As part of pledging MADI to #100daysforchange by promoting women in non-traditional work roles, we’ll be championing women who are breaking down stereotypical barriers, leading the workforce and being agents for change.
Meet Rania Awad!
Rania is currently the CEO of Smart Asset Software in addition to being an experienced Advisory Board Member with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry.
Rania is honoured to be part of sharing her story and although she wears many hats, she took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions around her career and diversity so that the next generation can “be what they can see”.
What do you love about your chosen career?
I love being the CEO at Smart Asset Software, because it enables me to build creative solutions to solve complex real world problems. I love the challenges that come with transforming businesses and building teams. It gives me great joy to watch my team members and clients prosper as a result of the work that we do.
How did you get to where you are today?
My story begins in war time Lebanon where I grew up and the lessons that I learnt surviving in a war zone. I arrived in Australia when I was 11, and in that moment arriving here, felt like winning the Lottery. Compared to where I came from, everything felt possible because you’re not constantly trying to simply survive, and opportunities were there for those who wanted them. I quickly developed a risk-taking mantra- I would ask myself “what’s the worst thing that can happen?” Whenever I was presented with opportunities that required a level of risk taking….My answer would always be….”The worst case scenario…is still better than the scenario I was living on a daily basis in Lebanon which was not my choice”. This attitude enabled me to grab onto opportunities with both hands and take risks that most people wouldn’t. I started my first Pharmacy business at the age of 22 and launched one of the very first online pharmacies in Australia by the age of 24. My businesses became my platform for continual growth and learning. I have a hunger for new knowledge and I constantly have my nose buried in a book! This curiosity has made it easy for me to develop skills that are transferrable across multiple industries.
What would you suggest to other women who want to follow in your footsteps?
Stay curious, and when you’re hesitating, ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen here?” Be honest with yourself, assess the risk vs your risk appetite, then take a leap! It’s so much fun.
Have you worked for any organisation that promoted diversity?
For the majority of my career, I have worked in my own businesses/companies with the exception of a 4-year stint consulting. Within my company, diversity is simply the way we are every day. We all come from diverse backgrounds, cultures, beliefs etc and as a team we are all better for it.
What, if any, diversity challenges have you encountered in your career?
I was doing a consulting project at a client site when I encountered a very sexist and arrogant male who was offended that I was there to review and comment on his work. He openly said to the CEO that he has a real issue receiving direction from a female. The CEO instead of handling the problem, came to me to ask for leniency with this guy, in fact he asked me to pass all comments, notes etc through him first and he would then pass it to the man in question. That infuriated me, and I openly told the CEO that he is enabling this behaviour and hence he is just as guilty, if not more so as the man in question. The CEO stepped up and corrected the situation.
What’s next for you?
I have a vision for Smart Asset Software that I’m enjoying executing with the team immensely. For the next couple of years, I will be focused on making Smart Asset Software an Australian technology success story. I’m a Gemini though, and I am known to have a few things on the go at any given moment….so the accurate answer is “It could be anything!”
Rania is certainly a leader across the tech space and she is proof that staying curious and taking risks certainly pays off. You can connect with Rania on LinkedIn here and continue to follow her journey.
Thanks Rania xx