I had the pleasure of interviewing the beautiful Aida Al Busaidy. Her boys are so gorgeous mashallah!
Aida works for Dubai Tourism as Senior Communications Manager. She is also a part of the #MyDubai initiative.
Please tell us a bit about what you do?
I am a Senior Communications Manager and my responsibilities entail quite a few elements but I will boil it down to 3 main parts. First, I manage stakeholder communications & relationships so anytime anyone needs anything in the city from hotel, to restaurant to experiences, to malls, they contact me and I develop unique experiences for people so that Dubai always leaves an imprint on them. The second part is I also oversee and manage campaigns and I have 5 at the moment from Emiratization to Women in Society, to the Dubai Historical District, Partners (this refers to the hospitality industry) engagement program and finally Advocacy. And finally, I run alot of trips for local and international influencers to experience new and or different things in Dubai so bloggers, instagrammers, etc.
This is additional to the operational work that needs to be done from strategy, budgeting, planning, working with agencies and adhoc requests that come in. I run a trip each month that belongs to my team but we work weekends, nights, we also have to experience things for ourselves, sky diving, new places to eat so we become better at suggesting things and promoting the city better.
Finally, I am a part of the #MyDubai initiative which was launched by HH and we are a 4 man team who do everything which is great.
Tell us something people don’t know about Aida?
In another universe, I would have been a singer and had 5 children (the 5 children is still attainable)
What are the 5 most important things to you?
My family (always comes first)
My development as a person (career wise or just personal growth) and being happy because if you are not in a good state of mind, you won’t be able to pass it on to anyone else.
Supporting the youth & women through various activities
Contributing to my society, community and country (either through work, national service, as long as I give back)
Leaving a positive impact whereever I go and to whomever I meet
What was your main inspiration to be a working mum?
I believe everyone has a reason to be here. Working came to be first and I saw that I was good at some things whilst developing other areas and I feel at some point I should dictate my own working hours but for now at this time in my life, I am better at being part of something larger than me and I am able to give back in so many ways so long as it doesn’t affect my time with my family and kids
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment
So many … I don’t even know where to begin or what qualifies as great because there are quite a lot.
What are the challenges you face of being a Working Mum/Woman In Business?
The challenges vary from place to place and people to people.
Some places support women completely and empower them versus others that pretend they support but do everything possible to put you down.
Some people (men and women) use the fact that you are mother to point out small mistakes which are irrelevant to your delivery of a job. There are still loads of barriers for women in general but it also takes a push from your end as a woman to push the glass ceiling and fight for what she believe in. If it’s for her benefit, her growth, development and adds value to her and to her organization and community, then she should push.
A good example is the Wadeema law, it was put in place to protect children and also enforces mothers to breast feed (which I believe is a personal choice but fully endorse it) ; however, the recommended time to breastfeed is 6 months yet we get less than 2 months maternity, no place for pumping, no nurseries in the work place and in some places only 4 months after maternity leave with short working hours of (1 hour or 2 hours less). nothing in that argument supports working mothers and unless you have a good family network, then you have to get help or keep your 2 months old in a nursery.
What are the rewards?
The rewards are having a voice – a voice to speak out for what changes are needed to pave the way for a better tomorrow for other women. Young girls who will hold the positions we have and more.
it’s also challenging yourself, learning new ways and trends and most of all, self fulfillment and giving back
Who is you biggest role model in the business world and why?
Lubna Qassim – I see her more of an unseen role model although she makes headlines but she is also a working mother and has accomplished so much. She inspires, develops and teaches.
Najla Al Midfa is also another one – not a mother but what’s she’s done and keeps on doing for our society is amazing.
I have such a long list but I would put these 2 in the limelight.
(bio is below)- the Executive Vice President, Group Company Secretary and the General Counsel of Emirates NBD Bank (PJSC). Previously Qassim has held positions as Director of the Department of Economic Legislations at the UAE Ministry of Economy. Qassim is a fellow at Dubai School of Government and also sits on the Global Economic Symposium Fellows Advisory Committee of the Kiel University of the World Economy and a member of the advisory committee of Dubai Women’s Establishment. In 2011, she was elected to sit on the boards of Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) and Injaz UAE Foundation.
How do you manage being a working mother and spending time with your kids & family?
It’s all about priorities -my children and my family will always be first and then everything else is secondary.
When I was younger, it was all about carving my future and building my career. At every stage in your life, you rework your priorities. Working gives me self satisfaction and understanding my capabilities whilst testing limits and it also helps me contribute to younger UAE Nationals, my community and my country.
The time i spend with my children is quality versus quantity so I won’t be on my phone or chatting when i am with them. It is solely for them.
What’s the best advice you received?
I know this is cliche but “be you” is the best advice I’ve ever received and i get it from everyone, don’t change Aida. You are unique as you are.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Watch movies, Read, Sleeping ( I need that), go out for lunches/dinners and I go boxing
And finally take me through a day in Aida’s life
My work week (Sun – Thurs) is usually comprised of waking up at 5.30/6
Prepping the boys, breakfast, changing, loads of nagging
Sometimes I eat breakfast in the car
I drop off my eldest to nursery and my second one to moms
Then it’s off to work by 8.30
That entire process takes about 2 – 2.5 hours daily
Work is from 8.30 – 5.30 with lunch included – no same day is the same for me. I don’t have a routine job unless i am working on strategic or operational items
I run campaigns, meet hotels, go to malls, run activities, host celebrities, instagrammers, bloggers, journalists
At the moment I have 6 campaigns that I am running from Emiratization, to Women in Society so it’s quite a variety and this is excluding adhoc projects.
I once got a request to build a 9 hour schedule (this was in less than 12 hours) for a Chinese celebrity who landed in Dubai and we happened to catch his post on Weibo that he was in Dubai for a stop over so we showed him Dubai in style. He loved Dubai so much that he extended his stay for another 3 days.
After work, i pick up my kids, feed them dinner, 30 minutes of play time, bathtime and then it’s sleep time by 730 pm .
Then it’s me time – I go boxing twice or 3 times a week, sometimes I just relax and watch a movie or maybe do a dinner night with friends of my husband.
Thursdays after work is my inlaws day and Friday afternoons are my family’s family day.
Weekends, I spend all day with my boys, take them for play dates. I also groom on weekends, massages, mani/pedis – my day starts at 630/7 with the kids so i fill it up and then ends by 730 with them. So I am free after that and if i haven’t had a crazy week, I’ll stay up late and watch movies, or go to the movies, dinners.
I rarely go to weddings – not my thing. I also try to experience new places or activities or new restaurants at least every week or every other week.
You can follow Aida on her instagram account @aidaalbusaidy