Mary Jane Al-Mahdi: Engineer for empowerment

Rappler.com
Posted on 10/19/2013 1:52 PM  | Updated 11/25/2013 1:31 AM

Mary Jane Al-Mahdi is a woman of many hats: she is an engineer, a CEO, an OFW, and a champion for Filipino empowerment in the Middle East.

She is the Chief Executive Officer of Geoscience, a leading testing laboratory in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The company provides third-party quality control for various companies involved in construction, environmental industries, hoteliers, and food service.

She is also one of the founders of the UAE-based Filipino Digerati Association (FDA). Through holding computer courses and livelihood programs, the FDA hopes to give better job opportunities to Filipinos living in the UAE. As of 2013, the Association has produced around 12,000 graduates.

“A lot of organizations look up to us because of what we are doing to the [Filipino] community,” Mary Jane shares. “This is a non-profit organization, and most of the time, if the fund is not there, we provide [for it].”

“Those workers who cannot afford to send their children to school, we provide them scholarship funds and certificates,” Mary Jane adds. “We get them from our sponsors, from those who believe in our advocacy.”

In the Philippines, the Association was given the Presidential Banaag Award in 2012. The recognition is given out annually to distinguished overseas Filipino individuals.

Watch a profile video of Mary Jane and the other finalists of the Global Pinoy category below.



Madam chief

Mary Jane recognizes the struggle to become a female boss in a foreign land.

When she first arrived in the UAE in 1992, there were only few female technical engineers in the construction sites or hospitals. Filipino women were predominantly working as domestic helpers or sales ladies at Duty Free.

“I have experienced crushing blocks, going to the site with the helmet, [climbing the] scaffold just to check, install the instruments, climbed [the] stairs to the tower – these are all risky things I have been through in my profession,” Mary Jane says. “But all of those challenges and struggles, I am earning them at this moment.”

A highlight in her career was winning the Emirates Businesswoman of the Year Award in 2008. She says “I know and I believe I have changed the concept of what the people think of Filipinas – what they see in them. Because of that award, I have changed the lives of many people; I have inspired them with my extraordinary stories.”

A woman for others

Mary Jane is aware that her achievements are never personal milestones. She believes that when she strives to Do More, she creates a huge leap forward: not just for herself, but for the people she helps in FDA, the people she works with at Geoscience, and the people who write her letters, thanking her for making them proud to be Filipino.

“Doing more for me means to give more, share more, to do more for myself, for my improvement,” Mary Jane concludes. “I believe that the more I grow, the more I can help people who are believing in my advocacy.” – Rappler.com

Follow Mary Jane Al Mahdi on Twitter: @jane_alvero

Get to know other finalists by clicking their names below:
Susan Ople Analiza Amurao

These figures reflect the result of the public voting phase held from October 24 to November 24, 2013.

The final score for each finalist will be computed from the ff:

Public Vote - 40%
Panel Vote - 60%
Total - 100%

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