Deemah AlYahya

Deemah AlYahya

Deemah AlYahya is a Saudi digital economy expert and a tech diplomat who serves as the Secretary-General of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO).

AlYahya is the founding Secretary-General of the DCO since her election in April 2021. The DCO is the world’s first standalone intergovernmental global organization focusing on accelerating digital transformation and advancing digital economy, while empowering women and youth.

As the Secretary-General, AlYahya is an advisor, connecting heads of state, government ministers and private sector digital economy leaders together. She facilitates multilateral, multistakeholder digital cooperation to bridge the gap, bringing all digital economy key stakeholders to co-create and co-design high-impact initiatives leading to a world where every country, business, and person has a fair opportunity to prosper in an inclusive and sustainable digital economy. She has been spearheading various initiatives and projects across the globe to this end, keeping multilateral, multistakeholder cooperation as a pillar.

As a lifelong tech enthusiast with a passion for empowering women in the ICT sector, AlYahya founded Women Spark, a non-profit organization to enable developers, tech founders, and investors with the tools they need to grow, through training and mentorship.

AlYahya additionally serves on several boards, including Riyad Capital, SAIP – Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, SCAI – Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligency, and SAFSCP – The Saudi Federation for Cyber Security and Programming.

AlYahya studied at King Saud University, graduating with a BA in Computer Science and Information Systems. She started her career at Samba financial institution as a software engineer, before joining Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange. In both appointments she was a pioneer, as the first female IT professional in what was a male dominant environment at the time.

AlYahya moved to Microsoft in 2009, a dream she had nurtured since she was a child. Promoted to Executive Director of Developer Experience and Digital Innovation, she became the first Saudi woman in a leadership role at Microsoft, responsible for expanding the regional developer ecosystem and in empowering youth, women, and independent software vendors by providing the technology, skills and tools needed to evolve from job seekers to job creators. The opportunity led AlYahya to embark on cross-country initiatives, working with governments such as Singapore, South Korea, and the UK on their digital transformation strategies.

From 2016 to 2017, AlYahya led the development of Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation strategy as the CEO who established the National Digital Transformation Unit (NDU). It was at NDU that AlYahya realized how the growth of an inclusive digital economy can only be achieved through cross-border data flow and cooperation. She has launched several impact-driven initiatives, such as Saudi Codes, an initiative to help people learn how to use code, reaching over 1.2 million participants. She subsequently founded ALMTD Consulting to enable better private and public sector cooperation models within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to achieve positive digital transformation and respond to the fast-growing digital economy.

In 2018, AlYahya was recognized with the “Digital CEO of the Year” award by Entrepreneur Middle East magazine. AlYahya is a graduate of the INSEAD senior executive programs: International Directors Programme; Leading Digital Transformation & Innovation in the Age of Disruption; and Business Development & Financial Acumen. She also completed various programs at Harvard Business School, including Leading & Building a Culture of Innovation; and Disruptive Innovation: Strategies for a Successful Enterprise.

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  • Organization
    Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), Saudi Arabia
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