Zahra Shah

Founder, Iraqi Innovators

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Find a niche that you enjoy and get into the details of it. Become an expert in it.

What do you do?

I use technology and digital skills to support the growth of ecosystems in countries affected by conflict.

Why did you choose this field?

My first job out of university was in a startup. I loved the fast-paced lifestyle and the involvement in the strategy and growth of the business. However, it wasn't until I did an internship at the United Nations that I realised what real job satisfaction was.

I decided I wanted a career where I could merge my interest in the humanitarian sector with my passion for startup life. After quitting my startup job to do an MA in International Relations, I started looking for an organisation that could merge both my passions.

That's when I came across young non-profits that were running accelerators and incubators in countries affected by conflict. I realised that this is what I wanted to be involved in and have been able to work in Gaza, Jordan and Iraq.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Seeing women of colour in political positions is a huge achievement and I wish younger me knew that this would happen sooner than I thought.

Why do you love working in STEM?

The endless possibilities. We all have the capacity to become creators now and for women especially, it gives us flexibility to pursue our careers along with raising families if we choose to do so. We don't have to choose one or the other anymore.

Best advice for next generation?

Find a niche that you enjoy and get into the details of it. Become an expert in it. Learn everything you can and stay up-to-date with all its trends and changes. This will be far more valuable than being a jack of all trades.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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