Ms. Ouided Bouchamaoui of Tunisia leads the Hedi Bouchamaoui Group, a family owned business spanning more than a hundred years.
In 2007, the HBG group was recognized as “an outstanding enterprise in showing how to implement positive social development.” Ouided Bouchamaoui saw this recognition as acknowledgement of her efforts to establish trustworthy relationships with all stakeholders in her business dealings.
Following the Arab Spring revolt in Tunisia, in 2011, the nation endured a period of deep economic slump, as well as political and social unrest. In January that same year, Ouided Bouchamaoui had been elected the first woman President of the Tunisian Confederacy of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, in recognition of the responsible stewardship demonstrated in the family business.
Within weeks of her election, she initiated a strategic move to collaborate with the Tunisian General Labor Union, through signing a Social Contract. The agreement aimed to provide decent work conditions at all levels, it expanded employment opportunities, and structured wage policies – as well as helping improve competition between enterprises.
Ms. Bouchamaoui then initiated a national dialogue on the economy, bringing together the Tunisian President, Prime Minister, President of the National Assembly and major participants from private and public enterprises. Their task was to set up a roadmap and a plan of action to slow down the crisis and help the economy.
She is seen as a central force in helping her nation move to a more transparent and collaborative society. Her deep belief in human capital and potential, and her honesty in all dealings with people, have made her a touchstone as Tunisia orients itself towards the future. In her own words, the secret is to build win-win partnerships and enduring relationships between opponents.
Ouided Bouchamaoui declined an offer to become Prime Minister, wishing to retain her independence, and to work as a mediator to achieve social stability and help foster economic development in Tunisia.
Ms. Bouchamaoui is a stellar example of businessworthy leadership, of dedicating one’s business energy to creating economic value that also creates value for society, through responsible and ethical work. While Tunisia’s challenges remain, it is from individuals such as Ms. Bouchamaoui a nation can draw hope for a better future.
For her admirable ability to build stability and peace, Ouided Bouchamaoui is named a Business for Peace Honouree.