Rasha Dabagh, Senior Manager, Internal Audit and Compliance, and University Council Member 

Rasha Dabagh

For Women at Imperial Week, we are profiling Rasha Dabagh and Liz Elvidge who are both members of the Council, Imperial’s governing body.

“Personally, I’ve felt empowered to voice my opinions at Imperial, regardless of my gender. The environment is welcoming and encourages diverse perspectives.”

I’m Rasha Dabagh, part of the Internal Audit and Corporate Compliance team with Imperial’s Central Secretariat department. Before joining Imperial, I spent a decade working in the City where I was involved in corporate and investment banking audits and compliance oversight.  

I have been impressed so far with the various initiatives Imperial has to support women throughout their careers. The Academic Women’s Association provides valuable development opportunities for female academics, and the Elsie Widdowson Fellowships empowers those returning from parental leave. Additionally, networks like Women in STEM offer peer support and career guidance. Personally, I’ve felt empowered to voice my opinions at Imperial, regardless of my gender. The environment is welcoming and encourages diverse perspectives.

Joining a new team as a hijabi woman can sometimes feel like an initial hurdle. It can take extra effort to build rapport and overcome potential biases before people truly see me for who I am. However, once we connect on a deeper level, the veil fades away, and meaningful relationships blossom.

As a newly appointed staff representative on Imperial’s Council, I’m eager to gain insights into College governance. This experience has already been eye-opening, and I’m actively seeking ways to bring the staff voice to the table. While it’s early days, I’m optimistic about making a meaningful contribution, and I recognize the importance of continuous learning and adaptation to achieve lasting impact.

The Council I encountered is comprised of experienced individuals with proven track records. Several male council members approached me, creating a welcoming atmosphere and genuinely inquiring about my background and contributions. This positive experience made me reconsider the concept of a rigid “glass ceiling,” suggesting that individual biases don’t necessarily translate to systematic exclusion. However, it’s important to acknowledge that my experience may not be universal, and broader efforts to promote gender and diversity within leadership positions are still crucial. Ultimately, fostering an inclusive environment demands challenging preconceived notions and actively engaging in diverse situations, regardless of our interlocutors’ gender or position.

Outside of my work at Imperial I am somewhat of a novice author, having just penned a children’s book. It is still in the early stages of creation, but I find it refreshing to get away from daily work tasks and do something different in my spare time.

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