For Dubai Partner and Managing Director Leila Hoteit, being selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum gives her the opportunity to further explore the broad topic of "human capital," an area where she has also been focusing her consulting work. Specifically, she hopes to work on YGL initiatives in the areas of education and economic empowerment for women.
"What I'm really interested in is the link between education and employment, and of course that's tied directly to women's economic empowerment," explained Leila, who was named Businesswoman of the Year at the Arab Woman Awards in 2016. "How do we make sure women are participating in the workforce, and how do we make sure they develop and advance to senior positions? These topics have everything to do with human capital development.
"I feel that there is a lot of support within BCG to invest in developing thought leadership around these topics, because they really are key issues in the world today. As a YGL, I hope to explore these issues through projects, by developing thought leadership or studies, or by getting involved with a team that wants to do something very specific in supporting education or women's economic empowerment in a certain region."
YGLs are leaders under 40 who are recognized for their achievements and contributions to society. Of the more than 2,000 candidates nominated each year, 100 to 200 are honored annually with the title “Young Global Leader." They are selected from diverse backgrounds and bring a range of expertise from across the world. The World Economic Forum taps the YGL community as a peer network of experts on topics and regions, they share and build ideas—and take action—with like-minded next-generation leaders. Today, the YGL community has more than 900 active members.
Leila finds the structure of the YGL program ideal for broadening her network around these topics because the forum helps YGLs connect directly with others who are in the same region, as well as those who have worked in their particular areas of interest around the world. Building this network was one of Leila's main goals when she traveled to China in September 2014 for the annual summit of Young Global Leaders. "The YGL program and meeting are about seeing how all of us can leverage our different points of view to make things happen," She said
Indeed the business community brings an important perspective to these topics, Leila noted, and in her work over the years around economic empowerment she has seen the real impact that companies can make if they take creative approaches to addressing the problems.
"What we've seen is when big business players have a program around women's economic empowerment and can put their resources behind it, that can make a big difference in terms of role modeling and having immediate economic implications," Leila said. "One example is a company that has helped women in Africa to set up small shops to sell its products. Obviously this is a win-win prospect for the company, but it has also really helped women with very little education to become economically savvy, more independent, and build their self confidence.
"The businesses of the world have a real role to play in making things happen in these areas, and that's something I will play a part in as well."
Leila is one of many BCGers selected for the World Economic Forum's prestigious communities. In addition to the more than 20 BCGers in the YGL community, more than 30 BCGers participate in the Global Shapers community, more than 10 are WEF Global Agenda Council members, and more than 20 are TED@BCG speakers.
Leila Hoteit is a partner and managing director at BCG in Dubai.