Ghada Khalifa is the Director for Middle East and Africa, Microsoft Philanthropies – a role she acquired in July 2016 after a 19-year tenure at Microsoft. She credits her long stint with the company to the ongoing opportunities she has to create change and make an impact on the lives of people who are underserved and underprivileged. “To me, it brings more reward than any other job,” she says.
Where did she start out?
With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ain Shams University, Ghada began her career with stints as a travel agent, tour guide and reporter. She joined Microsoft first as an Anti-Piracy marketing manager and then moved into the roles of Public Relations manager, Community Affairs manager and Citizenship lead for Microsoft Egypt. She also attained an MBA in Globalisation from Maastracht University during this time.
“I think every job enhances and develops your competencies and gives you a better perspective of life,” says Ghada of her career path thus far. “Working in tourism gave me a window into the world and taught me to deal with diverse cultures, while being a reporter helped me develop my communication and research skills. This has been a huge advantage in the work I do today.”
Where do her expertise lie?
Ghada’s main areas of expertise include: planning and building programs for skills development and employability; building public private partnerships; developing strategic plans; and developing and coaching her team. She has also been instrumental in starting several best practices.
Over the years, Ghada has won several awards for her work in Community Affairs and Citizenship at Microsoft. These include an award by Microsoft Middle East and Africa for her outstanding contribution to Microsoft Community Affairs; a Gold Circle of Excellence for the Middle East and Africa region for outstanding achievement in Citizenship; a Platinum Circle of Excellence for Citizenship for outstanding contribution; and a MOSCAR Award of Microsoft MENA for contribution to the community.
What does she enjoy doing when she isn’t working?
When she’s not working, Ghada loves reading and has a particular passion for history and archaeology. “I like to learn about different cultures and their history,” she says. “I believe that history repeats itself and we can take a lot of wisdom from the past if we take the time to learn from it.”
In addition, she enjoys travelling and getting to know people, but also likes spending time with her three cats and three dogs to satisfy her love for animals.
What does she envision for her new role?
In her new role, Ghada hopes to use her experience, expertise and personal passions to ensure the work of Microsoft Philanthropies benefits the Middle East and Africa region by leveraging technology to address societal challenges.
“In our region, technology is not used widely to address societal and developmental issues,” she says. “My goal is to build strong partnerships with key players so that we can integrate technology into core development programs and find ways to ensure it is used more effectively to have a real impact and empower people.”