Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Saudi Arabia/Saudi Arabia
Lama Al Sulaiman was elected deputy chairwoman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry in December 2009, becoming the first female to hold such a post in Saudi history. Her appointment was even more remarkable given that just a week before standing for election, the businesswoman was told she had beaten breast cancer.
The mother of four is well aware of the delicacies of being a Saudi woman in her position, telling Bloomberg: “You have to proceed carefully. You have to respect others,” adding that few clerics object to her working with men due to her husband’s authorisation. That said, she is a keen supporter of more women holding prominent positions in the kingdom. “With King Abdullah, we are changing so that women can have far more opportunities,” she told the newswire.
Al Sulaiman studied biochemistry at King Abdulaziz University before embarking on her doctorate in nutrition from King’s College London. She is also a board member of the Jeddah-based Rolaco Trading & Contracting (whose activities include building and steelmaking), the National Institute of Health Services, the National Home Health Care Foundation, and the Economic and Social Circle of the Mecca Region, and a member of the Young Arab Leaders.