Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar alumna Dana Haidan (TPR'09) is committed to making a difference.
"Companies can do a lot more than just make profits," said Haidan, the head of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability at Vodafone Qatar and a graduate of CMU-Q's business administration program. "They have the responsibility to behave ethically and responsibly and to give back to the communities in which they operate.
"As part of such a rewarding field, an individual like me has the opportunity to drive an entire organization to make a difference — which is powerful," she added.
Since 2011, Haidan has managed Vodafone Qatar's social investments and charitable initiatives in addition to monitoring sustainability performance. The organization is part of Vodafone, one of the world's largest multinational telecommunications companies.
Haidan's primary ongoing initiatives include programs for people with disabilities, a digital parenting initiative and funding for local charitable projects. Other programs include an app that blocks calls and texts to prevent distracted driving, work on education and youth development projects and support of employee volunteer activities.
For this and more, Haidan recently was named among the "100 Most Talented CSR Leaders" at the World CSR Congress held in Mumbai, India.
As a student, Haidan was involved in both local and international community service and sees her CMU experience as a turning point.
"My time at CMU-Q is what inspired me to get into this space," Haidan said. "Amazing mentors got us to think beyond profits to the real purpose businesses exist — to their value and contribution to helping people live better lives.
"Also, CMU-Q student life is truly empowering through a wide range of extracurricular activities that encourage students to be the drivers of change in their environment and to take on leadership roles with all the help they need from a great support system, be it the student affairs team, university administration or academia staff."
George White, CMU-Q Distinguished Career Professor of Entrepreneurship, knew Haidan well as a standout student in his entrepreneurship classes.
"Dana resonated with the topic of social responsibility," White said. "She was an ideal student because of her attitude and the quality of her work. She was motivated to make a difference to society.
"I think the opportunity at Vodafone was a perfect fit for her. Dana stepped in, started the Vodafone Qatar CSR operation and became world-class at it. Vodafone is lucky to have her."
Haidan's colleagues at Vodafone Qatar agree.
"Dana is one of those rare people who truly believes wholeheartedly in CSR and helping communities and has dedicated her career to this cause," said Marc Norris, chief commercial officer at Vodafone Qatar. "She is a true leader of human development."