Culturally Diverse Leader with Rana Ebrahimi
Journey from "Passion to Purpose"!
Rana Ebrahimi is the community engagement manager at Cancer Council Victoria and the co-founder/director at the Hueman Equity Consulting. She is the first Iranian woman as Head of Office for the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iran, who was accountable for the protection and holistic wellbeing of 120,000 refugees and displaced refugees. Since immigration to Australia in 2016, she has undertaken leadership of several major projects. In 2018, Rana led the Reducing Racism project through her work with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC). Rana has expertise in the areas of humanitarian ethics, diversity and gender-based issues. She holds a Masters in International Law with a thesis focusing on Afghan Refugee’s predicament in Iran. She is also a Board member of Australian Iranian Society of Victoria, Regional Advisory Committee member of Victorian Multicultural Commission and Consumer Advisory Committee member of Dental Health Victoria.
Hi Rana, When did you come to Australia and what was your Motivation?
I came to Australia in 2016. It was a decision to shift my life and have a better opportunity to grow as a woman. In that point of my life I could not have this progress in Iran but I had a choice to continue my career as an international officer or live in Australia. It was a hard decision because I knew I have to start over.
What was your initial experience here ? culturally and socially?
I could settle in quickly because I had a very clear plan. I have obtained permanent residence visa while I was still living in Iran. So, I had the opportunity for due diligence and find out what I want to do in Australia. I selected Melbourne because I like the slower pace of life here and people are very friendly. I joined Rotary club to get to know the culture and met amazing people there. Finding a job was a bit hard but I knew the barriers.
The biggest one was that I had no local experience. To gain local experience I found a great volunteer position as Communication Coordinator for Diaspora Action Australia (a small NGO). I participated in a lot of “Meet ups” and learned how to adjust my resume and then looked for a job which was not in my level of experience but a bit lower. The other thing which helped me a lot is I found a leader to mentor me and he was the biggest support with insights that he generously shared with me.
What was your first role and what workplace challenges have you felt as a Culturally Diverse Leader?
I was extremely fortunate because I found my first job within six months. I applied as an Office Manager for Senator Janet Rice of the Greens and went for an interview. In the interview she told me that I am overqualified for this position and she is happy to refer me to her colleagues. One week after interview, I received a call from Senator Richard Di Natale’s office, and I went for the interview.
I started the same day with a short-term contract. I applied for the permanent role later on and I did not get it because I had not enough connections for the role. To me as a new immigrant it was not a fair reason because it is not a competency-based issue, I just needed more time to network. However, I’ve learned my lesson and networking is my most important skill now. I could find all my jobs because of my strong network.
The workplace culture is very intense in politics. As a long-term humanitarian activist, it was hard for me to get use to the office politics. I could also see the team has the intention to be diverse but has not the expertise to be inclusive.
Tell me a bit about what you do now current role?
After three years of working with different organisations I decided to start my own business with my friend and colleague. We founded a consulting agency to share our expertise in DEI and cultural intelligence with leaders. Also, I am working with Cancer Council Victoria as a priority community engagement manager. I lead a team of five to bring in equity and access for the under screened community of Victoria.
How did you overcome your challenges?
What would be your biggest advise that you would like to give to CALD Leaders?
Thank you Rana, your story is truly inspiring and eye opener for those who are wanting to become more successful through focus, commitment, purpose and behavioural flexibility. While many CALD leaders struggle to get their foot in the market you truly show us how to carve our path by staying true to our passion and purpose.
If you like this story then dont forget to like #changewindow to be notified of future publications
Have you been procastinating about your dreams and not sure where to start then why not talk me now ? If you want help in creating success, courage and Happiness in your Career and Life !!! Book a Session with me by clicking below.
Book Your Free Session Now!
Create Success, Courage and Happiness