Turning vision into reality
Azza Fawzi, Finance Director, Upstream International, Integrated Gas Qatar, believes life at Shell is all about diversity and opportunity. She explains why.
Azza Fawzi, Finance Director, Upstream International, Integrated Gas Qatar, was headhunted by Shell in 2002 and has been drawn to its respect for people ever since.
“At the time, I hadn’t planned on changing jobs but there was something about Shell’s ability to really care for its people that won me over,” she says.
Azza was born in Egypt and raised in the United States where she graduated with a degree in finance from the American University in Washington DC. She began her career in corporate banking in the US and joined Shell Egypt in 2002, working as the Financial Controller until 2004, when she was appointed as Finance Manager.
From November 2007 to July 2012 she was the Business Finance Manager with teams in Oman, Abu Dhabi and India. In January 2012 she took on the Connected Finance Manager role in The Hague office until July 2012, when she was appointed as Finance Director for Shell Qatar.
“Finance teams can easily be seen as the bean counters or the compliance police but at Shell we’re seen as team players who want to help everyone make better business decisions,” she says.
The team culture at Shell is something Azza values a lot. “Even though oil and gas companies are often seen to be male-dominated, everyone works together really well. As soon as people think they can or can’t do something because of their gender, they’re just holding themselves back,” she shares.
According to Azza, it’s good to have a lot of diversity at work. “In my team of 60 people, we have 19 different nationalities. Diversity enriches a workplace – it’s like a melting pot – you learn so much about different people and cultures.
Diverse teams are also better able to solve complex problems, exhibit a higher level of creativity and a broader thought process, helping to facilitate the organisational growth of the company,” she says. “Diversity in a team also means diverse ways of working and the finance team is quite flexible; we offer job-sharing and people sometimes work from home,” she adds.
“I spent four and a half years working from my home in Cairo, doing a job in Dubai. I really wanted the role, but wasn’t able to relocate because my children were in school at the time. I suggested travelling to Dubai once a month for a week at a time and the company accommodated me,” she explains.
"Diverse teams are better able to solve complex problems, exhibit a higher level of creativity and a broader through process, helping to facilitate the organizational growth of the company"
Azza thinks Shell is always open to new ideas and has a lot of respect for visionaries. “When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to be a bit timid. Sometimes people go quietly down a rabbit hole but it’s better to just speak up.
Be honest. Be mature. Shell’s really flexible – if you have a good idea and speak confidently, people will listen,” she explains. “I love listening to people who share their ideas with the team. I’m often inspired by what people can come up with and it’s even better when they manage to solve a real problem with their creative idea,” she adds.
“I will always be happy about working here. Shell is focused on helping people to plan their career. I’ve been given every opportunity – the sky is the limit.”
More on Azza
- “As a child, I dreamed about becoming a doctor. As soon as I started taking chemistry, I realised it would never happen. I’m obsessed with TV shows about medicine, though.”
- “I start every day with a great cup of coffee – I love different flavours. The Nespresso machine is the best recent invention. Each morning, I make myself a cup, pour it into a portable mug and take it to work with me.”
- “My children Ahmed (23) and Yasmin (20) are at an age where they can have great conversations with people that are much older than them. Our friends often comment on their respect for others. It makes me proud to see that they’re making a positive impact on people around them.”
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