#Women2Drive Co-Founder Manal al-Sharif Joins Trailblazer Panel at Workhuman Live 2020

January 17, 2020 Sarah Payne

3-minute read

Manal Al-sharifWhen I first started high school, I remember beginning the countdown to get my learner’s permit. I happily enrolled in driver’s ed and took extra driving lessons on the weekends. I took many white-knuckled drives behind the wheel with my father in the passenger seat, critiquing me and quizzing me on which highway goes in which direction

Finally holding my official driver’s license, I felt an immense sense of freedom. No longer did I have to work around someone else’s schedule – whether my parents’ or a friend’s parents’. I drove my siblings to school, drove to dance lessons and track meets, and gladly made frequent stops at Dunkin’ Donuts. At the age of 16, I had infinitely more freedom than many women around the world will experience in their entire lives

Learning harrowing stories of women in other countries fighting for basic human rights, I feel immense gratitude for just being born in the United States. Many women don’t have the privilege of grabbing the keys for a quick drive to the market without risking their safety and the safety of their family. Manal al-Sharif, co-founder in the #Women2Drive movement to challenge the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, is one of these remarkable women.

At Workhuman® Live 2020, Manal will join moderator Cy Wakeman for a new session titled, “Leave your mark: A panel discussion with world-renowned changemakers and trailblazers.” The panel will kick off the last day of the conference with uplifting stories from trailblazers who didn’t wait for change, but made it happen. After all, change doesn’t trickle down – its seed is planted in seemingly ordinary people driven by passion and purpose.

That’s certainly true for Manal, best-selling author of her memoir, “Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening.” In her inspirational TED talk, she said, “I have no clue, really, how I became an activist. But all I know and all I’m sure of is, in the future, when someone asks me my story, I will say, ‘I’m proud to be amongst those women who lifted the ban.’”

Manal is one of the most prominent global voices advocating for women’s rights and empowerment. She was arrested and imprisoned for “driving while female,” and was the first Saudi woman to specialize in information security back in 2002. Her many awards include being named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and one of Newsweek’s 150 Fearless Women of the World.

“I believe a society will not be free if women of that society are not free,” she said in her TED talk.

In San Antonio, Manal will share her story and perspective as a working woman in a mostly male-dominated field worldwide and in Saudi Arabia. She’ll also talk about the differences our actions can make to better position women now and for the future.

Reserve your spot today to see Manal at Workhuman Live in San Antonio, May 11-14, 2020. And stay tuned for additional trailblazer speaker announcements in the months leading up to the conference.

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About the Author

Sarah Payne

Sarah is managing editor at Workhuman. When not writing about all things culture, leadership, recognition, and appreciation, she enjoys iced coffee, running, and spending time with her daughter, Mabel.

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