The Afrah Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Muscat was witness to a unique confluence of glamour and substance, when 26 outstanding women whose achievements in diverse fields were recognised at an awards gala.
The second edition of Oman Woman of the Year awards, organised by Apex Media, proved to be not just a celebration of woman power but was also an affirmation of the fact that women in the sultanate can excel in varied fields with ease. The awardees represented a range of professions, from fashion and finance to innovation and technology.
Amid smiles and salutations that were the order of the evening, most awardees shared the untold stories underlining their individual efforts with one another over a special dinner, before the awards were presented by Laila Zakwani, executive director of Apex Media. And, as Saleh Zakwani, chairman of Apex Media, observed in his welcome address, it was, indeed, a great honour for all the attendees to share the joy of the awardees.
The event, organised to mark International Women’s Day (March 8), saw awards being given away in 25 different categories, as against 22 categories at the inaugural edition last year. The three new categories were Excellence in Uniform, Culinary Distinction and Start-ups, while Customer Service had an additional sub-category of F&B, besides Retail.
Yuthar al Rawahy, founder and former chairperson of the Oman Cancer Association, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution towards cancer awareness and prevention in the sultanate, told TheWeek, “I wish to dedicate this award to all the cancer survivors in Oman as well as those who have succumbed to cancer. The work we do comes straight from the heart; it is not intended for any award. I would like to tell young ladies that life is full of challenges but we must take them head-on and not cower from them. If you have the passion, you will definitely overcome your challenges.”
Lujaina Darwish, who received the award for Inspirational Woman, said she felt greatly honoured and blessed that her hard work has been recognised. “I feel proud as well as happy that, being a woman, I could do a lot for soc-iety and particularly for women in Oman. My message to young women is that the sky is the limit. All the hard work you do will surely get returns some day. So, keep going and one day you will keep smiling.”
Kamal Khimji, who won the Woman of the Year Award for Social Responsibility, attributed her success to her efforts in developing an ‘inner joy’ to fuel her efforts. It is very important for all individuals to cultivate inner joy and spread it among everyone and enhance the environment, too.
Sayyida Wisam al Said, who won an award for Marketing, stressed the importance of setting goals, personal as well as professional, and writing them down to motivate oneself, while Suad al Harthi, who won the award for Environment passed on the accolade to volunteers at Environ- ment Society of Oman who have been working tirelessly.
Others like Dr Lamya al Haj (Innovation and Technology), Dr Maryam al Shehni (Healthcare) and Amal al Raisi (Fashion) emph-asised the need for women to pursue their ambitions with passion, while Reem al Zadjali (Legal Ser-vices) acknowledged the benevolence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, for opening doors of opportunity for women in Oman.
Dr Manal said, “Every woman must pursue higher education. That’s the power we have,” while Nadia and Moza, of Mani’s Cafe, pointed out that healthy collaboration is always the key to success.