Follow The Leader: Asil Attar, CEO, Damas Jewellery

"I am passionate about women's empowerment and will champion this internally and externally."

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

For a brand that has over 100 years of history behind it, the Dubai-headquartered Damas Jewellery had a very noteworthy addition to its saga in February this year, when it appointed Asil Attar as the CEO of the enterprise, making her the first ever woman in that position for the company.

Damas Jewellery

With Damas being one of the region's most prominent names in jewellery and watch retail, Attar looks like a natural lead for the organization, given her 25 years of experience in the industry, working with brands like Majid Al Futtaim, Al Yasra Fashion, Coach, and The Giorgio Armani Group. And the significance of her appointment at Damas isn't lost on Attar- after all, she's been someone who has been championing the cause of women in leadership roles all through her career. "I am honored to hold the seat at the forefront of this organization as its first female CEO," Attar says. "My career has been achieved through merit, hard work, and ambition. I am passionate about women empowerment and will champion this internally and externally. Women have an amazing ability to multitask and have empathy, whilst delivering the role in an emotionally engaged manner. I always say that as an ambassador for empowerment, I act with my mind, and think with my heart."

Related: Infographic: Female Entrepreneurship In The Middle East

In her role at Damas, Attar is spearheading an enterprise that was founded in 1907, with its first store setting up shop in Dubai's Gold Souq in 1959. Since then, the company has grown massively, with Damas now seeing 230 of its stores spread across the Arab world. "My vision for Damas is to maintain and claim our status as the number one destination for jewellery in the Middle East," Attar says. "Damas has a strong heritage of over 100 years, and this foundation has secured us this position. This means we have to work hard, and focus all our efforts in ensuring that we grow from strength to strength."

Asil Attar is the CEO of Damas Jewellery
Source: Damas Jewellery

Attar is also keeping an eye on how the retail landscape is changing, and as such, she is keen to have Damas operate better attuned to these trends as well. "We are also focused strategically on enhancing our customer experience, delivering a lifestyle, allowing our customer to make decisions with ease, and according to their time," she says. "We all know that time is increasingly more precious and is a commodity, as rare as gold and diamonds, making it equally precious. In the world of luxury and jewellery, there is nothing that will replace a physical brand experience; it is an emotional purchase. However, we will definitely become an omnichannel player, using technology as an enabler." Attar has also wasted no time in placing her personal stamp on a number of Damas' initiatives. "Part of our vision is to speak to our female consumer in a language that is relatable, which they understand," Attar notes. "Women are at the focus of our strategy. The "Feel Precious' campaign that we launched in March with our Dubai Mall flagship launch did not use any of our products, like all the other typical global campaigns. Instead, we placed 24-carat gold leaf on our muse. This was a powerful message, a statement that says it is our customer who is our focus, and they are the precious ones."

At the same time, Attar is keen on making it clear to her team at Damas that they rank high on her list of priorities as well- in her first three months at Damas, she has managed to travel to nine cities in six countries where her enterprise has a presence, interacting with over 1,800 people who work with the company across the region. "I am a transformational leader, whose leadership style centers around emotionally engaging every single individual in my business, from the bottom up," Attar says. "I am passionate about driving my teams through empowerment and ownership with an entrepreneurial mindset and with a single focus, which is making a difference to everyone."

Asil Attar, CEO, Damas Jewellery, shares her tips for entrepreneurs

"You must take on a role that you truly love and believe in."

"I surround myself with skilled professionals who excel in their role. I then orchestrate their talent and potential, and channel their energy to deliver a global successful outcome."

"Lead with your values and ethics- these are uncompromising, and what all my decisions are based on.

"Get yourself a life coach or mentor; someone trusted so that you are able to download and recharge."

"Be honest and open in your leadership style, and arm yourself with tremendous humility."

Related: Follow The Leader: Azizi Developments CEO Farhad Azizi