I'm Reem AlHarbi, I'm a UAE national, and I'd like to thank you for inviting me to participate in this event.
Having gained a degree in Information Systems I joined First Abu Dhabi Bank in 2002, working in System Support Administration within the card center. This gave me the opportunity to gain knowledge about the scheme operations, rules and projects before transferring to a more business-focused role.
When the bank launched its eCommerce business within the Retail Banking Payments division in 2012, I moved into this field. I used my combination of technical skills and business knowledge to implement and support merchants in their eCommerce business, and provide customized solutions to meet their requirements.
Currently my role is AVP Merchant Acquiring and eCommerce Product. Among my responsibilities are contributing to our eCommerce product design by keeping up to date with market and fintech developments; enhancing our eCommerce value proposition and product offering; and looking for new revenue channels through eCommerce. I also help to minimize our eCommerce clients' risk exposure by optimizing their risk profile in the system and ensuring the configuration maintains data integrity. In addition, I'm responsible for the overall customer experience.
I could see that eCommerce was an exciting new field with huge potential for growth, and I wanted to get involved. So many digital payment options have been — and continue to be — developed, including digital wallets and virtual payment systems.
I also liked the idea of helping clients to grow their revenues by precisely configuring the eCommerce platform to meet their needs — implementing the right mix of payment methods, for example — and ensuring a seamless journey for them.
Yes, definitely! I like the combination of technical skills and product knowledge needed in my role. For the bank to grow its eCommerce revenues channel, we have to understand how to implement the technical aspects, as well as what's needed from a business point of view. And you have to be able to communicate complex concepts in a way that clients can understand.
Although it's quite common for women in UAE to have an Information Systems degree, or to handle business like eCommerce, it's unusual for a woman to combine those two skillsets in the way that I do. eCommerce is also a fairly pressurized environment that many people, both men and women, are uncomfortable with — but I love it and it's become a passion of mine.
I see a continued shift towards digital payments. In UAE, for example, discontinuing the use of cash is a government objective. I think that over the next five to 10 years, we'll see cash replaced by digital payments on a global scale. These are exciting times as ongoing innovation and digitization continue to change the way people think and behave and to influence the payments industry.
Of course, change and innovation will also open the door to new types of fraud. To combat that, the industry as a whole will have to develop new technology and approaches.
My biggest inspiration was the former president of UAE, Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, who believed in his people and built the infrastructure that enabled motivated women to pursue their education. Now I'm inspired by our current leaders, Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, who are carrying through their compelling vision to make the UAE an incubator for future business leaders.
I support Cybersource’s Product Management Organization in the operational delivery of new products. Currently, I manage and oversee collaboration across project teams. Specifically, I focus on two strategic programs: fraud solutions and PSD2 Strong Customer Authentication compliance.
I’m part of a larger team that is working towards a common goal: Building solutions that will enable merchants to find the right balance between maximizing their sales and reducing their fraud losses.
I love seeing how something that started as just an idea is gradually built into a tangible product offering. Everyday there is a new challenge, but each day brings us one step closer to the final product. There is nothing more exciting than seeing the end result.
Diversity in all forms—gender, cultural or economic—brings a variety of perspectives to the table that can lead to innovation. The lens through how I approach my work is going to be inherently different from others (one factor is being a woman) but I’ve always taken a growth mindset—to learn from the people around me who are different and use those learnings to improve.
My name is Eman Gaber and I'm the Business Development Manager, eCommerce, at Network International. We're the largest provider of payment solutions in the Middle East and Africa.
I've been in my role for just over two years, looking after eCommerce account management and developing new business. I help our clients accept online payments for their products and services by providing them with secure payment platforms.
I spent 10 years working in retail and digital banking before moving to Network International. I made the move because I could see that eCommerce and digital payments were trending and growing throughout the Middle East, as the transformation towards cashless economies takes off.
In UAE, for example, the strategy of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid is that we become a cashless society by the end of this year. So I feel that I'm in the right job at the right time.
Yes, definitely. Every day I gain more knowledge, and I'm exposed to market leaders in many different sectors, all of which helps me keep developing my career.
Although banking and digital payments are clearly interlinked, I've found digital payments to be a more stimulating industry. There's a great deal of innovation going on, with lots of new products being launched to digitize payments and make the payment process seamless for customers. I also think it's very telling that companies whose core business isn't banking have moved into the digital payments space — like Apple with Apple Pay, for example.
I believe the outlook for the payments industry is very positive. There's immense potential for eCommerce growth in the Middle East — online sales in the region are expected to reach $80 billion by 2022.
Internet and social media penetration levels are increasing, and eCommerce growth is accelerating, all of which will have a direct impact on how people choose to shop and pay. The customer mindset is shifting to online, and companies must adapt and respond. In UAE, for example, there's a mobile app for everything nowadays.
I'm inspired by my manager, Mahmoud Ismail, Head of eCommerce at Network International. He's hard working, empathetic towards the team and colleagues, and a real leader. He's mentored me since I joined the company, teaching me everything I needed to know about my role and about digital payments. He's also the person who encouraged me to participate in this important day for women in our industry.
Currently, I’m the Head of Sales at Xendit, a payment solution in Indonesia. I lead an Enterprise Outbound Sales team and work with leading international clients looking for solutions to help enter Indonesia's payment landscape. Xendit strives to build the most advanced payment rails for Indonesia—to make payments simple, secure and easy for everyone and give a chance for the next unicorn in SEA.
When I first began working with a small eCommerce site, I saw that business success had a strong connection to payment solutions and fraud management. It’s about seamless experience, trust and reliability. Although it looks like a small component of the whole business, navigating the complexities of payments is key to success.
Before, when you provided payments, the customer simply input their card number and then you accepted the money. Today, this is the most basic of solutions. Merchants are now looking for an end-to-end platform that provides a seamless experience in disbursement, capital (loans) and remittance. To be successful, Xendit needs to provide payment acceptance solutions as well as many other adjacent solutions.
I’m most proud of being a woman in tech and being a part of the transformation of payments. I hope my knowledge and experience in financial technology will help young, innovative companies like Xendit change people’s lives. I’m also excited that Xendit is planning an initiative to empower women in tech. And I’m inspired by the many other women in the industry making an impact as well. I’m glad that I can play a part in helping drive this change. What’s the best advice you’ve given? Do what is right for your customer. I think this is always true. Don’t look for a short-term win. Look for a long-term partnership.
Women for Women serves women survivors of war to help them earn and save money, improve health and well-being, influence decisions and connect to networks.
I’m the Director of Program Design & Development, which means I help our country teams around the world try to solve big problems—gender inequality, poverty and exclusion due to conflict—by designing programs and expanding the work we do to reach more women.
My Twitter says, “collector of frequent flyer cards.” This was truer before I became a mom, but I do love traveling to countries to meet the women served by Women for Women International.
When I was 19 years old, I moved to Senegal to attend university for a year, and it changed my life. I knew from that experience that I wanted to do something to contribute to positive change in the world.
The international development space is far more evidence-based, locally grounded and professional than when I started working in it, and I hope that continues. I think as the nexus of poverty and conflict continue to merge, we are going to continue to figure out new ways of working in extremely complex environments.
Recently, I won “practitioner of the year” for women’s economic empowerment in a network of organizations that address global poverty called the SEEP network. I feel so honored to be awarded that title. At home, I’m a proud mom of an almost 2-year-old, and I think I deserve an award for keeping up with her!
An undergrad professor once told me: “Just go out and work… be a bartender in NYC… you’ll figure out what you want to do”—and he was right!
Learn a language… you’ll never regret it!
Learn more about Women for Women International.
I currently run the eCommerce site for NYDJ, which promotes “By Women, For Women” designs. I’ve been in the eCommerce space since 2010, learning as the online world continues to grow and change.
What attracted me to eCommerce ten years ago was the booming online shopping appeal. I wanted to take my in-store knowledge of what the customer was looking for and apply that to the online space. Without having the ability to feel and try on products, the online store needs to provide these things in a different way.
As the desire to have your items quicker and more efficiently increases, I feel the industry will need to adjust to their shipments to get items in customer’s hands faster. With big players offering free 2-day and sometimes same-day orders, most retailers will need to adjust their business plans to compete.
Currently, Cybersource acts as our payment processor and recently started also assisting our team with fraud review through Decision Manager. This helps our team greatly as we do not have a fraud specialist, and we rely on the knowledge and expertise of the Cybersource team to assist our customer service team.
I’m most proud of my recent role here at NYDJ. My boss tasked me with leading the re-platform of the NYDJ site, which was a task I had never led on my own. I was also coming back from maternity leave and was not very confident in my skills since I had been in “mom mode” for the previous three months.
Not only did we launch the site early, but we also came in underbudget which was a win for the entire team. It also gave me great insight into different pieces of the eCommerce world that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
The best advice I’ve been given is to own the work that you do. If I excel or do particularly well with a task, I celebrate those accomplishments. On the flip side, if there is an item that I missed or could have done better, I acknowledge those setbacks, learn from them and apply those learnings in the future.
Everything happens for a reason. We may not know it at the time, but a change in our careers or even personal life may be setting us up for something bigger and better in the future.
Learn more about NYDJ.
At Visa, Cybersource, and Authorize.net, we celebrate women’s achievements today, throughout history and across nations.
This International Women’s Day, we’re featuring some of the incredible women we get to work with. From business leaders to partners to members of our own team, we'd like to thank all our honorees for helping forge a gender-equal world. We’ve interviewed women in North America, Brazil, France, Panama, the UK and Singapore to learn about their journeys. Join us in championing the values of International Women’s Day, all month and EVERY DAY.