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Aramco HR Exec Forges a Path for Saudi Women

Reem Al Ghanim joined the world-class company in 1998.

Source: Aramco

Reem Al-Ghanim has left her imprint on the lives and careers of thousands of Saudi women. She could have begun her career as a writer, but fortunately, she chose to became a career advisor to help others to define their development journeys.

The rest, as they say, is history.

“It was a tough choice, but I felt I could have a wider positive impact on Aramco and its people,” she says.

Reem joined Saudi Aramco’s Training & Development organization in 1998. “I used my skills and strengths to support a transition and expansion of learning opportunities by establishing learning centers with dedicated resources for development, and new self-development methods.” 

Over the years, Reem directed a number of transformational initiatives and helped to establish Aramco’s Hosted University Program, which has enabled many Aramco employees to earn advanced degrees while working. She also launched the Female College Degree Program in 2006, and has now graduated over 1000 Saudi women in majors such as Petroleum, Chemicals and Mechanical Engineering and the Geosciences. In 2015, Reem established the Women’s Development and Diversity Division, which set the strategy for Diversity and Inclusion in the company. She has led and chaired a number of prestigious boards, including the Leadership Excellence for Women Awards and Symposium, which started in 2013 and now runs on an annual basis.

“I am proud of the work that has been achieved over the years, and humbled by the many men and women I’ve had the honor of working with, and have supported and mentored along the way.” 

Today, Reem, a third generation Aramcon, leads the HR & Support Services function in the Saudi Aramco Chemicals Business. “I always knew I wanted to serve the company that had given me so much in my life, a solid foundation and great community, the best education, and values that transcended into our homes and lifestyle, with a strong focus on safety and learning.” 

Reem attended Executive Programs at Emory and Wharton University. She has a M.Ed. in HR Development from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in English-Education from the University of Bahrain. “One of my favorite University professors, Dr. Paul Ballas, once told me, when you get to your first day on the job, don’t wait for someone to give you work. Go find it! So, I took his advice. That’s exactly what I did from my first day onward, and have been doing my entire career.” 

Source: Aramco

She credits her parents with teaching her to speak up and to influence change. “They taught me that when challenged, to have a plan, think more broadly, and look for solutions. I’ve always been naturally curious about behavior and how we make decisions as human beings, so I observed and read a lot, mostly about psychology, human traits and what makes people different and unique.” 

“What I am most grateful for are the outstanding relationships with my colleagues and the people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with and serving, who continue to forge new pathways to success in an increasingly challenging and volatile world.” 

Her last bit of advice to young women is simply to pay it forward. “As you move up and advance in your career, don’t forget to reach out and bring more women with you. Your role doesn’t stop by succeeding on your own. When you see other women accomplishing great things, support and encourage them to do more. Pull them up with you!” 

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