Shaikha Ali Salem Al Maskari was born in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi. Shaikha studied in the UK and the United States. She started her career with the ADNOC Group and the last ten years at ADCO, where she served at the main office in Abu Dhabi with visits to on-shore oil fields at Buhasa, Asab, Shah, Habshan, the oil terminal at Jebel Dhanna, at the rigs and degassing stations and occasionally, visits to ADMA and Zadco offshore installations.
In 1989, Shaikha left ADCO to join her family’s petroleum company, Al Maskaria Establishment, one of the oldest Arab Gulf’s privately owned oil and gas companies, established in 1968 by Shaikha’s mother, Her Highness Sheikha Azza Bint Saif Al Maskari, the matriach of the Al Maskari tribe, with earlier offices in Libya, Algeria and Switzerland.
Al Maskaria Establishment mastered the full scope of oil and gas services, for both down-stream and up-stream. Al Maskaria Establishment, accommodating the operations of the Abu Dhabi and Gulf oil companies, spanning from exploration, petroleum development, trading, petrochemicals, oil and gas field installations and maintenance, environmental impact assessment, pollution mitigation (including marine) HSE, quality assurance, oil field equipment procurement, catering and general trading, and healthcare – with the setting up of the Al Maskari Medical Centers and Al Maskari Pharmacies to provide medical care to the oil fields staff and the modest local community.
Upon taking over, Shaikha effected two major organizational restructurings. Firstly, the Al Maskaria Establishment named as Tricon Energy Operations (abbreviation for the three continents of the company’s operations, the Middle East, Australia and USA (where the family already owned Tricon America Corporation). Secondly, to boost efficiencies, optimization of finances and expertise, Shaikha decentralized the organization and created new enterprise clusters. Within ten years, she steered the organization to become the Tricon Group, with twenty major diversified companies and offices in UAE, GCC, USA, Europe, Turkey and Singapore, prioritizing on partnerships with Government-linked firms and global majors in abu Dhabi, Singapore, Portugal and Qatar.
In 2008, empowered by young Al Maskari technocrats teaming with their “family” of international experts, Al Maskari Holding (AMH) was set up, as the umbrella organization for Al Maskari family companies and assets worldwide, engaged in oil, gas, renewables, mining, healthcare, security, public safety, private equity, facilities management, food services, security and HR Services.
As a service for her country, in 2001 Shaikha founded the Global Institute of Justice & Technology (GIJT), for training the UAE Ministry of Interior personnel in Law Enforcement and Security with eighty-nine courses under strategic partnerships with major Canadian, US, Australian, UK, Swedish and South African institutions. Also, Shaikha set up the Global Paramedic & Rescue Academy, (GPRA) for training in Paramedic and Rescue Services (land, sea and air) in alliance with the civil defence in UAE. The institutes fast rose to prominence receiving premium awards, including some by the US Commercial Services “The Winners Circle” and “Certificate of Appreciation for Enhancing UAE Medical Care”, numerous awards from the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police, the Education Zones, the UAE and Qatar Red Crescent Societies. H.M., the King of Saudi Arabia, awarded the director of our Global Paramedic And Rescue Academy, the Gold Medal for promptly preventing fire from spreading at Pilgrims tents in Mena, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In 1993 Shaikha founded her family charity, United Mercy Foundation, UMF, (presently operated under AMH) which sets up and sponsors orphanages (including an orphanage in Travendrum, Kerala, India), sponsors orphans, provides food for the needy in the Middle East, Africa & Asia and emergency relief in crisis zones. In 2003, Shaikha co-founded the Diyabakir (Grameen) Micro-credit Project in Turkey, with presently over 70,000 successful entrepreneurs. Shaikha formed in-house CSR sections “Global Social Empowerment Alliance”, to drive transformation of family-social mind sets to raise children on the 4 C’s – Confidence, Conscience, Compassion and Collaboration – towards cross-ethnic, cross-cultural and interfaith harmonious co-existence, and “Global Environmental Responsibility Alliance” GERA, to draw public awareness and cooperation for the conservation of resources.
Shaikha is the Chairperson of: Al Maskari Holding, AMH, the Tricon Group, Johnson Controls and Global Communications, JCGC, Emirates & Al Maskari Holding, E & AMH, Global Communication Recruitment Services, GCRS and Orsat, with numerous Corporate Board Directorships, in Singapore and USA. Her NGO Directorships include: Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF), International Cooperation Platform (ICP), Advisory Board of Abu Dhabi Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and Emirates-Swiss Friendship Forum, E-SSF.
Shaikha Al Maskari studied for BA at the University of London, MA and PhD (Prog/geology) at Indiana University and trained in geophysics with the US Geological Survey.
Among Shaikha’s numerous awards are the Forbes Middle East “Most Powerful Arab Women in Business”, the Australian Government “For Making Outstanding Contribution to Enhancing Australia-UAE Relations”, Arab Women Awards “2014 Emarati Businesswoman Of The Year, Global Thinkers Forum “Excellence In Business”, Am/Cham Abu Dhabi “Falcon Award For Promoting UAE-US Trade Relations”, Am/Cham MENA “Best Woman Entrepreneur”, TIAW World of Difference Award “For Outstanding Contribution In Making All The Difference In The World To The Economic Empowerment Of Women”, GL / Zayed University “Women Leaders In UAE Awards 2015 “Arab’s Most Influential Business Woman” and “Arab Woman Humanitarian”, World Leadership Congress “2015 Business Leadership Excellence Award”, the Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce for “Enhacing the Economic Empowerment of Women in the UAE, World Women Leadership Congress, “Women Leadership Achievement Award 2015”, the Petroleum Institute & Kuwait University Award For “Contribution To Women In Offshore Engineering”; University of Iowa, “EP Adler Lecture Award” for “Promoting Global Cross-Cultural Understanding”, Capstone for “Global Humanitarian Services”, Abu Dhabi Cultural Heritage for “Promoting Indo-Arab Relations”, the UAE Red Crescent and Qatar Red Crescent Trophies for “Emergency Aid”. Shaikha’s 2016 Awards include: Global CSR “Life Time Achievement Award” and Outstanding Social Impacts Award, Award by the Egyptian Businesswomen Association under the Auspices of the League of Arab Nations.
Shaikha has never hesitated to walk away from lucrative but tainted deals. She deems good governance “empirical” in business operations, management and a spiritual duty, elaborating that “No creed commends fraudulent pursuits of wealth”.