Nadia Al Dossary started out as an Avon lady in Saudi Arabia, despite societal disapproval, fast becoming one of its most successful global reps. That was until fate intervened to see her step into her husband’s role as CEO of the Al-Sale Eastern steel company. In the face of company censure, her employees soon learned to underestimate her at their peril.

Turning a family company into a global success story worth hundreds of millions is an incredible feat by any measure. When you add to that the political and religious obstacles faced by women in business in the Middle East, Al Dossary’s trajectory from selling Avon cosmetics to becoming CEO of the Al-Sale Eastern steel company is nothing short of inspirational.

Now a recognised international trailblazer for women in business everywhere, the Saudi Arabian entrepreneur has lunched with US Presidents and boasts a stellar profile on the global media stage. But her nascent days were a far cry from of all this. Al Dossary’s early period at the helm of the Al-Sale company after her husband – the then-CEO – was involved in a life-threatening accident involved regular run-ins with employees and the ‘religious police’.

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