Dima Ghawi, who has been talent development manager at the local IBM Services Center—and has been the most visible local face of the company since coming to the city in 2013—has left her position with IBM to start a business consulting firm.
Dima Ghawi LLC, which is a working title for the still-unnamed firm, will provide corporate training services to a variety of clients. It will also serve as a launch pad from which Ghawi can do motivational speaking and write articles, books and a blog. Perhaps most significantly, however, the new firm will concentrate on growing a new women-only leadership group that Ghawi formed earlier this year. The group is dedicated to helping women develop their leadership skills and realize their potential.
“It’s something we need very badly here in Baton Rouge,” says Ghawi, a native Jordanian who has lived around the world but decided to call Baton Rouge home. “I love it here and feel there is so much I can do for this community.”
Ghawi—who has 18 years of corporate experience, including 11 years with IBM—has been toying with the idea of striking out on her own for four years. But it wasn’t until she delivered a motivational TEDxLSU talk last year that she felt a calling to do more motivational speaking and to try to help others develop their personal and corporate potential. Ghawi has received calls and emails from people all over the world who were moved by her speech.
“I didn’t want to give the TED talk at first,” she says. “But I think there was a bigger purpose behind it, and now I had the guts to resign and follow my heart and inspire other people to follow their heart and live the life they’re meant to live.”
Ghawi’s bread and butter in her one-person shop will be consulting with a focus on how to work effectively in a global environment and how to lead with different personality types. Ghawi believes her years of experience working overseas with IBM and partnering with teams from cross-cultural backgrounds gives her a unique perspective.
But she is most excited about the women’s leadership group, which hosts a monthly speaker series that is aired via the web to audiences around the world. Ghawi says membership in the group and participation in its speeches and web conferences will be offered free of charge.
“This isn’t going to be just your typical networking group that goes out for drinks,” she says. “This will be much more motivational. I’m talking about a group that is going to make a difference.”
Ghawi says IBM has selected her replacement from within the company, but has not officially named the person yet.