Updated: Aug 28, 2021
Nada Ahmed works in the Energy Industry as a Digital and Transformation Leader at Aker Solutions in Norway. She holds a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Rice University, Houston, Texas.
Nada’s interest in STEM began early in her childhood, as she has always been interested in maths and science. She mentions, she is thankful to her father who made sure that Nada chose science subjects in middle and high school. He gave her the liberty of choosing her career path but wanted her to build a solid foundation in science and maths, as these subjects can open many doors of opportunities. Nada’s dad has been her mentor, who was an engineer himself and made sure that Nada would grow up to be an independent woman. Nada studied environmental engineering as an undergraduate at the University of Richmond, Virginia. She did her master’s at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She experimented with many different subjects, but during her master’s she settled for science. Nada found it very fascinating to learn about atoms and how energy works in this world. She had teachers who encouraged her to continue down the path of STEM. However, when Nada really began to explore her career options, she wanted to find an area where shecould feel her positive contribution. She’s felt passionately about the environment, so chose that as her focus point in her Master’s. At that time, she would think of wanting to work in the energy industry and bring a change from the inside, and to work towards sustainability. Unfortunately, Nada did not find many mentors during her school years, but early in her career was lucky enough to find female mentors. She is very thankful for their guidance and believes that their contribution has been crucial to her success. They showed her how one can be oneself and lead in a manner, which will make an ever-lasting impact.
In terms of work, then Nada is used to working in teams, in which she mentions she has lots of fun and loves to be creative with her solutions. There is a big misconception at times that STEM is not creative, but Nada describes herself as a very creative person, and she loves bringing creativity to work and challenging the team everyday to bring their most creative self to work. They do fun workshops, where they get to design new products and services, create new solutions and this really allows everyone to think outside the box. They all use their creativity to find a good way to communicate the solutions and our business to our customers and stakeholders. Nada’s work consists of many presentations, which can sometimes get a little boring, therefore she puts in extra effort to make them entertaining. She also gets to work offshore on an oil and gas platform and ensure safe operations. Due to her work, she gets to travel (when there isn’t a pandemic), and meet customers in-person, and has colleagues all over the world. Her projects can include complex engineering problems, construction of equipment, designing a new concept for offshore wind farm or creating digital solutions for our operations. Nada considers her biggest accomplishment when she won the ‘Top Women in Tech Award’ in Norway, which is a huge achievement indeed. A thing, which Nada would love to go back in time and tell her younger self that is that fact that she works as a leader within technology and serves as a role model for so many other aspiring women.
If Nada had the chance of making life easier for women in STEM, then she would make it her top priority to train others on inclusion and diversity: awareness around how genders are different and that women should not be expected to conform to the masculine stereotype. Policy and legislation that mandate women representation on boards and discourages discrimination based on gender is extremely important. Another major step would be, if men could support women, but also women need to support each other.
For younger girls, Nada believes it is important to show them examples of what STEM can do for them. Role models early on are important. She also thinks that culture plays a huge role, we do not expose them enough to math and science through play. There needs to be a bigger focus in schools to encourage girls to take sciences, and at least explore that path on their own pace.
Lastly, here are Nada’s closing words of encouragement for young girls who want to join a STEM field:
“We need women to be part of creating the future, through STEM, you can have a seat on the table, you can decide what the world looks like. We need you to build the future.”
You can contact Nada Ahmed on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nadaahmed-agileleadership/
She also runs an Instagram account, where she frequently talks about her work: @agile_leadership
I thank Nada Ahmed for taking part in this project and answering all the questions in a very informative manner. I hope, your experience and STEM story will inspire a young girl to join a STEM field and excel just like you have.