Roche Diagnostics Recognized for Commitment to Workplace Diversity and Inclusion in the Middle East at Annual Women in Leadership Economic Forum


Creating a diverse workplace where everyone is valued and has an equal opportunity to grow and develop has proven to positively influence a company’s culture, performance and profitability. The Middle East region tends to be perceived as a society that oppresses the voice of women. At Roche, this perception is not a reality. The bedrock of Roche’s approach to fully integrating diversity & inclusion into the corporate culture, through the support of senior leadership and Human Resources, is creating a work environment where employees are encouraged to build their careers.

Once again, Roche Diagnostics Middle East (RDME) was leading by example and showcasing our diversity and inclusion efforts at the 18th Global Women in Leadership Economic Forum through panel discussions and keynote speeches by our General Manager, Harald Wolf, and two of our very own women in leadership; Liliane Kanaan, Country Manager - Egypt, and Maysoun Ramadan, Head of Communications & Public Affairs.

Held in Dubai on the 24th and 25th of October, the Women in Leadership Achievement Committee heralded the 2 day conference by awarding Roche Diagnostics Middle East for “Most Impactful Diversity and Inclusion Initiative”.  Currently in the Middle East, the number of women in the leadership has been steadily rising to reach 32 percent with a 67% growth in only two years. This firm belief in unlocking the potential in both men and women equally builds on the foundation leaders have set since the establishment of RDME in 2012. Over the years, the percentage of women in the 45 countries during Wolf’s tenure and in leadership roles reached 48.6% and 43% respectively.

Distinguished panel of speakers

Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Economy, the 18th edition of the forum brought together more than 300 global business and thought leaders to discuss key issues on women in leadership. Our distinguished panel of speakers was joined by our own leading women from RDME.

“Diversity and inclusion is the driver to innovation and creativity - our DNA at Roche,” added Wolf. “Only through a diverse workforce - of different educational backgrounds, professional knowledge, personality types, thinking styles and life experiences - can we discover the best ideas. By providing females and males alike at Roche Diagnostics Middle East with the opportunity for career development, we ensure the growth and sustainability of our single largest investment – our employees – and, in turn, produce technologies that improve patients’ lives. Our dedication to such initiatives in the Middle East is part of the reason we’ve seen seven-percent growth in the division globally during the first nine months of this year.”

It is noteworthy to mention that RDME also offers new mothers up to six months of maternity leave, part of its commitment to invest in employees’ physical and mental wellness and promote work-life balance.  “We’ve also taken the appropriate measures to allow female employment in Saudi Arabia according to local laws, and since 2013 we’ve seen a steady rise in the number of Saudi women in our workforce there,” Wolf added.

In an inspirational keynote speech, Liliane Kanaan, Country Manager – Egypt, gave her insights from the perspective of a women in leadership who has been in the industry for over 20 years and what support systems do professional Arab women have to get a seat at the leadership table. “Driving a successful diversity strategy begins with the senior leaders, but to be fully sustainable, it needs to be lived by every one of us. By embracing diversity, we are enriching every decision and discussion and bringing our purpose to life.” said Kanaan.

Further, Maysoun Ramadan, Head of Communications & Public Affairs at RDME, spearheaded the first-of-its-kind panel discussion at the forum in Arabic. Thereby catering to the diverse audience and allowing panelists from the region to express themselves in their native language.  Said Maysoun, “As a young Arab leader and expecting mother, I recognize the challenges that we face every day as we balance career and family. What many people may not be aware of is that the entire Arab world is becoming more progressive when it comes to women in the workforce and in leadership positions – the UAE alone has appointed an increasing number of women to senior government position; a vision that showcases solid commitment to diversity and inclusion and we actively seek to mirror at Roche Diagnostics in the region.”

Tags: Career Blog