Roya Mahboob, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Afghan Citadel Software Company, Founder, Executive Director, Digital Citizen Fund
In a country where there are very few female CEOs, Roya Mahboob has found success beyond the boardroom, and used her status as one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” to create opportunities for young women around the world.
Mahboob, the CEO of Afghan Citadel Software Company and founder and executive director of the nonprofit Digital Citizen Fund, was invited to take part in the “Changing the Education Equation” panel at the 2015 Forbes Women’s Summit in New York City. The event, of which the Forbes School of Business® at Ashford University was a sponsor, featured 250 women from a number of industries, including education, business, media, entertainment, and philanthropy.
Since founding Afghan Citadel in 2010, Mahboob has worked to give young women and children access to computer education programs. As of October 2015, the Digital Citizen Fund has funded the construction of 13 IT training centers, enrolled and graduated 7,900 students, and has brought Internet access to 55,000 people.
While young women have largely been the focus of these digital literacy programs, Mahboob recognizes the importance of diversity in organizations. Speaking at the Forbes Women’s Summit, Mahboob told Forward Thinking, “If someone has talent, it doesn’t matter – woman or man – we have to allow them to come [onboard].
“In my own organization, most people think it was a ‘woman organization’ – no, I had men as well. Because of them, I could be more successful.”
As mentioned, Mahboob’s efforts have been recognized by TIME in its 2013 “Most Influential” list, and also by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who penned an article in Politico titled “Afghan Women on the March” and proclaimed, “Roya’s story reflects real progress for Afghanistan’s women.”
“Afghan women aren’t stopping. They’re marching forward, and we all need to march with them,” Kerry wrote.