Charlotte – Day 2: Rana and Terri
Rana El Chemaitelly of Lebanon is founder of The Little Engineer, an initiative for engaging kids in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through hands-on learning activities. With programs across the Middle East, Rana is helping thousands of kids to explore robotics, renewable energies, aviation and space – and inspiring them to imagine future careers in technology.
She’s here in Charlotte as a mentee, paired with Global Ambassador Terri McCullough, a women’s empowerment expert with a career history working for women in politics and entrepreneurship in the U.S.
A perfect match
Through our tailored mentorship matching process we knew Terri would be perfect for Rana, who’s facing some big changes on the horizon both personally and professionally. A lifelong champion of youth and education, Rana is looking to have a deeper impact in her community.
“My business is well-positioned and we are growing,” says Rana. “But I have an opportunity to help my country.”
In fact, Rana will run for Parliamentary elections in Lebanon with her eye on the Ministry of Education and Higher Education at a later stage. Her challenge is to build an exit strategy for The Little Engineer so that she leaves the company in good hands as she focuses on her political goals to serve her country.
“I applied for the Global Ambassadors Program because I need someone to guide me, to really coach me on next steps so I don’t ruin everything I’ve achieved in the past eight years.”
Her mentor Terri is ready to help. “She doesn’t think small. I’m really excited that Rana, as a woman business leader, wants to extend that leadership for the benefit of her country.”
Public service is familiar territory for Terri, who most recently served as CEO of No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project, a Clinton Foundation initiative to evaluate and share the progress made by women and girls over the last two decades. She had also served as CEO of the Tory Burch Foundation, and prior to that, as chief of staff and women’s issues advisor to U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
“We’ve clearly identified personnel and resources as areas to work on as she prepares the business for the future,” says Terri. “Trust and talent are going to be key factors in her succession planning to make her feel strong enough to allow her to pull away and become more engaged politically in the community.”
Looking to the future
“What I can promise is that I will bring whatever I take from this week back to my country,” says Rana. “To my team first – and then to my community, to the businesswomen’s network. I want to maximize the benefit of GAP.”
Rana El Chemaitelly takes a selfie with Global Ambassadors Program participants in Charlotte, NC
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Photography: David Hume Kennerly