A League Of Their Own

Eight students from universities in the United Kingdom (UK) and Qatar, selected to be part of the third edition of Bentley Motors’ Extraordinary Women initiative, have just spent a week at the luxury car brand’s headquarters in Crewe, England.

As part of a specially designed schedule, they met with Bentley experts and executives, went behind the scenes of its manufacturing operations, and tackled individual tasks.

Designed to encourage and develop the next generation of young female leaders, the 2024 edition of the Extraordinary Women programme has seen the students – four each from Qatar and the UK – receive one-on-one mentorship over the past three months from a selection of inspirational Bentley Pioneers from the fields of technology, engineering, design and business.

The students, who passed through a structured selection process focused around these four specific fields, came from a variety of participating universities including The University of Doha for Science and Technology in Qatar (UDST) and the Universities of Bath, Loughborough, and Manchester Metropolitan in the UK.

“This experience has been nothing short of life-changing,” said UDST student Noora Al-Hajri.

“Through the programme, I have gained invaluable knowledge and skills that will significantly impact my personal and professional growth.

“The opportunity to learn from inspiring mentors in both Qatar and the UK has been particularly enriching. Their guidance has broadened my horizons, challenged me to think critically, and empowered me to pursue my dreams with renewed confidence.

“The opportunity to visit the Bentley headquarters at the end of the programme has also been truly awe-inspiring. Thank you, Bentley, for believing in us and for creating such a transformative programme.”

The eight Pioneers were equally carefully selected. In the UK, entrepreneur Sara Davies MBE, founder and owner of Crafter’s Companion and TV personality from the BBC One show Dragons’ Den, provided business mentorship, with Cecilia Harvey, founder of Tech Woman Today, taking on the role in the field of technology.

Titi Oliyide, CEng MIET, Senior Process Safety Engineer and winner of the Institute of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) 2023 Young Woman Engineer of the Year, mentored the engineering student, and renowned interior designer and founder of Studioilse, Ilse Crawford provided design support.

The Qatari Pioneers included Qatar’s UNESCO art ambassador, Muna Al-Bader, in the field of design. Dr Noora Fetais Al Marri, honoured by the Arab Women of the Year 2024 awards for her contributions to cyber security education and founding Secretary-General of the Arab Association for Cyber Security, offered technology mentorship.

Covering the field of engineering was Dr. Hanan Farhat, founder of the Qatar Association for Women Engineers, and Dr. Buthaina Al Ansari, who is a senior advisor at the organisation that established Tamkeen Training and Consulting Solutions, mentored the business student.

“With every year, the Extraordinary Women programme grows stronger, as exemplified by the quality of this year’s Pioneers, all of whom have generously given their time in the spirit of collaboration as we seek to build a legacy for young women,” said Dr. Karen Lange, Member of the Board for Human Resources at Bentley Motors.

“It has been a great honour to meet and engage with such talented young women during their visit. Witnessing their energy and ability fills me with great optimism for the future.”

Launched in the UK and the Middle East in 2022, the Extraordinary Women initiative has previously engaged students and Pioneers from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. It forms part of Bentley’s wider commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion under its Beyond100 strategy, and was created to encourage women to explore a variety of career paths in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and automotive sectors.

For more information, please visit www.bentleymotors.com.

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