gender diversity
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I aim to advocate for gender diversity and equality in all aspects of the profession, from leadership positions to project teams

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I aim to advocate for gender diversity and equality in all aspects of the profession, from leadership positions to project teams

gender diversity

Interview with Fabienne Abou Jawde, leabanese based in Khobar Saudi Aarabia, an architect and lighting designer currently serving as the Head of Studio for LDPi (Lighting Design Partnership International) in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

How have you navigated challenges as a female designer in the lighting industry, and what advice would you give to aspiring women in this field?

As a female designer in the lighting industry, I’ve encountered my fair share of challenges, but I’ve always approached them with resilience and determination. One of the key strategies I’ve employed is to focus on my expertise, skills, and creativity rather than getting bogged down by any perceived barriers. I’ve found that by consistently delivering high-quality work and staying true to my vision, I’ve been able to earn the respect of my peers and clients regardless of gender.

My advice to aspiring women in this field is to embrace your unique perspective and voice. Build confidence, don’t shy away from opportunities to showcase your talent and expertise. Always carry a metaphorical flashlight – confidence is your best illumination in dark corners. Seek out mentors and allies who can support and champion you along the way. Remember that diversity in design leads to richer, more innovative solutions, so don’t be afraid to let your individuality shine. And above all, never underestimate the power of perseverance and self-belief. You have the ability to make a significant impact in the lighting industry, so go forth with confidence and passion.
And lastly, remember to laugh along the way – because sometimes, the best way to light up a room is with a good sense of humour. After all, who says a woman can’t brighten up the world one watt at a time

What are your future goals as a female leader in the lighting industry, especially concerning women empowerment?

As a female leader in the lighting industry, my future goals revolve around fostering a more inclusive and empowering environment for women. One of my key objectives is to actively mentor and support aspiring female architects and lighting designers, providing them with opportunities for growth and advancement within the industry.

I aim to advocate for gender diversity and equality in all aspects of the profession, from leadership positions to project teams. This includes promoting policies and initiatives within my own practice and collaborating with industry organizations to create more equitable opportunities for women.

Furthermore, I’m committed to showcasing the work of talented female designers and architects, both within my own projects and through platforms such as conferences, publications, and online media channels . By amplifying their voices and contributions, I hope to inspire the next generation of women to pursue careers in architecture and lighting design.

Ultimately, my goal is to help build a future where women feel valued, respected, and empowered to thrive in the lighting industry, contributing their unique perspectives and talents to create innovative and sustainable built environments.

Describe a situation where you had to overcome gender-related obstacles in your career and how it shaped your leadership style.

Early in my career, I encountered a significant gender-related obstacle when I was overlooked for a leadership position on a high-profile project in favour of a male colleague with less experience . Despite my qualifications and contributions to the team, my gender seemed to overshadow my capabilities in the eyes of decision-makers.

Rather than allowing this setback to deter me, I chose to confront the challenge head-on, advocating for myself and highlighting my skills and achievements. I initiated a candid conversation with my superiors, articulating my desire for equal opportunities and demonstrating my readiness to take on leadership roles.

Through perseverance and determination, I eventually earned the respect and recognition I deserved, leading to opportunities to lead projects and teams in the future. This experience profoundly shaped my leadership style, reinforcing the importance of assertiveness, resilience, and advocacy.

As a leader, I prioritize creating environments where all voices are heard and valued, regardless of gender. I strive to foster a culture of inclusivity and equality, where talent and merit are the primary determinants of success. I am committed to challenging gender biases and stereotypes within the industry, advocating for greater representation and opportunities for women in leadership positions.

Moreover, my experience navigating gender-related obstacles has instilled in me a deep sense of empathy and understanding for others facing similar challenges. I am dedicated to supporting and mentoring aspiring women in the field, providing guidance, encouragement, and opportunities for growth.

In essence, overcoming gender-related obstacles in my career has strengthened my resolve to lead with integrity, authenticity, and a commitment to equity. It has reinforced my belief in the transformative power of diversity and inclusion, inspiring me to champion change and empower others to reach their full potential.

In what ways do you believe female leadership positively impacts innovation and creativity in architecture and design?

Female leadership in architecture and design is like adding a splash of colour to a blank canvas—it brings vibrancy and depth to the creative process! By offering diverse perspectives, fostering collaboration, and embracing risk-taking, women leaders infuse innovation into every aspect of their work. Their emotional intelligence and resilience further enhance this dynamic, creating spaces that not only look good but also feel right. Through mentorship and empowerment, these leading ladies are not just designing buildings; they’re shaping the future of design itself!

How do you approach fostering diversity and inclusivity within your team at LDPi, particularly in a male-dominated field?

In my role as head of studio at LDPi’s Khobar branch, fostering diversity and inclusivity within my team is a key priority, especially in a field that is traditionally male-dominated. To promote inclusivity, I actively encourage open communication and collaboration among team members, regardless of their background or gender.

I also strive to create a supportive and empowering environment where everyone feels valued and respected. This includes actively seeking out diverse perspectives and ideas, and ensuring that all team members have equal opportunities for growth and development.

Additionally, I am committed to promoting gender diversity within our team by actively recruiting and retaining talented women in architecture and lighting design. This includes providing mentorship and support to female team members, as well as advocating for gender equality in the workplace.

Overall, fostering diversity and inclusivity within my team is not just about meeting a quota, but about creating a truly inclusive and innovative work environment where everyone can thrive and contribute their best work.

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