Lenexa, KS – Laura Owen is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Lenexa-based company ICOP Digital, which makes digital surveillance equipment. She's also the first woman to seal a major business deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this year, Owen's company sold surveillance cameras to the Saudi Interior Ministry for the country's internal security forces. Owen says she was impressed with how openly Saudi officials received her, a Western woman doing business in the male-dominated culture.
King Abdullah recently appointed the first woman as a Deputy Minister to his cabinet. And just last month, a university north of Jeddah began allowing women to study alongside men for the first time.
Laura Owen, who was the Kansas Secretary of Commerce under former Governor Joan Finney, told KCUR's Laura Ziegler that she believes her experiences are examples of ways Saudi Arabia may be moving toward a less restrictive society.