Twitter VP Nandini Ramani advocates for diversity in Dubai

“Tech has a diversity problem.”

Nandini Ramani, head of Twitter Women in Engineering and Twitter India as well as Twitter Engineering VP, speaks during her visit to Dubai on December 20, 2015. More of her insights are at Photo by Elias Jabbe
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard — or thought myself — that since being involved in some capacity in the tech/startup community at home in California (the global epicenter of startup innovation that largely inspired my Californian Creativity series) and internationally since 2010.

With that said, I was thrilled to hear that Nandini Ramani, a woman from India who rose to the top ranks of Silicon Valley as a tech executive, was coming to Dubai to share her thoughts on Twitter, where she is VP of Engineering, head of Twitter India and leader of the Twitter Women in Engineering initiative.

She was invited by serial entrepreneur PK Gulati to speak at the latter’s TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) event at Dubai Internet City’s in5 Innovation 5 Centre on December 20, 2015.

While reading about her story, I was reminded of the road to the top of Silicon Valley traveled by someone I have looked up to as a mentor since 2011 and also is a woman from India who advocates for diversity and equal pay for women: Nilofer Merchant.

Some of this journey is documented in my 2015 story looking back on what I learned from Merchant and looking forward to her 2016 book Onlyness about the concept of unlocking our potential as humans by truly knowing who we are and why we are unique (read more about this on

Diversity Deficit

Tech is hardly the only industry where more representation of our multicultural society is needed; another example is media. During my time at home in Los Angeles with the LA Press Club in 2012, I (was disappointed when) discovered that women held just 3 percent of executive jobs in the American media industry.

However, as Ramani specializes in tech and is part of the change in the industry, I decided it would be a good idea to go to her event and ask her what she plans to do to change the status quo through the Twitter Women in Engineering program and learn more about who she is partnering with.

Below you can find her reply to my question and her thoughts on:

  • India’s recent growth and the wave of Americans moving there
  • The positive impact of Twitter’s new Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani
  • Her first experiences as a Twitter user at SXSW, the early moments which Twitter CEO and Co-Founder Jack Dorsey calls the “reason to tweet”
  • New features coming soon for Twitter users outside of the US

The later includes Twitter Moments (which I wrote about in 2015 when it was still known as Project Lighting) that will soon be available in international markets after debuting in the US in 2015.

This talk by Ramani in Dubai — where she also mentioned that she meets with women who are hired at Twitter San Francisco early on to welcome them and serve as a mentor — is an excellent prequel to the Global Women’s Forum Dubai starting tomorrow.

The latter will have feature by several women who are leading Twitter’s global operations and will share their decades of experience in the media and marketing industries: Frederique Covington Corbett of Twitter’s Singapore team and Kinda Ibrahim of Twitter’s UAE team. More details on that event, which takes place tomorrow and on February 24, are available below.

Elias Kamal Jabbe is a marketer, writer and translator from Los Angeles and Twitter user since May 2009. You can find some of his previous promotion of women in tech who are leaders at startups on his Contently portfolio: including Algolia, PrestaShop, ESPRIT Incubator, tinyclues and the Los Angeles Web Professionals Group. Some of his presentations promoting use of Twitter for innovative marketing that he shared at conferences across EMEA (Paris, Tunis and Dubai) and his guide to event marketing on Twitter are below.

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