It is with pride that Noura Al Kaabi says that she is Employee No. 1 at twofour54 Abu Dhabi. Today, the pioneering media free zone stands poised to celebrate its third anniversary, but for Noura, as part of the start-up team, and the first recruit, it will be her fourth. In those four years she has catapulted to the forefront of UAE’s fast growing media industry as a role model for young Emirati women, a responsible icon, and a living example of how hard work, talent and determination can take you to the top.
As head of twofour54 tawasol, a multidisciplinary service provider and business enabler, it is Noura’s responsibility to ensure that the one-stop shop facilitates — all services that ensure the effortless set up of business and residence in twofour54 and Abu Dhabi — are in good shape. This year Noura took on a new role as head of human development.
Noura’s formative years were spent in a household with a strong work ethic, and plenty of discipline. Her army officer father and school principal mother made sure the five siblings worked hard and succeeded at everything they did. Reminiscing about those early years, Noura remembers she was moved at an early age from an English medium private school into an Arabic government school where her mother taught. The idea was to inculcate in her a love for her culture and her mother tongue.
A subsequent foray into the West when her father was posted to the US for a short period saw the siblings take to the international exposure with gusto. “My family is the reason for my success. They support every step we take but never force any choice on us. It is a wonderful mix of support and freedom that I enjoy.”
Noura returned to take a computer science degree at the UAE University, shifting later to management information systems. After stints at the Zayed Military Hospital and Dolphin Energy, she was headhunted by a newly formed company with a unique concept. The job profile included many of her passions while giving her an opportunity to use her training and experience.
One would think that with such a busy life, she can’t possibly have time to do much else. But she manages. She is board member of Abu Dhabi Media Company, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, Flash Entertainment and ImageNation. She also sits on the Advisory Board for Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and Tawteen, an initiative by Emirates Foundation. “If I can add value to something and make even a small contribution to making a difference, I would not hesitate.”