WOMEN’S HERITAGE WALK

Our History

The Women’s Heritage Walk from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain is an annual 125 km female only trek that was launched in 2015 by American author and Clinical Counselor Jody Ballard, and she now continues to grow the walk alongside her Emirati partner, Asma Al Mutawa, who is a prominent cultural & literature advocate.

The Walk is a heartfelt tribute to the women of the United Arab Emirates who helped shape the nation and focuses on 4 important pillars: women’s encouragement, culture and heritage, health and wellness, and community building. 

OUR 4 PILLARS

Culture & Heritage

Culture is imbued in daily rites and traditions. To truly learn about a country, it is important to understand and take in the beauty of the UAE not just intellectually, but through all our senses. The Women’s Heritage Walk aims to highlight the UAE’s cultural and historical landmarks, its authentic folklore and traditions, and the remarkable legacy of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan AI Nahyan. In 2018, we will focus our journey around the Year of Zayed and help our participants learn more about the Father of the Nation.

Health & Wellness

Two months of physical training and desert treks build physical stamina among our walkers. The arduous physical and mental training program serve to promote positive lifestyle changes. This experience is not only for those training and completing the challenge. Family, friends, co-workers, and anyone connected to a walker will benefit vicariously. By watching their transformation, giving encouragement, and experiencing their difficulties and pride of accomplishment – everyone benefits.

Community Building

In our technologically connected world, we are more disconnected from people than ever. The Women’s Heritage Walk serves as an opportunity to learn about women from other countries. Proximity, shared hardships, and kindness creates an atmosphere of understanding and acceptance. The Walk creates an incredible sand sisterhood when they motivate each other in hard times, laugh heartily, and share the same vision of connectivity, adaptability and tolerance.

Women’s Empowerment

Individual strength is built from the inside – out and begins the moment we step away
from our comfort zone. When limitations are tested and fears overcome, participants
learn they can negotiate obstacles and unleash their full potential in all aspects of their
personal wellness: physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually

Culture & Heritage

Health & Wellness

Community Building

Supporting Women’s Encouragement

BOARD & TEAM

Jody J. Ballard

Jody J. Ballard

Founder, Women's Heritage Walk

Throughout the span of her career as a Licensed Clinical Therapist, Jody has strategically added training, seminars, and coaching. Developing programs within varied milieus afford people the opportunity to choose a comfortable medium for change. This process honors each person’s unique character and cultural differences.
Jody has an unyielding belief in the powerful nature of the curious mind. She is working and living between Hawaii and the UAE, where she founded the Women’s Heritage Walk.

With the deep knowledge and broad experience from living all over the world, she now pens novels. Her rich and varied understanding of human behavior imbues her writing with rare insight into the dynamic nature of relationships. Jody has just completed her second work of historical fiction, ‘Whispers From the Sands’, which centers around the rich, transformative stories of an Emirati grandfather as he endeavors to pass on his legacy.
Asma Al Mutawa

Asma Al Mutawa

Partner, Women's Heritage Walk

Asma Seddiq Al Mutawa is a Partner at the Women’s Heritage Walks and one of the forces behind its success. She is actively involved in a variety of community activities, and is most famously one of the key faces in the UAE’s literary scene. She began her literary salon Al Multaqa in 1999 and has grown it to become a member of the Movement of Clubs at the UNESCO.

Asma’s involvement is integral to ensuring that the walk truly honors Emirati heritage. In her own words she stated, “Honoring the past was one of his values, and in the Year of Zayed, the Women’s Heritage Walk shall highlight those values in an effort to preserve and celebrate our identity, traditions, and history.”

Dr. Roy Panzarella

Dr. Roy Panzarella

Co-Founder, Women's Heritage Walk

Dr. Roy Panzarella is a Managing Partner of Strategic Wellness Systems. The path less traveled characterizes Roy’s journey which is rooted in unyielding personal and professional integrity. His experiences are varied and notable and bring a depth of knowledge and a breadth of expertise transcending multiple disciplines. His thirty plus years of working and living abroad have given him a unique interpersonal perspective that enhances his training and coaching.

Clients from every walk of life experience immediate comfort and trust from Dr .Panzarella’s respectful demeanor and enduring confidence in his unparalleled competence in the field of Executive Leadership.

Estelle Gay

Estelle Gay

Operations & Logistics

Estelle is responsible for the operations and logistics at Women’s Heritage Walk. As a 2016 Sand Sister herself, she is passionate about ensuring the Walk continues to deliver a beautiful experience to other women. Her mind is a blend of art and science, but she always leads with her heart.

Her formal education in Finance and Communication keeps her artistic endeavors organized and her passion for education and parenting in harmony with life’s demands.

Anne Lange

Anne Lange

Operations & Logistics

Anne is responsible for the operations and logistics at Women’s Heritage Walk. She has a background in the culinary arts and served as Chef de Cuisine at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC before relocating to Abu Dhabi 7 years ago.

Anne is a certified health coach who inspires women to make positive and lasting lifestyle changes. Her aim is to engage in one-on-one consultation with women who are committed to making a change and discover a path to long lasting health and happiness that works for them.

Maya Itani

Maya Itani

Marketing Manager

Maya is an award-winning marketer with more than a decade of experience in multinational and SME marketing. After working for years in the corporate world, she decided to become an independent consultant to help mid-sized companies improve their businesses by applying multinational style marketing techniques and discipline. She is passionate about working with home grown businesses and building the local ecosystem in the UAE, as it has been her home for the past nine years.

In 2014, Maya was honored with the Emirates Woman of the Year Achiever Award for her work as an entrepreneur. She is also a proud wife and mother to a rambunctious daughter and a smiley newborn son.

Livi Florea

Livi Florea

Marketing Coordinator

Livi Florea is an Account Coordinator for the Women’s Heritage Walk. She is an enthusiastic and creative person with a solid background in advertising and a passion for the arts which drove her to became a self-taught graphic designer.

Livi is very proud to be part of the skillful and creative #sandsisters team.

JOIN OUR ADVENTURE