The Tenacious Builders

Each one of us is built from tiny little pieces that are combined in different ways to make us the unique individuals we are today.

On March 8th 2021, Nesma and ig human capital launched a joint initiative to honor the limitless tenacity of women in a very unique way. Every team member was invited to take a moment, reflect on women’s journey, on what women have built and on all the achievements of women. Based on those reflections, different shapes were built out of small Lego pieces to tell the story of women. Commenting on this activity, Noura Alturki, Nesma Vice President, said: “It seemed so appropriate for women to share their stories through building. After all, women have been building since the day they were born.”

Many of the women who created the Lego shapes actually work in the construction field at Nesma and were able to capture the following statements in the shapes that they built:

“In an industry with all the odds against you, never be afraid to speak up, fight for equality and your right to succeed.”

“Women are builders. Builders of… Lego shapes, strength in family, and bonds in community.”

“I refined and grew my skills to build my character. Construction is not easy, nor is every beautiful building strong.”

“I have grown to be as uniquely reliable and as stable as a lighthouse tower: ready to help, guide, and direct the new leaders to their right path.”

“Working towards having Nesma Women at the top of the Construction Industry, planning and overseeing building excellence.”

The common thing among all the Lego shapes built and phrases written is the strength, ambition, passion and aspiration of these women that have proven on and on that they can rise up to any challenge.

This initiative was complimented by a similar one at ighcc, whereby each team member chose one object that to them represented women’s tenacity, took a photo of it and described the reason behind choosing it.

Joelle Samaha, Senior Learning and Development Manager, chose a candle and lights for her photo. Her description of this was:

“I like the definition of the word “Tenacious”, it means persisting in existence and not easily dispelled. Nothing embodies Tenacity more than a Lebanese Woman. I, personally, was born in the civil war and lately have been diving into my ancestral heritage and been humbled by the stories of the women of this land. I would like to honor the generations of tenacious Lebanese women with untold stories. Like my item, you are beams of light who made sure to persist and share your legacy to the next generations.

Just looking back at the last 200 years, women of my countries you:

Gave life,
Buried your children and martyrs with your head held high,
Created a home even in the worst times of wars and destruction,
Carried weapons and fought,
Built businesses and empires,
Shaped the directions of any revolution whether it’s social, political or intellectual.
As for the candle on top, and in the words of Lebanese Poet Nadia Tueni: “Women of my country, even in chaos you discover what endures.”“

Anthony Yazbeck, Senior Consultant, chose a photo of stones balanced on top of each other, stating: “In the preface to her book “Zen Women”, Grace Schireson shares an anecdote about a male teacher returning from a conference. A female student asked him: “How many women teachers were included in this conference?” The male teacher answered: “We were all women.”
His response is a constant reminder that “men” and “women” are simply labels and our job is to transcend them. Structural and societal barriers are still present; and the need to act beyond such barriers is still key. Be a supporter of inclusive systems and changes that aid gender equality even if you don’t personally need them immediately.
Today, we come together at ig to celebrate you. You embrace your compelling and captivating nature as a human being. You are capable. You are tenacious.”

Rachelle Abi Jawdeh, Admin and Operations Specialist, chose photos of paintings done by a woman artist that she knows. Rachelle’s statement about these paintings was the following: “What makes me a tenacious woman is my determination to live my life fully by reaching my goals and following my dreams. The fact that I was born and raised in a family surrounded by strong women reminds me each day of the importance of us standing stronger together. My main inspiration is human strength derived from female role models. Generation by generation, we teach women to be unapologetically who they are and to fight for what they believe in. My chosen subject is the artwork of another fierce fellow woman that lives her life being inspired by human beauty and resilience. You will see her trying to capture the essence of human emotion on canvas. Her calm depiction of the female figure portrays the concept of light after darkness reflecting on our breakthroughs after our daily struggles.”

Amanda Rizkallah, Consultant, saw women’s tenacity in a Bonsai tree, describing it as follows: “A bonsai tree is known to be a symbol of harmony, peace, an order of thoughts, balance and all that is good in nature. It is also meant to signify strength through adversity. Some of the oldest Bonsai in the world are over 800 years old, the result of many generations of patience and hard work. I chose this tree to represent women’s tenacity because it is a work of living art that embodies so many symbols and meanings. Sometimes, with a bonsai, and in order to encourage new growth, entire branches must be removed, leaving a permanent scar. That scar becomes part of the Bonsai’s character. If performed skillfully, this can add to its beauty. Women are both the skillful Bonsai artist and the Bonsai tree. We incorporate those scars into our lives until they become a beautiful part of our character. The adversity of pruning makes us stronger.”

Sandra Haddad, ig Facilitator, chose a towel to represent her tenacity stating that: “The towel I am holding represents my tenacity. No matter how you try to tear it or fold it, it will remain in one piece and the wrinkles will disappear with time.
Having a clear goal makes me more tenacious when the going gets tough. I just know deep down that I will get there and I am sure I will be trying all the possible ways. Jonathan Lockwood Huie referenced this when he said, “Circumstances don’t defeat you — you defeat yourself when you give up.””

Sophie Tamer, ig Facilitator, saw women’s tenacity in a photo of her children with a music speaker next to it, saying that “The quality of being a tenacious woman comes from the love of my children to help them develop the trait of perseverance as a stepping stone for success rather than backing down. The second item I chose is a music speaker that implies listening. My people-oriented listening skill helps me connect and understand people to deal with the world a little bit better.”

Sami Tohme, ig Facilitator and Lebanese Red Cross Volunteer chose a photo of the red cross vest, describing what it represents to him: “Half, if not more, of our ambulances are driven by women. Half of our teams (and sometimes all of them) are women, carrying patients down the staircases, up the hills, through explosions and combat zones. Blood, engine oil, fires and many more things you cannot imagine…And not once has any woman done any lesser job than her male counterpart.
We don’t even need to differentiate between men and women in what we do, because we all get the job done right!
Women going beyond the call of duty…”

Camil El Khoury, Senior Partner at ighcc built a lego shape of his own, stating that the way he sees women, is that they have a sharp eye on the target, wear different hats and maintain balance in a very volatile world.

We are honored to have tenacious builders in our teams, and we believe in the boundless possibilities that can result from the multitude of talents that women possess.



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