Youth ‘must build on their latent skills’
She is an ambitious Saudi woman, full of energy, creativity and productivity. She aims at fine-tuning the talents of young men and women to discover their creativity and help them develop a full awareness of real creative production.
Princess Jawaher bint Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud described her as the “Saudi ambassador of creativity,” because she has taken the responsibility to call for a special type of investment which is investing in building oneself.
Nora Al-Shabaan received her diploma in education and is now the CEO of “Creativity Forums.” She began her career in education as a teacher, after which she rose to the position of supervisor, and later director, for eight years.
Al-Shabaan eventually decided to change her career course and leave the field of education after finding the work to be monotonous and unsupportive of her creativity. Looking for a different path, she returned to school to receive a degree in public relations and media, and went on to work as a media coordinator for a number of events in Jubail Industrial City. Al-Shabaan also worked as a project manager and got involved with the research and development departments of Aramco, through which she gained a lot of experiences that allowed her to obtain specialization certificates in the field of training of trainers.
Several years down the line, Nora Al-Shabaan became fascinated with the idea of creativity forums. Before embarking on her own experiment, she however focused on building her personality and discovering her skills through studying and documenting her experiences inside and outside the Kingdom.
She pursued educational courses outside the Kingdom, through which she was able to gain her independence and a number of valuable skills, such as how to influence others and transform them into young leaders. Through such experiences, Al-Shabaan realized that her true area of interest was self-development and investing money in building minds, and thus she decided to establish her own foundation that would provide women opportunities to discover their creative talent, maximize their potential, and obtain as much training as necessary to be prepared to enter the job market.
Al-Shabaan has since trained more than 10,000 men and women in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region, as well as in other Arab countries, Britain and Ireland. Her trainees, who range from age 18 to 50, work in various field and sectors, with many currently employed in the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Eastern Province, Riyadh and Madinah, the University of Dammam, King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, the CBA College, and Aramco. In neighboring Arab countries, Al-Shabaan trained 380 employees from Omani ministries, as well as a number of professionals in Jordan and Lebanon. She also trained 350 Saudi scholars in Britain through 5 special programs that focus on self-discovery and capacity building. She has also participated in a number of international organizations and conferences as a speaker and trainer in the fields of human resource development and youth capacity building.
With such a background of rich experience and many qualifications to her credit, Al-Shabaan, who has been certified as a specialized trainer by the United Nations Industrial and Development Organization (UNIDO), has earned the honorary title of the “Ambassador of Creativity” bestowed upon her by Princess Jawaher bint Nayef.
From the onset, Al-Shabaan realized and firmly believed that Saudi women need to interact with the outside world in order to be able to maximize their innate abilities and discover their creative talents. Accordingly, she launched a number of programs to achieve such results and creative such opportunities, which include “Discover Yourself and Unleash your Creativity,” “The Art of Presentation and the Power of Influence,” “Self-Building before Self-Management,” and “Strategic Insights and Solutions for Entrepreneurs.”
Other programs she offers are “Communication Techniques and Art of Building Bridges,” “Self-confidence,” and “Strategic Steps to Build Leadership Personalities,” in addition to a variety of programs for volunteer work inside and outside the Kingdom.
At the end of each training workshop participants are asked to fill an evaluation form about the workshops and trainings, providing their input on whether the courses meet their objectives, were beneficial, and helped trainees discover valuable skills in their field of interest.
Despite such success, Al-Shabaan says her experience lacks media exposure, as many women do not know about the work and efforts of other women. She called on TV channels to provide greater coverage of activities and events inside the Kingdom, especially those carried out by women.
Nora Al-Shabaan believes that Saudi women are full of creative energies, but must work on understanding themselves first. Some women suffer from the fear of facing the public and the lack of self-confidence, she said, despite the fact that many of them possess many skills, achievements and potential.
She also believes women can succeed in all areas that do not conflict with their femininity, such as the press, media, public relations, investment, marketing, customs, public security, health sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, engineering, programming, research, and development. “We should not limit them to the fields of cosmetics, make-up, perfumes, fashion and cooking,” she said. “Aisha, may Allah bless her, shared information about our religion with others, Khadija bent Khuwailid, may Allah bless her, was the first businesswoman in Islamic history, and Belquis, the Queen of Saeba, demonstrated the possibility of women to succeed in senior positions of ministerial leadership,” she added quoting examples from Islamic history.
Regarding her success, Al-Shabaan references the proverb “Behind every great woman, there is a greater man,” says Nora Al-Shabaan, indicating that her father’s support and encouragement has had a major impact in her life and in building her personality. She says all parents should support and encourage their daughters to “preserve the values and principles of our culture.”
As for the difficulties and challenges she encountered along the way, Al-Shabaan says these difficulties only played a big role in fine-tuning her personality and making her more observant and cautious. She says she always relies on God’s help and support, but emphasizes the importance of thinking clearly, consulting when in need of help, and planning for what one wants to achieve before implementation. She also highlights the importance of evaluation to assure better performance and development.
With such success behind her and much more to come, Al-Shabaan’s goals are to become an ambassador for her country and her religion, and to help support and encourage women to take advantage of intellectual skills.
“Ships are safe when they are docked at the port, but the ships are not made for this,” says Al-Shabaan.