Empowering women in aviation: Insights from Michelle Lee of Dubai Airports
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Empowering women in aviation: Insights from Michelle Lee of Dubai Airports

Empowering women in aviation: Insights from Michelle Lee of Dubai Airports

Balancing career and family can be done and Michelle Lee of Dubai Airports explains how in this conversation with Gulf Business

Marisha Singh

In this interview, Michelle Lee, the VP of Brand and Communication at Dubai Airports, shares her journey from New Zealand to Dubai, highlighting her passion for marketing and aviation. She emphasises the importance of balancing career and family, praising Dubai Airports’ support for women.

She underscores the significance of confidence and authenticity for aspiring female leaders. She credits her mother as her role model and finds inspiration in her diverse team and female peers.

Michelle encourages future professionals to believe in themselves and stay authentic. The interview reflects on Dubai Airports‘ success during challenging times and ends with a hopeful message for aspiring women in the aviation industry.

Listen to the full conversation on our podcast channel – Gulf Business on Spotify.

Image credit: Supplied


Q. Could you tell us about your journey to becoming the VP of Brand and Communication at Dubai Airports?

Michelle: Certainly. I was born in Hong Kong, raised in New Zealand, and knew early on that marketing was my passion. Starting at Air New Zealand, then moving to Virgin Australia, Qatar Airways, and Aer Lingus, I gained diverse experience. Joining Dubai Airports as VP has been a pinnacle. Being adaptable and understanding diverse cultures as a woman has been advantageous in my journey.

Q. Were there any challenges, whether gender-related or career-related, that you had to overcome?

Michelle: Balancing career and family was a significant challenge. I didn’t want to compromise on either, so having a strong support network was crucial. Dubai Airports offers excellent policies for women, and supportive leadership fosters empowerment.

Overcoming challenges involved staying true to my goals, managing time effectively, and having open communication with my family and employer.

Q. Could you highlight initiatives at Dubai Airport promoting female empowerment?

Michelle: Dubai Airports emphasizes supportive policies and leadership. We have robust HR programmes catering to women, including coaching and mentoring opportunities. Mentoring other females within the organization is something I find rewarding. Our workplace culture encourages women to break stereotypes and pursue leadership roles. Support from leaders and access to developmental programs contribute to empowering women in our organisation.

Q. What would you recommend for women aspiring to be leaders in your industry?

Michelle: Confidence and self-belief are crucial. Women should strive for authenticity and not try to emulate others. Preparation is key; knowing your work inside out boosts confidence. Don’t fear failure; learn from setbacks and persevere. Additionally, seek mentorship and coaching opportunities to enhance leadership skills. Embrace diversity and be adaptable to different cultures and backgrounds.

Finally, believe in yourself and your abilities to succeed in leadership roles.

Q. Could you name some inspirations or role models in your career and how they impacted you?

My mother has been my biggest role model, instilling values of hard work, honesty, and adaptability. Within Dubai Airports, my team inspires me daily with their dedication and quality of work. Female peers in leadership positions also motivate me to excel. Observing their leadership styles and achievements encourages me both personally and professionally.

Q. What advice would you give to girls planning their careers in aviation or other industries?

Be authentic and believe in yourself. Confidence and self-belief will take you far. Prepare diligently for every opportunity and embrace your unique strengths. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and stand out. Seek out mentors and role models who can guide you in your journey.

Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. Remember, authenticity and confidence are your greatest assets in shaping a successful career.

Read: DXB sees passenger traffic soar in 2023, welcomes 86.9 million travellers

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