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Young Global Leader Dina Shoman strives to balance business, life and community service

An interview given to The Jordan Times

Arab Bank executive Dina Shoman, described by her employees as “firm but fair”, said her proactive and creative approach to success in the business world is fuelled by enthusiasm and a drive to excel.

Shoman, the great-granddaughter of the bank's founder Abdul Hamid Shoman (1890-1974) and now its executive vice president for branding, said she has a clear vision for the organisation and strives to implement a core set of professional values that contribute to the overall standing of the family business.

"The bank has always been a part of my life; I used to visit it with my grandfather and father, but working in banking was not on my mind when I was young," Shoman told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

One of the two Jordanian women selected as Young Global Leaders for 2012 by the World Economic Forum, the bank executive and board member said she saw herself as either a detective, police officer, or journalist when she was young.

One course in economics, however, changed her vision of her future career.

"I took a course in economics when I was still in high school and decided to specialise in economics, which remained vague to me until I enrolled in Bentley University and earned my BA in finance there," she said.

After graduating from the business-oriented university in Waltham, Massachusetts, Shoman worked in a bank in New York for about two years, receiving training in five different departments.

After obtaining her MBA in change management at the same university, Shoman started her career at the Arab Bank in 2006 as an executive vice president in the CEO’s office, before establishing a branding department with a small team and taking charge of it.

"Branding as a branch of business is not so explicable to people and is sometimes confused with marketing… branding has more to do with the purpose of the organisation and maintaining its image," she explained.

A motivator who believes in leading by example, Shoman has developed a "pioneering" branding department with a team of 14 members, whom she ensures receive up-to-date training in this "dynamic" field.

However, the human side of banking has always remained in the mind of the 31-year-old, who also gives her time as a volunteer activist and initiated a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme at the bank.

"At first we were afraid that employees might not be drawn to the idea of CSR and volunteerism, but to our surprise, they showed great enthusiasm and dedication to engage in the community," Shoman noted, adding that the programme engages employees in voluntary work in the environment, health, education, poverty and training sectors.

"Employees sit together and provide feedback after each activity… they do feel good when they volunteer," she said.

Shoman also sits on the boards of several nonprofit organisations including the Jordan River Foundation, Oasis 500, Nakhweh, Injaz and Raneen.

Along with her passion for her career, Shoman is aware of the need to strike a balance between work and personal life, engaging in several activities that can ease the stress of her high-pressure job including yoga, hiking, diving and reading.

The businesswoman said she sees her title as a global leader as a responsibility that requires her to work even harder to represent her country.

Shoman and jewellery designer Lama Hourani were selected as Young Global Leaders at the WEF earlier this year based on several criteria, including having a track record in public service-oriented activities and showing a commitment to enhancing the public good.

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Comment by Nadia Al-Shadir on March 29, 2012 at 12:11am

I loved reading this article on Dina's life. Well done!

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