Nermine Khouzam Rubin: Leading Water 4 Mercy with Purpose

Nermine Khouzam Rubin, MBA, MHS, is the driving force behind Water 4 Mercy, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating thirst, hunger, and poverty in Africa. After witnessing the struggles of women in Africa, burdened by the responsibility of providing for their families, and men lacking opportunities to work and support their loved ones, God touched Nermine’s heart to take action.

With a background in business administration and health science, she felt compelled to use her skills to make a meaningful difference. Her diverse career path, spanning both private and non-profit sectors, prepared her for this purpose. Through this organization, she aims to uphold human dignity by providing access to basic necessities like clean water and food. We, at EliteX, are honored to introduce Nermine Khouzam Rubin as one of the 20 Elite CEOs in 2024.

Nermine’s leadership style is characterized by empathy, collaboration, and empowerment. She believes in fostering a culture of inclusivity, transparency, and accountability within her organization. Guided by principles of compassion, integrity, and excellence, she ensures that every decision aligns with the core values of Water 4 Mercy. Despite facing challenges such as navigating the complexities of international development work amidst conflicts like the Israeli war, Nermine remains focused on maintaining the organization’s financial sustainability. Through diversifying funding sources, forging strategic partnerships, and prioritizing program effectiveness, she strives to overcome these obstacles.

“Cultivating a positive company culture requires intentional effort.” – Nermine Khouzam Rubin

Innovation, proven solutions and having a heart that truly cares are key to staying ahead in the competitive market of social impact. Nermine encourages a culture of creativity and experimentation within Water 4 Mercy, collaborating with experts and local communities to co-create context-specific solutions. Recognizing the importance of work-life balance, Nermine prioritizes quiet time for prayer, rest and reflection amidst her demanding role. Additionally, diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to Water 4 Mercy’s ethos, ensuring equal opportunities and inclusive practices within the organization.

Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are woven into the fabric of Water 4 Mercy’s operations. Environmental sustainability, community engagement, and ethical practices are prioritized across all programs, particularly within AITEC, the Agricultural Innovation and Technology Center, which aims to share knowledge and empower the communities Water 4 Mercy serves. Aspiring leaders seeking to make an impact in their industries can find wisdom in Nermine Khouzam Rubin’s advice. She emphasizes the importance of finding purpose, staying true to values, and embracing continuous learning. Nermine suggests building a strong network, taking calculated risks, always keeping the bigger picture in mind, and staying humble.

In envisioning the future of international development and social impact work, Nermine sees a landscape shaped by technological innovation, community-led initiatives, and collaboration. Water 4 Mercy, under her leadership, remains committed to staying at the forefront of this evolution, adapting and innovating solutions to address emerging challenges.

“Innovation is crucial in the social impact space.” – Nermine Khouzam Rubin

Reflecting on her tenure as CEO, Nermine cherishes meeting Baby Nermine, the first child born in Mwinyi village with access to clean water—a project personally funded by her family. This touching moment underscores the impact of Water 4 Mercy’s work and the tangible difference it makes in people’s lives. Cultivating a positive company culture aligned with vision and values is a priority for Nermine. She emphasizes fostering a sense of purpose and belonging among team members, creating an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered. Elite CEOs, Nermine believes, distinguish themselves through qualities like vision, resilience, empathy, and strategic thinking. She embodies these qualities by prioritizing self-awareness, continuous learning, and adaptability in her leadership approach.

To stay informed about emerging trends and developments, Nermine listens to beneficiaries and partners, conducts ongoing research, networks, and engages with experts in the field. Mentorship and continuous learning play crucial roles in her personal and professional growth, guiding her through challenges and setbacks with a growth mindset. Nermine’s mantra, “be the change you wish to see in the world,” resonates deeply with her commitment to leading by example and embodying her values as a CEO. She fosters open communication and collaboration among team members through regular meetings to address challenges and find solutions together.

Looking ahead, Nermine is excited about scaling Water 4 Mercy’s impact throughout Africa by expanding more ‘Community Campaigns’ within the United States. The Community Campaign is an opportunity for a group to become engaged and directly support a community that needs help.   They ‘adopt a project’ to the scale of their choosing and generate awareness amongst their circle of friends and garner support.  This is crucial to touching more hearts to care and making a lasting difference – it is the right thing to do! Nermine’s leadership exemplifies a commitment to making a lasting impact on the world, one drop at a time. Through her vision, passion, and dedication, she continues to lead Water 4 Mercy towards a future where everyone has access to the basic necessities for a dignified life.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Nermine Khouzam Rubin