Rola Dagher is an amazing success story of business leadership in the world of technology, made all the more inspiring because she’s one of only a handful of women — and immigrants — who have achieved such a position.

Dagher is president of Cisco Canada, overseeing all facets of its business, including sales operations, engineering, services, finance and marketing. Under her leadership, the Toronto-based Canadian branch of the global technology company consistently ranks among Cisco’s top country revenue producers and serves as a proving ground for some of the company’s most innovative technologies.

She says she owes a lot of her success to Canada. “Being Canadian means everything to me,” says Dagher, who came here from Lebanon in the 1990s. “The minute I landed on Canadian soil, I felt a moment of pure hope in this amazing land of opportunity.”

But it is what you make of those opportunities that sets someone like Dagher apart. With more than 25 years of technology experience in the server, storage and networking markets, at Dell EMC before Cisco, Dagher also credits the following for her success: “Determination, resilience, passion and the ability to never give up hope.”

What further makes Dagher a highly respected leader is the way she brings out the best in others. She has a people-first mindset and brings a strong emphasis on diversity at Cisco, making it her mission to empower and nurture employees regardless of gender, culture, orientation or age.

She was recently awarded the 2019 Women in Communications and Technology Woman of the Year Award, presented to a woman executive who has made a significant contribution to the digital industries as well as to the advancement of all women.

When asked to share her top tip for other newcomers, the mother of two now-adult children says simply: “Learn it, earn it and return it.”