As a girl growing up in Kuwait, Sarah Behbehani dreamed about going to America to study. So, when she received a marriage proposal in her final year of high school from a man who planned on moving to the US, she accepted and followed him there. Married at 17 and a mother by 18, she had to mature quickly. “I had to forgo all the typical teenager things because I had become a mother so young.
I found it particularly hard to study and work while raising two young children but now, while most women my age are taking time out to raise their children, I have the opportunity to focus on my career. And I love how my son, Redha (20), and daughter, Dina (15), are my best friends,” she shares.
Sarah joined Shell in 2010 as an Account Manager in SILS (Shell Trading International LNG Supply) origination team covering India and the Middle East. At the time, she had more than 10 years’ experience in trading as well as an MBA from the London Business School.
Currently, she works in Dubai and is the Regional Team Lead for liquefied natural gas (LNG) Trading, covering India, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South America. “I enjoy the opportunity to work internationally,” she says. “My Blackberry has become like a limb – I don’t know what I’d do without it. Thanks to technology, I can work from anywhere in the world while still staying in touch with my family.”
Redha is currently studying pre-medicine at the University of California, Berkeley while Dina is staying in Kuwait with Sarah’s mother. “Before joining Shell in Dubai, I had been living with my children in London for nine years and they had no Kuwaiti heritage. I wanted them to go to Kuwait, believing the move would give them some stability,” she explains.
“It was good for them – they had time to make wonderful friends and when I gave them the option a few years later to join me in Dubai, they both chose to stay in Kuwait. I travel back home to visit Dina every six weeks and I see Redha during his summer holidays and over Christmas.”