How Dina Ayman Advocates For Global Diversity and Inclusion
By Dr. Brittany Chambers
“Engineering is not for girls” were the words Dina Ayman heard from her father while applying to college. Her father wanted her to become a doctor, which Ayman notes is common in Arab culture, he was not convinced that she’d be successful in a male-dominated field. And although her father’s words crept up on her at one point leading her to change her major from engineering to pre-med, her love for Math and Technology persisted.
When Ayman returned to her passion for computer engineering, she set out with one intention: “to be immeasurably successful in a way that would change the world’s perspective on women in engineering and technology,” she shares. It was then the stars began to align.
Ayman later graduated with Honors garnering both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering within the same year. This served as the launchpad for the Forbes Under 30 recipient’s passion to advocate and work in the diversity and inclusion space both nationally and internationally. She shares more on what her global work has looked like and tips for how others can create groundbreaking impact within the field.
The Fuel Behind Ayman’s International Diversity and Inclusion Efforts
“Your diverse background is your superpower,” Ayman shares with her students. As a professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, she has taught her students that the industry needs diverse perspectives. Especially given that companies that promote an inclusive culture are twice more likely to meet or exceed financial targets and tend to be six times more agile and innovative.
“One of the reasons why I enjoy serving as a professor is to support raising a generation of fearless women. I believe that attracting more women to the technology space starts when they are young. We need to raise women to see themselves as powerful and brave as men. And show them examples of successful people that look like them,” Ayman shares.
Teaching whether as a professor or on national stages has widened her eyes to the profound power diversity and inclusion efforts can hold in different forums, including at a major corporation like Microsoft. At Microsoft, Ayman also works on diversity and inclusion initiatives with the company’s corporate Vice Presidents related to hiring, retention, culture transformation, and safe space creation for employees.
The Presidential Award For Most Influential World Youth
With her work on inclusion efforts through professorship and on the corporate landscape, Ayman has been honored to continuously magnify messages of hope by serving as an international voice for a few initiatives and conferences across the world. From joining conversations with Egypt’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology, H.E. Minister Amr Talaat on the future of digital transformation leveraging the Metaverse to her work as an ambassador for a Presidential initiative called “Haya Karima” or “Decent Life”–one of the largest projects in the modern era to benefits 50 Million citizens– with the goal to end poverty in Egypt, Ayman is no stranger to bridging the divides that persist in inclusivity and access.
Most recently, at the closing ceremony of the World Youth Forum 2022, the crowd stood in silence as Ayman’s name was announced by a commentator, and waves of clapping ensued as she walked toward the stage where the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. President Abdelfattah Elsisi, honored her with an award for being one of the most influential world youth. This moment, Ayman shares reminded her of the great responsibility she has to support her community and millions of youth across the world who believe in her and have been impacted positively by her voice and advocacy.
“I felt I was receiving this award for all youth who are trying, hustling, working so hard on their passions. My purpose in life is to help others in their communities and across the world believe that they are the change. Because they are. Receiving this presidential award motivated me to work harder, inspired me to aim higher, and encouraged me to always remain humble and true to the values that make me who I am,” the honoree shares.
Ayman’s Hope For Diversity And Inclusion At Large
“Even though so much has been done in the diversity and inclusion space, there is much more that can be done. We’ll move one step closer when all industries have equal opportunities for diverse candidates. My hope is that in the future there would be no such thing as male or female-dominated fields and fields would natural be inclusive of diverse populations because together our possibilities are limitless,” Ayman shares.
Additionally, Ayman believes the largest amplifier is representation. “I believe in the power of representation. We need to put a greater spotlight on successful, diverse candidates for others to see people that look like them in places where they aspire to be,” visualization can expand youth and adults’ horizons, she shares. This has led her to launch a company called Diversity and Inclusion Power which supports: 1) creating environments where people are comfortable to speak up when they experience biases and 2) groups, teams, and organizations can receive the support they need to create systems that address biases before they occur.
Topics of conversation in the diversity and inclusion space Ayman continues to support through her work and advocacy include but are not limited to: leveraging technology to allow people with disabilities to practice sports they are limited with practicing in real life, making life easier to learn and work through tools such as the internet of things that make resources a click away, embedding safety into technology as scientists and inventors tap into unlimited opportunity, and raising an innovative generation rather than a consumer generation.
Tips For Contributing To Diversity And Inclusion Efforts
Ayman shares the following tips for those who are looking to give back to their communities through diversity and inclusion efforts:
- Find your passion: Each person is passionate about a cause in life that they’d give time to tirelessly. If you have something that inspires you to give back in that way, you can change the world.
- Align your strengths/passions with what your community needs the most: In each community, there will be gaps where the community needs your help the most. Research and study mechanisms you can leverage to build on top of the existing gaps.
- Include others in leadership positions who can exponentially expand your impact: Work with elected leaders like the mayor or congressman and/or enlist the support of nonprofits, universities, and corporations that are aligned with solving those issues. These leaders and entities can help you achieve way more than you can achieve on your own.