Dima Ghawi – People to Watch 2017


Almost three years ago, Dima Ghawi stood onstage in the LSU Union Theatre and smashed a glass vase.

It was part of her TEDxLSU talk, with the vase symbolizing the hollow, restrictive life she felt her Middle Eastern upbringing imposed on her. When she left Jordan to take on the business world, she smashed that vase. After traveling around the globe working in leadership roles for IBM, recruiting women from rural communities into entrepreneurship, she landed in Baton Rouge as IBM’s talent development manager. The city quickly became her new home, and she’s decided to put down roots of her own kind. A year and a half ago, she left IBM to work independently as a motivational speaker and leadership coach.

Now, as 2017 kicks off, she’s looking to start a women’s leadership organization with workshops and networking opportunities for more women in Baton Rouge to make their way into influential positions in the community. And she’s not doing it quietly. dimaghawi.com

Click the thumbnails below to enlarge each photo in the gallery:

On challenging the norm:

“In many situations, women are taught—regardless of the culture—to stay silent and accept the situation as it is, since we were little girls. We grow with it, and we end up being in business or in relationships, and we continue the same pattern of being silent. Well, it’s time to open up our mouths and talk.”

On her leadership organization for women launching this spring:

“Since I moved to Baton Rouge, [I’ve wanted] to contribute to the community. I want to make it a little better just by me being here. And that’s when I realized from the beginning that there isn’t a lot related to women in leadership, and that’s a skill that I come with, so that’s a way that I’ll be able to ignite this movement.”


Make a pitch in a big meeting as a woman

1. Speak up: Face down your internal limitations and speak clearly and confidently.

2. Choose your words carefully: Avoid phrases like “I’m sorry, but” or “this might be stupid, but” that undermine your point.

This article was originally published in the January 2017 issue of 225 Magazine.