At StartUp Terminal, we believe our diversity is our strength. Today, on the occasion of International Woman’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
To kick off our celebration, we’ve asked Dubai-based Hilmarie Hutchison, CEO, Matrix Public Relations, few questions on her experience achieving success in the corporate world, and what advice she has for women entering the workforce today.
ST: Please tell us briefly about you.
Hilmarie: I’ve been in the industry for over twenty years, playing several roles including entrepreneur, accountant, CFO, business management and communications consultant. This has taken me to several countries including the USA, Australia, South Africa, Denmark, and the UAE.
Since 2008 my focus has been on PR communications, Social Media, and Digital Marketing. You can say I play an active role at Matrix — developing and improving operating processes and systems, supporting, and building the team while driving the broader business objectives, planning and strategy.
Whilst I like to lead from the front, I am fully integrated with my team. We are like family really. And when work’s done, I am a proud mum to my delightful daughter who keeps me on my toes.
ST: Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?
Hilmarie: I have seen a few distinguished women make their mark in the last couple of years but the one that stands out for me is the US Vice-President Kamala Harris.
She is the United States’ First Female Vice-President and the highest-ranking female in American history. She also has the honour of being the first woman of African-American and Asian-American descent to rise to this position.
Prior to her present role she was Senator from California and Attorney General of California. She inspires me because she represents the true values of a talented and ambitious woman, driven by the belief that there are no limits to what you can achieve. I admire her for her fearless role as District Attorney on issues such as immigration, criminal-justice reforms, gang violence, drug trafficking and in particular the protection of women’s reproductive rights. For me Kamala Harris stands tall and is an outstanding role model for women across the continents.
ST: How are you celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day?
Hilmarie: As a team (the men included) we are always on the lookout to support women entrepreneurs, especially SMEs, to check whether they need our expertise and assistance. Besides, we make a concerted effort to give women entrepreneurs a voice on our weekly podcast, The Matrix Green Pill. In line with this, we have reached out to some inspiring women who are working hard to change the narrative especially for women in leadership positions to be podcast guests to discuss the issues facing women this International Women’s Day. We hope to feature one of these inspiring women during the same week as International Women’s day.
ST: What is the most important message you want to send out to all the women around the world on this occasion?
Hilmarie: My message to women all over is clear: You have the power within you to stand alongside men and create a gender-equal world. A better world. As a woman you need to drive home the fact that leadership must be earned, irrespective of gender, nationality, race, culture, age, and religion. Be proud to be the woman that you are.
ST: What according to you is ‘women empowerment’?
Hilmarie: Surprisingly, we must discuss issues like this in the year 2021. For me, rather than being empowered, I wish to claim my rights as a woman and encourage other women to do the same. Have we ever discussed ‘men empowerment?’. So broadly speaking, empowerment for me is about promoting someone’s self-worth and rights. This is turn is designed to help them articulate their choices, influence social change and present them with the ability to decide their roles in personal and professional life.
ST: What would you say are the main challenges facing women at present globally?
Hilmarie: This varies from country to country, culture to culture. In the general sense, I would say the main challenges are discrimination based on traditional gender stereotypes like leadership at work, in government, and authority at home, amongst others. I find it shocking that in many parts of the developing world women still face obstacles and threats with regards to education, marriage, pregnancy and violence (both domestic and public). We really need to address these disparities fast if we are to progress as a society.
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