Thriving at the helm as a female leader in business

Sunday 14 Feb 2021

It is refreshing when a female leader emerges in a market such as Egypt, tackling the challenges and the current pandemic head-on.

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It is refreshing when a female leader emerges in a market such as Egypt, tackling the challenges and the current pandemic head-on. As part of Egypt’s 2030 vision, the country aims to increase the participation of women in the workforce to 40 percent by 2030 from the current 22.9 percent  as per 2019 study by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. 

“It is important for organisations to create a conducive environment for women in the workplace, and Nokia has been doing exactly this through regular, consistent programs on promoting strong gender equality,” says Radwa Hafez, country senior officer at Nokia Egypt. “Women can add tremendous value to any organisation, but that value can only be extracted through a nurturing environment where you are encouraged to grow. They need to not overthink things and believe in themselves – anyone can do it.”

She says one of her biggest challenges, and accomplishments was the merger between Nokia and Alcatel Lucent. “It is always difficult bringing two separate cultures together, while still maintaining customer delivery,” says Hafez. “Also, working in a market where having a female leader is still unusual makes for quite a challenge. One that I am pleased to have overcome and which I see as one of my big successes. As a leader, I value communication, trust and youth development.”

Communication and Trust were two values that Radwa had to rely on when COVID-19 pandemic brokeout. we’d never seen anything like this, so we had to ensure business continuity, especially with the critical role that telecom had to play during the pandemic while of course ensuring employees’ safety and keeping their level of engagement. ” says Hafez. “We also rallied our peoples’ support for a donation that Nokia made to a special quarantine hospital, which highlighted the solidarity Nokia Egypt has for the community.”

Nokia Egypt has also invested a lot of effort in student outreach across universities through mechanisms such as hackathons and real-life experience sharing. “This campaign proved highly successful as it helped address many of the practical questions on students’ minds,” she concludes.  “Now we get thousands of applications for our summer internship which is also essential to us as we are working together with telecom operators in Egypt towards building cutting edge 5G networks, leveraging our secure and world class products.

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