry. The second challenge are the society’s norms, traditions and expectations. Third challenge (the inner one) pertains to the women themselves. While the first two topics need more systemic work and time and have to be tackled in parallel, I encourage women to work especially on the third challenge by staying at their end, changing their perspectives and attitudes, trusting themselves, learning how to strategize and work smarter, how to grow and gain more knowledge and expertise and how to make the necessary alliances. This means to tackle the things that they can control without falling for instance into the power-game, the blame-game or the victimhood. I help them turn the challenges into opportunities for growth and positive change. To break through stereotypes and biases which we all went through, I support women being the leaders they aiming at by getting more clarity on what is at stake, by gaining confidence and by demonstrating their expertise through successful projects and strategic decisions. Building credibility and authority involves smart work, continuous life-long learning, earning advanced certifications, and contributing to industry discussions. Women are asked to be responsible and in control of their life and advancement at work. So, focusing on seeking mentorship and networking opportunities, joining industry associations, and participating in women-in-energy networks to build robust support systems. Handling conflict and resistance through open communication and conflict resolution strategies, women learn to foster a collaborative atmosphere. Ultimately, my approach helps women navigate these obstacles, promote diversity, and contribute to a more equitable industry through resilience, continuous learning, and advocacy for inclusivity.

3. At the Global Women in Pipeline event in Berlin, you emphasized the significance of mentoring for businesswomen and youth. How do you believe mentoring can specifically benefit women in the energy industry, and what strategies can be employed to foster more mentorship opportunities?

Participating in the Global Women in Pipeline event in Berlin underscored the crucial role of mentoring for women in the energy industry, especially since women often feel the need to do everything perfectly and independently. Mentoring offers substantial personal and professional benefits, helping women overcome challenges, advance their careers, and contribute to a more inclusive sector. It provides valuable guidance, skill development in areas like leadership and negotiation, boosts confidence through encouragement and role modeling, and expands professional networks by introducing key industry contacts. Mentors help navigate barriers and offer problem-solving advice, fostering resilience and adaptability by helping individuals grow from their strengths and weaknesses.

Research (GITNUX MARKETDATA REPORT 2024/McKinsey) and experience show that mentoring rapidly develops leadership and interpersonal skills, improving competency by 71%. It enhances job satisfaction, with 91% of mentored workers feeling satisfied and 73% of Generation Z motivated to perform better. Additionally, mentoring reduces turnover costs significantly, as replacing specialized personnel in the oil and gas industry can cost 400% of their salary, leading to a 50% improvement in retention rates. To foster effective mentorship, companies should establish formal programs, promote diverse and inclusive relationships, leverage technology for virtual mentoring, encourage informal peer support, secure leadership commitment, and showcase success stories. These strategies empower women, facilitate career advancement, and create a more equitable industry.

4. In your experience, how does diversity, particularly gender diversity, contribute to innovation and success within the energy sector, specifically in the context of pipeline technology?

Diversity, particularly gender diversity, is crucial for driving innovation and success in the energy sector, including pipeline technology. My experience shows that diverse perspectives lead to better problem-solving, decision-making, and performance. Gender diversity enhances creativity and innovation by incorporating varied viewpoints, especially vital for addressing complex technical and environmental challenges, where women are more sensitive to them. It improves decision-making at all levels by balancing different perspectives, leading to comprehensive risk management. Additionally, an inclusive culture boosts employee engagement, retention, and job satisfaction as I said before, attracting top talent and fostering loyalty. 

Gender-diverse organizations also enjoy better reputations and stakeholder relations, facilitating smoother project implementation and stronger community engagement, as people feel more represented and their point of views taken into consideration. Diverse teams are more adaptable and resilient, essential for thriving in the fast-evolving energy sector. Promoting gender diversity involves leadership commitment, inclusive recruitment and retention, professional development, creating an inclusive work environment, and measuring progress. 

These strategies ensure a more innovative, resilient, and successful industry capable of meeting future challenges and opportunities and they suppose above all getting more aware, having the will to change and being a real leader and a visionary.

5. Given your background in conflict prevention and management, how do you see diversity and inclusion initiatives impacting organizational culture within energy companies, and what role can they play in mitigating potential conflicts or biases?

Given my background in conflict prevention and management, I recognize the pivotal role of diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives in shaping organizational culture within energy companies. These initiatives foster a harmonious, innovative, and productive work environment by creating an inclusive and respectful culture, enhancing communication and collaboration, and mitigating biases and discrimination. D&I initiatives promote a sense of belonging and respect, reducing conflicts arising from misunderstandings. They encourage open dialogue and teamwork, enhancing creativity and productivity. Training on unconscious bias and implementing equitable practices ensure fair treatment and opportunities for all employees. 

Additionally, conflict resolution training and support mechanisms help manage disputes constructively. An inclusive culture boosts employee engagement and retention, as employees feel valued and supported. Diverse teams drive innovation and provide market insights, giving companies a competitive edge. Effective D&I initiatives include robust anti-discrimination policies, leadership commitment, accountability measures, and continuous monitoring. By integrating D&I into their core values and operations, energy companies can build a more harmonious, innovative, and successful workplace.

6. As someone who has led projects in sensitive areas of the Middle East, what lessons or strategies from your work in conflict resolution and empowerment do you believe can be applied to promote diversity and inclusion within the global energy sector, particularly in regions where traditional gender roles may present additional challenges?

Drawing on my experience leading projects in the Middle East, I've gained valuable insights into conflict resolution and empowerment strategies that can be effectively applied to promote diversity and inclusion (D&I) within the global energy sector, particularly in regions where traditional gender roles pose challenges. Leveraging these lessons, it's crucial to prioritize cultural sensitivity and contextual understanding by tailoring D&I initiatives to respect local norms while driving progressive change. Empowering local leadership, championing allies, creating safe dialogue spaces, developing support networks, offering targeted skill development, implementing inclusive policies, promoting visibility of role models, facilitating conflict resolution, and conducting regular evaluations are key strategies. 

By adopting a nuanced approach rooted in cultural sensitivity and inclusivity, energy companies can foster D&I, enhance innovation, collaboration, and organizational success, even in regions with entrenched gender roles.

On a final notice and as change rapidly approaches, it's imperative that both men and women in the energy sector equip themselves to navigate the unforeseen challenges on the horizon. The full extent of these challenges may not yet be clear, but one thing is certain: diversity and inclusiveness, particularly the active participation of women, must accompany men in steering us safely through this transformative era. Embracing diversity, fostering an inclusive environment, and promoting mentoring among all genders can harness collective strength and insights to confront and overcome the obstacles that lie ahead, ensuring a brighter and more resilient future not only for the energy industry, but for other industries too!