Home    AECOM    Insight

AECOM works to uplift womens business skills in Saudi Arabia

AECOM works to uplift women's business skills in Saudi Arabia

 March 06, 2023

 Read time

To mark International Women's Day (IWD), AECOM is sharing how it embraces equity, not only in the workplace but in its work. AECOM is shining a spotlight on how its teams are embracing equity through their projects and positively impacting the lives of women as well as underserved communities around the world.

AECOM seeks to build diverse teams, create an inclusive workplace, and provide opportunities to support women in the local community across its Middle East and Africa region. The company's mCircles AlUla initiative is a testament to that commitment, and is giving local women entrepreneurs the skills they need to succeed.

Helping AECOM’s women boost career growth

Originally launched in 2014 in the United States, mCircles was created to help AECOM’s women professionals seek and receive mentorship and boost their career growth. Recently, this grassroots initiative was launched in its newest office in the Middle East in AlUla, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Adapting the format, mCircles AlUla extended its welcome to local women working in the AlUla Governate. Offering a supportive space for soft skills education and development opportunities, the inclusive forum allows for the sharing of experiences amongst aspiring women entrepreneurs. Each session is guided by a theme allowing for varied discussion and group mentoring. Topics range from finance to sales and marketing. 

Organized in collaboration with AECOM's client, the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), the Saudi government entity responsible for the development and protection of the AlUla province, and with the support and capabilities building company, AstroLabs, this is the first forum of its kind in AlUla, designed to upskill and empower local women.

mCircles AlUla launches third session for IWD

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the team in AlUla launched the third edition of the group mentoring program. The session supported around 40 participants in identifying the best strategies to market their businesses and/or products to the RCU.

Sarah Alanazi, a Saudi national from the AlUla region who was hired through the AECOM graduate program, is now one of AECOM's colleagues facilitating the program.

“AECOM has given local women a great educational opportunity that has affected their businesses at a personal and professional level,” says Sarah.

“The women have such an opportunity to learn from experienced professionals in their field who can guide them as mentors and help them to expand their business to contribute effectively to the local community. With AECOM providing this opportunity, it has started to, and will continue to, benefit everyone and further enrich our community,” adds Sarah.

AlUla Redevelopment Program is creating opportunities for women

Creating opportunities for women is one of the focus areas of the RCU’s AlUla Redevelopment Program, where AECOM is serving as Executive Program Manager. As this program transforms the area, international businesses are coming into the governate to provide goods, services and experiences from construction, to resorts and events.

So that the program can fully succeed, it is essential that it also benefits the local communities. AECOM's work with local women entrepreneurs enhances their role within the community, as well as their incomes. It also generates broader employment opportunities for local people.

An example of the program’s success

Annayat, the owner of a local bakery, participated in AECOM's first mCircles event in the Middle East. She joined the mentoring circle discussion in sales and marketing where female entrepreneurs shared their challenges and solutions.

Through the knowledge and best practices sharing process, Annayat developed an understanding for the need to build a brand around her business, including the creation of a logo, packaging, and stationery. Prior to the event, she had no network in the marketing and branding field.

Because of mCircles, Annayat was able to connect with Arwa, a Brand Development Specialist who developed a compelling brand identity for Annayat, encompassing all her business needs. Annayat believes this networking and support has opened new opportunities for her business. She will be among the business owner speakers at the next mCircles event in the region.

mCircles has really enhanced the local community with these opportunities for local women and women entrepreneurs,” says AECOM's Logistics and Administration Manager & Leader of the mCircles program, Leisa Vink.

“The sessions so far have helped many women build confidence, connections and prospects. There is so much strength when people with similar interests and diverse backgrounds come together and work toward the same goals, kindness and kinship… it’s an incredible sense of community that we have fostered,” Leisa explains.

Forge a rewarding career with an employer committed to empowering women

AECOM is cultivating a work environment where everyone is empowered to bring their unique talents, backgrounds and expertise to bear on some of the world’s most complex challenges.

Looking to bring bold ideas and big dreams to an impactful career?

Discover job opportunities with this progressive employer.


Search jobs

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, X, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.


Join our women's careers community