Women’s Special: Reem Dalwai, Al Mahir Printing Equipment – Joins father’s print biz with a passion
08 March 2021: Reem Dalwai, daughter of Dilawar Umar Dalwai, Al Mahir Printing Equipment Trading, Sharjah, UAE, holds B. Architectural Engineering with Honours and M.Sc. Construction Project Management from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
Established in 2001, Al Mahir Printing Equipment Trading, provides all rounded printing services by delivering high quality customized printing, along with trading in international printing machinery and supplies. The company offers corporate companies with a canvas to showcase their logo and present their brand repeatedly in the market. For its fellow associates in the industry, they supply certified machinery, consumables, and product blanks with process and set up consultancy.
Why did you think of joining father’s business although around the world there are numerous other career opportunities of choice?
I joined Al Mahir Printing in July 2020 while I was hopelessly looking for a graduate job in the construction industry during the pandemic. One day my father, asked me to come by the office for a change and since then I have never looked back. I started becoming aware of the activities around me and the stress of surviving during a global pandemic was a challenge I was happy to help with. Being the curious person that I am, I kept asking questions. After gaining some hands on experience, I was able to answer some of these questions myself, at least partially. Wanting to support my father I took up responsibility at my own pace and kept growing from all the mistakes I made, and still make, along the way.
Your personal views about screen printing/ printing processes:The shift from Engineering to running an established business was a drastic one. What attracted me about screen printing is how long it has been around and how it is still one of the most effective printing solutions globally. I am constantly fascinated by the advancements made both in printing technology and the products we get to print on. I am also lucky to learn from my father who is open to new ideas and helps me work out an efficient product and process to print a design I come up with.
Was it difficult initially to adjust yourself and how did you overcome difficulties, if any?
Adjusting with my staff and fellow associates in the market wasn’t too difficult as I was used to managing work on construction sites and was most times one of the very few women there. My team has always been supportive and encouraging, all of the business manager I meet are constantly giving me advice and it’s a blast to meet new people & learn new things. With clients I would say I have had very few instances where they would blame my lack of in-depth knowledge on me being a women instead of the accepting the fact that I am just new to the role. This happens very rarely but is something I do not bother with because on the positive side, we have had an increase in the number of homeowners and working women who want to start their own business and are very comfortable to deal directly with me. I am honest with my clients, I keep them well informed and I am always working towards providing a solution that’s best for both parties.
8th March is International Women’s Day 2021. Your views about the theme – “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”
As encouraging as it is meant to be, I partially disagree with the theme. It is frustrating to keep seeing the word “future” in most of Women Equality movements as “The Future” sounds like a hopeful time and not a reality, the future should be now! I am aware & empathetic of the issues women face at work, however, I do not believe anybody should be given more importance because of their gender but should be recognised and paid fairly for their talent and hard work. A safe and supportive environment along with confidence in oneself is all any employee needs to grow, both male and female employees face their own challenges at any given workplace.
If not PRINTING, what would have been your career choice?
My career choice would be to become a published Acoustic Engineer. It is a specialised discipline I have some practical experience in, and love learning more and more about. I still read articles related to architectural acoustics and keep in touch with all my mentors in the construction field.
Dilawar Umar Dalwai:
The Govt of India is aggressively promoting ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ movement, save girl child and teach girl child. Please express your views on how even a woman can also succeed in printing industry?
Firstly, I greatly appreciate the cause promoted by the government and support it completely. In terms of grooming a successor, I believe that daughters can also be successors to the family business if they choose to be. Children grow up to be their own people, experiencing life in their own ways. My job as a father is to provide my children with quality education, food and shelter to the best of my abilities and to guide them with good values and principles. I am happy that my daughter who chose a completely unrelated career path has taken interest in the business. What makes this even special is how genuine the interest is as it came from her and I can see her working hard towards it. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with her and growing as a businessman as she shares her perspective of the job.