Member Spotlight | Ruba A. Al Zu'bi
A staunch advocate for green economy and environmental mainstreaming, a strong communicator and organizational change agent, and an engineer who is passionate about policy enabled action
Green makes me happy and energetic… Blue (sea) takes me deep into my true self.
I’m a live example of an extreme introvert and an unstoppable extrovert.
When someone assumes I’m 5-10 years younger than my real age, I smile – like a woman should do - but I hate it.. each of those years carried loads of lessons that I’m proud of.
If I were not the re-engineered Engineer I’m today, I would have probably been a re-engineered Lawyer or Journalist!
Al-Zubi recently served as the Advisor for Science Policy and Program Development to HRH the President of the Royal Scientific Society.
Prior to that, she led the Scientific Research Department at Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.
Ruba was the first Policy Director at the Ministry of Environment, established and led several departments at the Development and Free Zones Commission, and served as the Chief Executive Officer of EDAMA Association for Energy, Water, and Environment - the first Jordanian business association in the green technology sector.
Al Zubi also led the Clean Technology Sector Development component at the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program that aimed at enhancing the private sector’s competitiveness, creating jobs, and increasing exports in the green tech clusters.
Ruba is active in the women & youth empowerment field locally and internationally and serves on the Boards of several entities and initiatives.
She is a co-founder of the Jordan Green Building Council, a Plus Social Good Advisor, and was selected as one of the United Nations Foundation’s Protectors of Progress on SDGs.
She was Jordan's Eisenhower Fellow for 2012 and was a finalist in the 2020 C3E International Woman of Distinction Award.
Ruba holds an M.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology and works as a senior consultant in the sustainability policy and governance fields.
When it comes to the role of women at work today, what inspires you, and what keeps you up at night?
Those who push their limits and get out of their comfort zone to make an impact inspire me the most. Someone who challenges her/ himself first before challenging others inspires me too.
If you want to change people’s lives, start with changing your life first.
I can stay up for days in a moment of revelation when a new way of making impact comes around and when I struggle to justify mediocracy.
What’s your goal around that and why is it important to you? Why is that a priority for you right now?
My goal is to impact people positively and leave a community-anchored legacy.
Having worked in the environmental policy field and then with NGOs and the private sector, it became evident to me that impact is what turns me on as a human and professional.
Through policy work, I aspire to enable long-term impact; while working with communities and corporations allows me to implement actions that might contribute to an immediate incremental change.
Another example is my volunteerism style. Until a few years back, I helped with any project or activity that demanded my expertise. This changed as I experienced the contentment of impacting an individual through mentorship. Most of my voluntary work now is dedicated to young women and men thriving amidst a disruptive world.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve personally had as a woman at work? How did you try to overcome them?
Again, I learned by doing at times when women's networks and mentors were not as accessible as they are today. I have always taken work opportunities that require organizational change management skills and I managed to develop those skills over time. Many of the positions or functions that I was involved in were male-dominated, not because there were no women, but mostly since leadership positions were taken by men. There were several occasions when I was the only female in a senior management meeting or in a policy advocacy discussion.
I worked on my communication skills to be able to become an advocate for positive change within the organization or the sector or even the community I am working with. I’ve chosen this as the story to tell through my TED Talk – I just want other women to know that they are not alone and that they can do it!
As an Engineer who found her ‘why’ in working with people, I call myself a re-engineered Engineer.
Who or what would have made it easier? What do you wish you would have done then?
No one can do it alone, even the most confident.
Yes, there were a few great male and female leaders who believed in me and who remain my support pillar and sounding board.
I cherish every day of my life; the tough days make you stronger and more agile. There were tears but with lots of lessons and self-awareness.
I believe it is a journey to enjoy and learn from with no regrets!
Do you participate in other women groups or communities? What have you seen work in such communities and what was missing for you?
I am a member of several local and international women-focused organizations and I spare no effort to contribute to any activity that aims to empower and support women from all walks of life. I believe these organizations and networks are also evolving and adapting to the changing needs of women and societies. Years ago, I missed having like-minded women and participating in work-related events.
As time passed, I became aware of the value of interacting with women from outside my professional domain. Each woman is a wealth of outstanding stories ready to be told and learned from. I’m grateful to each woman I knew or know directly or indirectly… because of your stories, strength, tolerance, weak moments, and dedication; I am who I am today.
Why is it important for women to be surrounded by other women and what is the role we play in each other’s lives?
Women are amazing sources of information and experience. They do not hesitate to share and to communicate, when appreciated. Women are also community mobilizers and can form great advocates for social and environmental causes.
Within my area of expertise, I am surrounded by many amazing women driving the sustainability agenda and injecting positive change within their teams and communities.
We inspire each other… we collaborate to make things happen…. and we have each other’s back when needed.
What activities could we do so that we master together how to get back our zest, thrive on change, lead with grace and confidence, and co-create the beautiful workplaces we all long for?
I believe the best role a woman can play to another is to become a genuine sounding board. To listen, advise, co-create, and co-implement with others. Influencing the male part of the workplace and society is as important as empowering other women. Showing by doing is key to make the real change we aspire for.
How do you see your role in building this community? And is there anything else you want to add that you think would be helpful for us to know as we are building this community?
I’m keen to put my skills, expertise, and stories to use by all members. I hope we can have a strong and comfortable space for women to share and request advice in every walk of life.
I’m willing to dedicate time to work on the specific initiative(s)/ committee(s): women in environment/renewable energy, women in public policy, H2H mentorship/sounding board program, etc.
I believe I still need to learn more about what already is in the vision and strategy of the founders and see how I can add value. So, far, it is one of the professional platforms targeting women from all over the globe; and I’m very proud to be among such amazing women.