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Maitha Al Ahbabi: Head of the Risk Management Unit, National Archives of UAE

Maitha Al Ahbabi, IRMCert

Head of Risk Management Unit

National Archives of UAE


How did you get your job?

I joined the workforce in November 2009 as an Assistant Analyst for Major Projects Budgeting. In September 2011 our executive director decided to perform a job rotation across the sector and I got assigned as a risk analyst. At the time, the risk management section was yet to be established, with newly appointed head of section and two other employees; none of which had any prior experience in this field. It was a challenge because we were primarily responsible for developing the unit, this involved setting the policy, methodology, procedures, templates, and so on. Nevertheless, we focused on self-development in order to carry out the task given.

We spent a lot of time searching and reading about risk management, reaching out to experts, and examining practices of local and international organizations. I was very much drawn to the field and started to realize the significance of this function in any organization. Although the rotation period was for six months only I decided to make risk management a long life career path and requested to be permanently transferred to the risk management section and my request was granted. With six years in the field, receiving few job offers along the way, I am today Head of Risk Management Unit at the National Archives of UAE.             

What’s a typical day like as a Head of Risk Management?

As Head of Risk Management Unit, I am responsible for risk management and business continuity management. Our role is aimed at facilitating the effective implementation of those two processes across the National Archives and fostering the right culture to do so. Therefore, we hold a lot of regular meetings and workshops with employees from all levels (managers, section and unit heads, technical and administrative employees, experts …etc.) to achieve that. We also manage our ISO accreditation in risk management and business continuity.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The exposure that I get to all aspects in my organization is unparalleled. I get to learn about all the functions and services but from a unique perspective. So, although we undergo a routine process, there is always something new to be discussed and dealt with.

What are the challenges?

Finding a dedicated team to work with in risk management is the biggest challenge I have faced. Not everybody is as enthusiastic about risk management as I wish especially when faced by people who incessantly question the benefit or value of its application, which usually requires some time to achieve.

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

I have obtained International Certificate in Risk Management in 2015 and currently studying for the International Diploma in ERM. The IRM qualifications provides a valuable reinforcement to my practical experience. It also contributes to my professional credibility and achieving a rank that makes me stand among the crowd.

What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?

The IRM is a very good source for those seeking to be constantly well informed about the developments in risk management and related fields. Moreover, they are very committed when it comes to organizing well-recognized events and providing relevant training courses.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?

My career path is still focused on risk management, however, I am also keen on exploring other fields that contributes to organizational resilience. Business continuity management, crisis management, and information security management are essentially the areas I am interested in.   

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