Alaa Al Boali, Director, Middle East Facilities Management Association (MEFMA)
With a background in accounting and finance, Alaa entered the field of FM knowing nothing. Over the years, the industry grew on her. Being a people’s person by nature, Alaa fits into the many roles within the Association with ease. At least, she made it look easy! But those who know Alaa know her for her hard-working attitude, a positive personality, and passion towards the industry. And it is this outsider-insider perspective that helped her and the Association, grow. Today, Alaa has become synonymous with the name MEFMA. “I still remember when I heard the word FM first; I thought it was something to do with the radio,” she laughs.
Alaa entered MEFMA in the role of business development. When she was informed to take over as the Director, in 2017, she didn’t feel ready. “Back then, I wasn’t too sure if I was ready. However, the Board felt that I could do it. I took it up as an Acting Director to test the grounds. And we had just two-and-a-half months left for the annual CONFEX. It was just me and my colleague Kamya (now events and operations manager), and we had to start from scratch. And it was a tremendous success, and we couldn’t have felt prouder,” recollected Alaa.
Barriers in Female Leadership
Where there is passion, there can be no ‘barriers’, says Alaa. “With hard work, you will reach where you want. The reason the female percentage in the FM industry is low out here is because culturally, this field is not used to having women in them, let alone be a leader in that division. But with awareness spreading out, it makes it a viable option for them,” she added.
“One needs to be very passionate, strong, and persistent to grow in this field. Always love what you do only then, you will see through the challenging times no matter what the situation.”