Where do you currently work?
I currently work at NIDISI gGmbH in Berlin. NIDISI is a place for motivated enablers who aim to change the mindset of the people so humanity can do better. Currently, we operate in Nepal with social entrepreneurs.
I work for ReValue, on plastic recycling – here we don’t waste the waste and reintegrate it into the value chain. We have created a recycling system for Nepal which, with modular recycling-centers and infrastructure projects, creates both the supply and demand for plastic. I work on monitoring the processes in the project and ensuring the flow of communication internally and externally.
What was your experience/background in?
I hold a B.Sc. in Political Science from Cairo University. I first started working in the development sector in various projects with Save the Children as well as Catholic Relief Services. I worked for AMIDEAST, a US-based organization, for three years where I was responsible for the coordination of the study abroad programs for Egyptian students in the US. It was a great learning and rewarding experience that made my daily working hours contribute to a greater good.
What did you study in Germany?
In 2020, I arrived (what perfect timing!) to pursue my DAAD-sponsored master’s program at University of Potsdam. I studied Global Public Policy in the master’s of Public Management.
The program was a great experience overall, especially since it was taught by very well-established professors in the field. The intensity of the program (1-year including thesis writing) sharpened my academic writing skills, time-management and the ability to find more than one way to solve a challenge.
My thesis was about the social capital of NGOs offering services to refugees in Germany and how this can be activated in order to enhance their services. I conducted interviews and obtained primary data from NGOs of different capacities. Here I saw the effect of communication on the quality of services offered.
What led you or brought you to your job?
If we’re talking about how I found NIDISI, it was a mere coincidence! I was searching for something for my thesis and I came across NIDISI’s website. I liked the vision and mission and could strongly relate to the core of it (humanity can do better). I sent out an email checking if I can contribute with them, had a meeting with one of the co-founders and they welcomed me onboard as a volunteer. After finishing my thesis, I joined them as a fulltime employee working with the ReValue project. It’s so interesting how a google search can affect your life, right?
What role have internships and/or student jobs played in your career path in Germany?
I believe it had an important role in making me understand how things work professionally in Germany. I already had completed an internship with another NGO before joining NIDISI as a fulltime employee. This too was an eye-opening experience to make me realize the job market requirements here. These volunteering opportunities helped me connect with more people and learn new methodologies of problem solving. I found these opportunities through LinkedIn searches and sending out an email simply asking if I could join when I came across an organization that fit my interest.
You have volunteered at 180 Degrees Consulting and NIDISI as well, in what ways have these (and other volunteering) experiences helped you?
I want you to imagine someone who has just arrived in a new country, alone, barely speaking the language, and during the corona pandemic and the lockdown. Sounds harsh doesn’t it? For me, I found volunteering at 180 Degrees Consulting, NIDISI or other organizations a way to break this barrier, have my feet on the ground and network with people having the same mentality working towards a shared goal.
Putting the psychological boost aside, this supported me to take a first step in a professional career in Germany, providing me with a network with people to support and mentor me.
„It’s that intrinsic motive to work
every day knowing that you make a difference
in the world. It might be daily tasks that you work on,
but knowing that they will positively affect the world
makes one more motivated to work.“
What are you passionate about your workplace/project?
What a question! I can definitely say it’s the shared vision and the endeavor to make the world a better place. It’s that intrinsic motive to work every day knowing that you make a difference in the world. It might be daily tasks that you work on, but knowing that they will positively affect the world makes one more motivated to work.
What were the last 3 things that you did at your work?
As far as I remember, they were
- Having an internal meeting
- Sending a meeting invitation
- Writing a short research document
Which skills and competencies are important for your work?
I think there are some skills that are needed for any job, however, I regard them as even more important in my role.
- Communication skills – to be able to talk to different people from different backgrounds, build bridges and partnerships with them. It’s also essential to be able to communicate within the team itself.
- Researching and writing skills – which enables one to submit reports and conduct proper research on any relevant topic.
- Time management and organization – is also important in order to be able to prioritize tasks and be efficient using time.
- Being flexible and open to learning new things – It might not be a skill but I think it’s more a mindset to guide one’s actions, that brings one to the point of success.
Do you have any suggestions for young professionals / career starters?
I think the most important thing is to be humble and be ready to learn especially when you are coming to a new country and a new working environment. It is also important to reach out for mentors’ communities or career service centers who can support and guide you all the time. Berlin is full of generous and kind people who would like to offer a hand.
One more thing – don’t shy away from being proactive and sending unsolicited applications if you really like an organization. Well, this doesn’t mean spamming them of course:). It is also helpful if you grow your network and have good relations with people in general, creating a community that can push one another forward.
Thank you for the interesting insights into the work of a Communications Manager, Menna A. Embaby!
This written interview was conducted in August 2022.