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Raised within a supportive family, Azeizah Al Hassani learned two fundamental principles: the value of hard work and the pursuit of the extraordinary. These ideals have been her lifelong companions, shaping her into an independent and visionary leader.

She vividly recalls a particular moment from her school days when the class was asked to share their aspirations and describe their future careers. "I aspire to become a petroleum engineer and contribute to my nation," she declared with a profound sense of enthusiasm.

Breaking barriers

This moment ignited an unyielding resolve within her — a determination to not only showcase her abilities but also to underscore the capacity of women in a traditionally male-dominated sector like oil and gas. Azeizah saw this challenge as an opportunity to break barriers and defy stereotypes.

The journey wasn’t an easy one. Despite facing setbacks and making sacrifices in her academic choices, she persevered with the support and encouragement of her parents. “If you eliminate small obstacles – and the negative thoughts that often accompany them – you emerge strong on the other side,” she says. Growing up in an ordinary family with a simple lifestyle, she transformed her challenges into sources of strength, becoming a trailblazer in her field. “What hurts you can make you powerful,” she adds.

Making her mark

After graduating as a petroleum engineer, she embarked on her career as a chemical fluids drilling engineer in conventional resources. However, what followed was not the typical path for a young female engineer.

In a male-dominated industry, seeking field experience was quite inconceivable for a woman. Driven by a determination to enhance her knowledge with real-life experiences, she set her sights towards onsite fracking operations, pushing the boundaries of what was expected of her. It paid off.

In 2018, at the age of 27, she became a stimulation engineer in upstream unconventional oil resources, making her the first female UAE national engineer to hold the post. Her trailblazing journey continued the following year when she was seconded by Adnoc to French oil major Total’s Unconventional Gas BV (TUGs) as a drilling and wells optimisation engineer, further bolstering her expertise with valuable field experience.

Working in the petroleum industry often demands long 12-hour shifts in safety gear, surrounded by male colleagues. “It can be daunting to work with only men, but they can see that I seek to learn from them, and I am grateful for their support,” she says. Even when it seems overwhelming, she is a professional who knows the power of effective communication. “It has been a long and arduous journey to get to this place, but I was very resolved,” she says.

Women have historically been under-represented in the oil and gas industry, so Azeizah's success is an inspiring example of what is possible. Women only account for 22 per cent of the global oil and gas industry workforce, despite comprising a 48 per cent share of the overall workforce, according to the International Energy Agency.

Diverse talents

Beyond her passion for petroleum engineering, Azeizah is also an accomplished artist. “You can be an engineer and an artist, and be good at both,” her mother once told her. She credits her mother and her power of conviction for many of her successes. “My parents raised seven daughters and three sons in a humble home, but they had the highest aspirations for us. My mother always said my girls must earn as much as my boys, and I am indebted to my parents for their vision and encouragement.”

My parents raised seven daughters and three sons in a humble home, but they had the highest aspirations for us. My mother always said my girls must earn as much as my boys, and I am indebted to my parents for their vision and encouragement.

- Azeizah Al Hassani

Azeizah's journey of accomplishments extended beyond expectations, with her becoming the first Emirati artist to exhibit her work at the Louvre in Paris during the prestigious Focus Fair Art Paris event.

Beyond her professional and artistic pursuits, Azeizah and her sister, Reem, have also made history by becoming the first women to join the Abu Dhabi Sailing Club. Their passion for modern rowing led them to establish the Abu Dhabi Female Rowing Team, and their determination and enthusiasm led them to victory in the 2017-19 club championship.

Azeizah's story exemplifies the importance of embracing one's passions and talents, regardless of societal norms or expectations. She is an inspiration to all young people with dreams. “If you hear a voice saying it is not possible, remember that it is your own voice. Rise above the ordinary to create an extraordinary life, and learn to enjoy every moment of it,” she concludes.

This content comes from Reach by Gulf News, which is the branded content team of GN Media.