In conversation with Rasha Ghanem, Communications Director at Ford Motor Company
In light of the International Women’s Day this year, with the #EmbraceEquity, we took this opportunity to speak to a powerful and successful woman in the Middle East, that is breaking glass ceilings and making a name for herself in a predominantly male dominated industry; Rasha Ghanem, Communications Director at Ford Motors.
Rasha Ghanem’s Journey to Ford
We started off by asking Rasha a fundamental question; What was the journey that led her to where she is today? Rasha replied that since completing her Master’s degree in Linguistics and Translation, she’s had a passion for words and story telling. “I believe in the power of narrative, which is what drove me to choose communication as my full-time job.”
Starting her career in her native home of Lebanon as a part-time translator for the United Nations, to a full-time journalist, she then moved to Dubai in 2006 to work for a number of PR organizations and eventually a giant American Automotive Automaker, which is where she discovered her love for the Automotive world, and this dived right into it.
Rasha did not receive much support from some men at first when mentioning that she worked in the Automotive industry, often being met with eye rolls and fake smiles, but this just pushed her even harder and led her to drive to break the stigma of men dominating certain fields.
Rasha is now the first Arab female leader in the Ford Middle East leadership team; with her journey with Ford starting almost 11 years ago! To achieve this, Rasha credits her continuous sources of inspiration to push her forward at all times, most of which comes from her family and children. After becoming a mom, Rasha realized the meaning of life, through the constant unconditional love and support of her children, who are always teaching her many things despite their young age.
Women’s Day 2023 #EmbraceEquity
In the words of Rasha, “Who says we need one day to celebrate women? Everyday can be Women’s Day.” Having said that, Rasha added that she does feel a strong connection with this year’s theme #EmbraceEquity, as it is an important reminder to embrace diversity and inclusion in our everyday lives, which is also an important opportunity to reflect and celebrate the achievements of those great women around us.
Women in Ford
According to Rasha, Ford has always placed importance on topics such as diversity and inclusion, which Rasha resonates with. “We’re constantly challenging ourselves and people around us on how to do better; and striving to create a sense of trust and belonging among each other. We even go beyond ourselves and connect with our customers by treating them as family – again, regardless of who and how they are.”
In the Middle East, Rasha is a proud representative of her fellow female colleagues on the leadership team. Rasha is also an active member of the Women at Ford – Middle East chapter, who meet on a regular basis to share stories and brainstorm ideas while also meeting on a regular basis to brainstorm, and share their stories in order to learn, grow, and achieve equity.
Rasha believes that change is the way forward, and coming together to embrace #EmbraceEquity to make an impact. “Looking around, there is still so much inequality and bias, and so many discriminating stereotypes. My role as a mother, wife, and leader is to campaign against these disparities in a very vocal manner. I will always challenge those around me because I want to contribute to securing a better world.”
As a woman working in Ford, there are many positive aspects for Rasha. She discusses how many of those appointed recently to key positions at automotive companies in the Middle East are in fact women! Rasha expresses great pride in how the industry is becoming more and more inclusive and its way forward, however, she believes that there is still more to be done. Rasha believes that change is the way forward, and coming together to embrace #EmbraceEquity to make an impact. “Looking around, there is still so much inequality and bias, and so many discriminating stereotypes … I will always challenge those around me because I want to contribute to securing a better world.”
Speaking further on the way forward, Rasha emphasizes the importance of challenging ourselves and everyone around us to continue to promote diversity in the workplace, and continue to support women who are in male-dominated fields. Rasha believes that this work starts in schools and universities. “I would love to use this opportunity – and through your media outlet – to call on all women leaders working for different OEMs in the Middle East to get in touch with me directly to explore building our own network.”
Her advice to any woman interested in advancing her career, is first and foremost to never be intimidated! The most important thing is to believe in oneself, and have the ambition, passion and courage to grow. Rasha strongly encourages women, especially students, to identify their own mentors around them to help direct them towards the right path. Many companies offer training programs, which Rasha strongly advises women to enroll in, to learn and know more, while making sure to embrace change at any point.
“I am even more excited about the future and what it may hold as we go through this global transformation toward becoming the leader in developing and delivering innovative, must-have trucks, sport utility vehicles, commercial vans, and cars, along with connected services.