Doua AqelTell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am a Palestinian refugee. I was born in Jordan and currently live between three countries.

I have over a decade’s experience working in the tech industry, in the MENA market. I am currently a community growth specialist and a digital business development professional.

I built my own company in 2020, working mainly with start-ups in the innovation space, focusing on areas related to user behaviour, community management and strategy to implementation.

I am currently working with WOLF (The World’s Online Festival) to launch its first online festival dedicated to women. The festival is the first of its kind, focusing on empowering women, showing their talent to the world and giving the opportunity to be heard by large audiences in MENA.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?    

I knew that I liked seeing things grow – plants, teams, families, communities … But back then I didn’t think that there was a whole career focusing on growth, I started out in tech companies where there is so much growth potential.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Every single day is a challenging day when you’re a successful woman working in tech, in the Middle East!  I was fortunate and I managed to get the right education, to travel, to work with companies that helped me grow, although it wasn’t always like that!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Being part of the WOLF team is one of them. WOLF is so supportive of women in tech in MENA and it’s fantastic to be part of an online festival that is championing women’s talents in the Middle East.

The festival we’re creating celebrates women and gives them a platform to have a voice and be heard.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I have a great family, five sisters, great parents, and a wonderful husband who have supported all of my dreams and helped me grow without making any obstacles. They are always there for me and never hesitate to help me.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Never underestimate your skills, don’t hesitate to go grab an opportunity when you see one, and never be afraid to be the one speaking your mind in a room full of men.

Be present and learn learn learn! Knowledge is power! Fight for your voice to be heard.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I do and I don’t see those barriers disappearing soon. As women we need to stand up for each other and be each other’s supporters, keep asking for equal pay, equal hiring process and equal opportunities.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Companies need to offer equal opportunities for women, especially in leadership roles, they should invest more in women talents and help them grow. WOLF is a great example of that in the MENA region.

There is currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Normalise it! Being a woman and a leader shouldn’t be news, it should be normal and expected. For as long as it’s odd to have a female CEO, we are behind.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are three books I’d recommend, Firstly, Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play, Contagious and 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson.

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