KEO’s Sultan: Why we’re investing in talent and diversity

KEO is investing in “exceptionally talented leaders” from the industry

KEO International Consultants president and CEO Donna Sultan says that finding talent and ensuring diversity are central to the firm’s strategy in the Middle East.

Speaking in this month’s Middle East Consultant magazine, Sultan said that KEO’s go-forward strategy in a challenging market is to invest in “exceptionally talented leaders” from the industry.

“The challenge, as I saw it, was making sure that KEO stands out and would be selected in this competitive market filled with good firms, each with very compelling portfolios. What value-add could we further expand upon that would translate to KEO upping its game? Instead of retraction as a reaction to challenging economic times, we decided instead to infuse a radical strengthening of our talent leadership.

“Over the past months, KEO has brought on board exceptionally talented leaders from our industry, each with a great reputation, to take on leadership of some of our key strategic technical divisions – people regarded highly for their talent and experience. While price is a key factor in selections, clients also chose a firm because of the talent it has. One of our key strengths in KEO is the ability to adapt and respond to the changing needs of the client and the increasingly demanding conditions of the construction market. Our bold move of focusing on bringing in such high-level experienced leadership talent is both exciting and one of our best investments while we seek to continue growing in all our markets.”

As part of its drive to attract the right talent, she added that KEO continues to focus on the empowerment and development of female talent. The firm is committed to creating an environment that supports gender balance, inclusion and diversity.

“In terms of further steps that the business plans to take to support diversity, we constantly review our gender-neutral policies and people practices to ensure that we continue to allow and support the inclusion and contribution of both women and men to the success of KEO. We demonstrate our commitment to our people by providing opportunities for our talent to develop through ongoing continued professional development, appraisal programmes, internal and external training courses, online development opportunities, sharing thought leadership at conferences and exhibitions, contributing to industry journals and in many other ways,” said Sultan.

“Our internal ‘Women in KEO workgroup’ has a very strong focus on supporting women in our industry to maximise their potential and their valuable contribution in the workplace. We are also conscious that flexibility in working hours is required from time to time, and our philosophy moving forward is to support that wherever possible.”

The firm’s commitment to diversity extends beyond the office walls. “We have recently initiated a collaborative project with local schools in Abu Dhabi, to encourage girls and young women to explore the endless possibilities for women in the A&E sector. Our aim is to encourage the young generation of future professionals to challenge themselves by stepping into any arena they believe they would like to try, and to have the courage and confidence to navigate the various successful careers available in the industry.”

You can read the full interview with Donna Sultan in April’s Middle East Consultant magazine:


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