How has working in a male-dominated industry such as engineering shaped you?
I’ve learned a lot. Majoring in electrical engineering as a woman at the time I was studying was a hard choice. Then when I started working as an engineer, some people found my presence on-site weird — I was the first female engineer and I was the first woman in Abu Dhabi GAS sent to the area. We don’t need to physically be like men to work in engineering and we don’t need to prove ourselves to anyone. We just need to be flexible, open-minded and confident enough to work in a group and most importantly love what we do.
You have acquired so many diplomas and certifications in so many different fields as well as a PhD in your chosen career — how important is education to you?
Learning and discovering new things is both a passion and my chosen lifestyle. It gives me a new vision and set of goals to work towards in the future. And it’s not just with academics but in all fields that I enjoy — I’m also a certified Reiki healer and public speaker.
How did you branch out from engineering to becoming a life coach and trainer?
Life coaching has been a long-time passion, so I studied and read up on it. After my divorce, I woke up one morning and told myself that I deserve a good life where I achieve my dreams and success and learn to love myself. That was a strong shift in my life and applying my knowledge of life coaching on myself changed my life. I then decided to share this learning with others and help them understand themselves and to improve their lives.
How do you ensure you master all of them and aren’t a jack of all trades?
It really depends on your personality — there are some people who can’t multitask or specialise in many fields at once. In my case, I enjoy each and everything that I do and I concentrate on it to achieve good results.
How do you ensure you succeed both as an engineer and an entrepreneur and life coach?
I usually write down the main tasks and plans related to both my day job as senior operations engineer at TRA and my life-coaching business at the beginning of the year — it’s much easier to get good results when you have a clear plan. But I am flexible when it comes to changes and keep reworking my plans to adjust to new requirements. This often leaves me extremely busy and tired but I enjoy the journey.
What are the satisfying aspects of being a life coach?
I scream with joy when I see the spark of happiness in my clients or hear about their success. They’ve finally overcome challenges to achieve something and it’s real. Also, hearing them say ‘thank you, you changed my life’ makes me feel so thankful to have been able to touch their lives.
How do you promote women’s empowerment?
I try to inspire women by living my life as an empowered woman. Every day when I wake up in the morning I start my day as a single mother shouldering all the responsibilities of both my career and my business, as well as my kids. I also share my personal experiences with everyone during my life coaching sessions, during public speaking events and through social media posts.
How important is it to give back to the community?
To give back is my biggest purpose and it’s the driving force of why I joined national volunteer platforms such as the Ramadan Amman Campaign and the White Stick (for visually impaired). Being a volunteer is not only about giving back, but it is also about learning how to be compassionate and be willing to share and appreciate whatever you have in life.
What is the work you do as a member of Happiness Imprint — a community initiative to instill the concept of happiness in people — and what is the secret to happiness?
I’m a motivational speaker at some of their events. If you want to be happy, you just need to believe in yourself as happiness comes from within and it will reflect on all those people who surround you. Sometimes, the simplest means to happiness is just changing your perspective in life.
[The CEO of Happyness lands in Dubai: Chris Gardner is in the business of empowering people]
As a writer, why do you think STEM graduates should also be exposed to arts and literature?
Arts and literature mean a lot to me as I find myself between the lines and they [help me define my] world. Writing poetry allows me to express what I see and how I feel using language. I think it’s really important to be exposed to art and literature as it enhances an individual’s creative side and helps them think innovatively. I’m a member of the government initiative called Zayed Art and will be writing for them. It also offers peace of mind.