Challenging the status quo with Dean Samineh Shaheem
Hult strives to be the most relevant business school in the world and is constantly innovating to provide a forward-thinking curriculum. The school continues to push for academic excellence and is able to do so, thanks to an impressive lineup of practitioner faculty and passionate campus staff.
Steering each campus to provide a uniquely global and practical business experience is a highly qualified academic leadership team.
Dr. Samineh I. Shaheem is exemplary to that. In addition to her role as Dean of Hult’s London Graduate Programs, Samineh is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and Leadership. Her research interests are in the area of identity transformation–such as expatriates and their acculturation process–and emotional and cultural intelligence.
Samineh eagerly shares her experience, knowledge, and skills with associates and students to develop their core competencies and enhance performance for long-term benefits. Highlighting areas needing improvement and creatively arriving at growth solutions.
We hear from Samineh on how individuals can take lead and challenge the status quo.
Tell us a bit about your background before Hult?
Dean Samineh: The intertwined nature of my multiple roles throughout my career (such as a Learning & Development Senior Consultant and university professor) are inseparable and constantly leveraged to engage in purposeful work and to make a positive impact. So when I was working as a consultant, my academic background would color and frame both the process and product.
As a university professor, my consulting projects would breathe life and relevance into my lectures. Today as a Dean, I am honored to be able to merge and manage the kaleidoscope of learning and experiences in order to reach shared aspirations.
As a global professor and executive, what key barriers have you seen for women in business?
Dean Samineh: The struggles and challenges faced by women in Dubai are quite similar to a woman in Dover. The main barriers facing women in business today is our limiting beliefs and/or mindset. When I say ‘our’ I mean both men and women. We need to change the way we think about traditional gender roles and jobs. Women need to leverage their natural and learned skills to excel. In other words, they don’t need to emulate male characteristics to progress.
When I say ‘our’ I mean both men and women. We need to change the way we think about traditional gender roles and jobs.
-Dean Samineh Shaheem, Hult Graduate Programs, London
We need to set goals early on and steadily push towards achieving those aspirations rather than giving up or quitting when certain obstacles appear in our path of life. Women need to widen their professional network and seek out mentors, the way men do.
We need to depend more on our male counterparts and partners so that they will help us achieve a more functional work/life balance.
Finally, women need to be more persuasive negotiators in regards to salary packages and take risks with potential roles, even if they feel they may not be fully prepared or qualified – no one ever is!
Why is gender diversity so important at leadership level?
Dean Samineh: Well to begin with, in order for an organization to succeed, it should have equal representation of its population at leadership levels. How can the needs of the whole (this includes employees as well as clients/customers) be taken into consideration when there’s mostly one gender being preferred and promoted at the top?
As ambitious individuals, we have to decide to make a positive impact, set goals, work towards those goals, fight for your rights, be assertive and persuasive, don’t back down!
-Dean Samineh Shaheem, Hult Graduate Programs, London
How can business schools and companies contribute to a diverse workforce at all levels?
Dean Samineh: Why should we wait for business schools and companies to improve their policies and procedures? As ambitious individuals, we have to decide to make a positive impact, set goals, work towards those goals, fight for your rights, be assertive and persuasive, don’t back down! When we have enough fearless females joining our army of gender equality and balanced leadership, institutions will have no other choice but to bow down and do whats right.
With the recent International Women’s Day campaign in mind, what does being a #FearlessFemale mean to you?
Dean Samineh: A Fearless Female to me means that I’m not afraid to confront and control my deepest fears, take risks and ask questions during uncertainty. It means to be authentic and to embrace feminine qualities to lead and succeed without having to imitate men.
Can you tell us a female figure inspires you and why?
Dean Samineh: I’m afraid I would never be able to share just one name with you. The list ranges from my feminist 5th-grade teacher, Mr. Brown to Michele Obama, Mary Ainsworth, Sheryle Sandberg, Reshma Saujani and Richard Brandson to Queen Rania and Margaret Mead. They are psychosocial warriors who have positively impacted generations, challenged the status quo and courageously confronted spaces that require change and development.
Samineh is Dean of Hult Graduate Programs, London, and Professor of Organizational Behavior and Leadership. Every project holds significance and an opportunity to grow and develop. However, one that has had quite a positive impact on the community is Samineh’s Bolt Down on Bullying campaign that started in 2010 in the UAE. The campaign set out to confront and prevent bullying in schools, homes, and workplaces.