Opening the boardroom door for you

Due to popular demand Aurora50 has created Gateway for mid-level and senior women executives in the GCC region.

Gateway is for the woman who has had little to no exposure to boards in her management role so far, who wants to understand the essentials of committees and boards and the skillset needed for the boardroom, so she can proactively map a route to her first board director appointment.

Middle Eastern women work together

Is Gateway right for me?


Over a six-week period and with three live, virtual workshops, Gateway will teach you how to:

  • Market and position yourself as a board candidate
  • Create a personal development plan to hone a board director’s skillset
  • Strategically network, locally and internationally.

The next course starts September 20. 

The workshops will be delivered by certified coaches, trainers and experienced regional board directors, to educate you on boardroom basics, the different board types and cultures – from family businesses to not-for-profits and government subsidiary board – and how to align local regulations to international standards.

Benefits of Gateway

Whether you want your first board seat in one year or 10 years, create a plan to find a board or committee role either within your organisation or externally.

Sharpen your awareness about what boards do, the different types of boards and committees, which type of board is right for you, your skillset and your goals.

Evaluate why a board career is important to you, and learn how you can champion yourself and become highly visible in your organisation.

Analyse and build your personal development plan by matching skills and competencies that will be in demand in future board positions, from environmental, social and governance (ESG) to cyber-security and corporate governance.

Develop an action plan through real-life application to your own board journey and peer-to-peer feedback cycles.

Who should join Gateway?

Women executives at a mid-to senior level, who are based in the GCC, want to become a board director and who…

have limited or no board or committee experience or exposure

want to understand how to plan and start their future board career

want to detail the skills needed for future board directors

intend to map their own learning and career path to a board role.

How is Gateway structured?

Content is delivered over three modules; participants should spend no more than around five hours per module, including pre-reading, in-person virtual workshops and assignments.

There will be three virtual, live workshops:

Introduction to boards - the boardroom defined

Mapping your path and starting your board career

Profile-building - the essentials of building your board brand

You will, of course, learn about boardrooms, committees and working groups, corporate governance and working on your skills, board bio, CV and brand, but you can also expect to learn about boardroom culture and nuances in the GCC and local regulations versus international standards.

Proven and trusted board experience

Aurora50 blends our trainers’ expertise with our own extensive, local industry knowledge – honed through experience from our Pathway20 independent board director accelerator and the invite-only Manarat club for the GCC’s female listed board directors – to deliver you a proven and trusted action plan to help you kickstart your board career as a woman.

Since 2020, Aurora50’s UAE-based co-founders, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and Diana Wilde, have lobbied for gender balance in the workplace, starting with the board.

In that time, the UAE has introduced a quota for women on boards and seen the number of women holding board positions more than double, from 3.5 percent in 2020 to 8.9 percent in 2022.

Three of our Pathway20 alumna have secured independent, listed board seats, and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change specifically mentions Aurora50’s relationship with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in its report on the modernisation of the Middle East as an example of “pioneering Middle Eastern women and women-led initiatives” driving “positive change and equality” in finance.

Our theory of change

There is a large disconnect between female board talent in the UAE and boards that are looking to appoint women board directors, often caused by women’s lack of network access to board members.

By building the pipeline of competent women to take board seats, Aurora50 believes we can reach a ratio of women holding 20 percent of UAE-listed board seats within a decade.

Through Gateway, we will teach you how to identify boards you can add value to and charter your journey to success.

Number of women on listed boards in the UAE more than doubles in two years:

Non-executive board careers in the UAE: A path to gender balance