Leading by example

Increasing the number of Emiratis participating in the local workforce is a strategic focus of the government of the United Arab Emirates.

For Payyazhi Jayashree this focus is providing an opportunity to put her research into practice, and support more women into leadership and entrepreneurial roles.

Dr Jayashree is the Associate Dean (Education) of the Faculty of Business at the University of Wollongong Dubai (UOWD). Her core areas of research include Women in Leadership and Entrepreneurship, and Measuring and Managing Strategic Change, and she has been working towards making a substantive contribution in scholarship and community engagement in this field.

In partnership with the Dubai Business Women’s Council, Jayashree is currently examining the factors that impact the emergence and enactment of leadership among women in the UAE, as part of a 2015 UAE National Research Foundation University-Industry Research Collaboration Award.

The focus of this large-scale collaborative project is on examining narratives of UAE national women, as well as those of other Arab ethnicities, engaged in leadership and entrepreneurial positions. Jayashree aims to provide an evidence base for future policies and strategies to encourage the participation of women in the workforce.

Her practical engagement in the area complements her research. Late last year, Jayashree launched a joint UOW Dubai-Dubai Business Women’s Council leadership Seminar Series to encourage dialogue and debates surrounding gender issues and women in corporate leadership and entrepreneurial positions in the UAE.

As well, Jayashree is hoping to inspire the next generation of young women leaders through sharing the narratives of successful women and entrepreneurs she collects in her research. Motivating quotes from these conversations are now being shared on a regular basis on both DBWC and UOWD’s social media pages.

Through her scholarship and her engagement activities, Jayashree is proving to be the embodiment of a women leader. She is regularly invited to speak on panels and leadership events. She gets much satisfaction mentoring young students and early career academics.

Her colleague, UOW Dubai Faculty of Business Dean Professor Barry O'Mahony, says Jayashree’s work with the Dubai Business Women’s Council is a model of how universities can collaborate with external organisations and achieve positive impact within business and government.