E1-S4 of The Social Change Career Podcast

Summary & Key Takeways

Who says engineers can't change the world?” Radwa Rostom’s Career

A women engineer from the global south revolutionizing housing and poverty crisis in her native Egypt. Radwa Rostom is an Ashoka Fellow, a Climate Fellow from Echoingreen; and nominated one of the  most influential Arab women under 40 among other distinctions. Episode 1 of Season 4 (click on the the link to listen)  tells the story of Radwa’s creation of her award-winning social enterprise Hand Over that utilizes sustainable construction for the sake of community development.


Episode 1 of Season 4 is brought to you by The Rotary Peace Fellowship and the Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University.


In this episode we discuss:

  • Radwa’s earlier years she grew up in Katar but she is a native Egyptian
  • How her family was a very progressive and Radwa was the “nerd” who was expected to do something related to math and science
  • How Radwa and her sisters decided to return to her native Egypt to do a degree in engineer
  • During her college she started volunteering and her sense for (social) responsibility started to grow
  • Why she wanted to challenge the way charity is done
  • With her engineering background she wondered how to make a unique contribution
  • Upon graduation, Radwa was exploring how to merge her passion for helping with her professional skills
  • How Radwa was an engineer for 2 years but felt something was missing
  • How Radwa’s environmental passion started growing and how she changed jobs
  • She moved to a corporate social responsibility firm but was missing her engineering skills
  • How Radwa realized her “ideal” job didn’t exist so she created her own organization
  • Radwa’s process of creating her own business and her aha! moment
  • How she started a business without knowing HOW to create a business
  • The pressures of “owning” your own enterprise
  • On starting your own business while combining it with personal life
  • The “money” tradeoff when starting your own enterprise
  • An overview of Radwa’s enterprise “Hand-over”
  • The three pillars of Hand-over and how it executes its projects
  • Hand-Over business model via the for-profit tracks and the community development track is the non-profit track
  • Radwa’s most useful skills that informs her everyday work
  • On the importance of management and strategic planning
  • Her area of growth is delegating to focus on strategic planning
  • Radwa’s take on Fellowships (German Scholarship, Ashoka, Echoingreen- among others)
  • Who would Radwa hire and what key skills she is looking for in people?



Ain Shins University


A Forbes article about Radwa



Do School Fellow


Related topics

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This episode was brought thanks to the Rotary Peace Fellowship:

Are you an existing or emerging peace leader looking to take your career to the next level? You might be eligible to receive full funding to pursue a MA or professional certificate in peace & conflict studies. Learn more about Rotary Peace Fellowships at www.rotary.org/peace-fellowships

The MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at Brandeis University , where you gain the practical, hands on skills you need to become a peacebuilding professional in the U.S. and abroad.

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