The Bpeace Dubai Summit was a whirlwind trip that gave me the opportunity to teach HR management skills to 16 of Bpeace’s Afghan Fast Runners. I was part of a specialized training and coaching team that included Jonathan Liljegren from PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Johnna Hobgood from Microsoft.
We were fortunate to have access to the terrific facilities at the Dubai Women’s College (DWC). It’s so interesting how bold the Afghan women looked with merely their head scarves next to the local women in Dubai – the Emirati – all in abayas (black head coverings and robes, many with their faces covered, some even with the old metal face coverings).
In the mornings, I taught a workshop on HR to each team of five Fast Runners. In the afternoon I held an HR clinic with a DWC faculty member where the Fast Runners met with us individually to talk about an HR issue they were dealing with in their business. I pulled so much knowledge from my Ogilvy days into those sessions.
These problems were fascinating:
• Entrepreneurs losing trained professional staff to the NGOs (non-profits) that pay them three times as much – despite the fact that the NGOs are in the country to help develop Afghanistan!
• The younger sister who is the head of an electrical business but has an older brother who prices jobs incorrectly and doesn’t show up on time– but she cannot fire him or even correct his performance in a straightforward fashion because her parents won’t allow it.
• The young woman who must have a third person in the room to speak with a male employee who condescends to her because of her gender.
I love what I have been able to do with Bpeace and to see these entrepreneurs grow and create jobs–which are so needed in Afghanistan.