Obviously, it’s really important to know yourself. When I finished school, I decided to take a year and half before going to university and exclusively live in countries where I didn’t know anyone, like a single person. And that was really important for me because so much of who we think we are is based on who we are in our families. And that’s a different person to who you are out in the world. I had never gotten the chance to know myself by myself so that was really valuable and taught me a lot and was a great launchpad into the next chapter of my life.
I think that when you know yourself it becomes much more easy to face whatever comes to you because there’s always going to be challenges and there’s always going to be people who challenge you and if you’re able to develop that habit of being reflexive and meditating in yourself, being real with yourself when needed to be, then you’re a lot more equipped to deal with life’s challenges.
On being a woman in a male dominated industry:
As a woman in tech I’m in a really unique position, it’s definitely male dominated but I’m lucky to work in a company that’s female dominated and where our leadership is heavily female as well. I think we have a lot more cultural tolerance to gender issues and the expression of gender issues. I would say as a young woman in a leadership position in a tech company I’ve definitely faced challenges where I go into meetings that are dominated by men and people assume I’m the intern or they talk to my direct reports about things they should be talking to me about so that’s always been really challenging for me and has definitely played with my self-confidence.
I think in the UAE in particular you do have a lot of women in leadership positions in companies in the private and public sector so that’s been really nice because the availability of mentors is just higher here than in other parts of the world.
On Movement & Health:
I always tried to find the perfect workout and to, I guess, follow the perfect plan and I realized that that was not sustainable for me because if I wasn’t doing what I actually wanted to, I would just find reasons not to do anything. I guess slowly over the years and a very long experimental journey with health and fitness I started to value just doing whatever form of movement I want to do that day and that requires you to not have this hierarchical view of what movement or exercise is so it might be riding the bike to uni or doing a HIIT workout at home or going to a Pilates class or just going for a long walk!
It’s about the intention and showing up for yourself every day. Also, there’s nothing better or worse about one movement vs another. You’ve gotta stretch, you’ve gotta do cardio, you’ve gotta do strength training; it doesn’t matter about doing one or the other they’re all good for you.
There have been times in my life where I’ve had really disordered patterns or ideas about food and for me at that time health might have been about giving myself a break or treating myself. There are other times where I’ve been in a really good place mentally and health was more about discipline and showing up every day it’s something that no one can really judge from the outside.
To me there’s not one picture of what health looks like. I do like to follow some basic rules, I try to move my body every day whatever that looks and feels like or however that feels good to me that day. I think the idea of health I’m inclined to is more expansive. I think about planetary health, I think about social health, I think about mental health. So following a plant based diet and trying as much as I can to be conscious of the way I consume, I want to always be mindful of what it means to be a citizen in this society and how to make the right choices for the planet, for the animals, for ourselves, for each other.
I think for a long time the health industry was looking at discrete parts of health and assuming that where something showed up was also where the problem was and now thankfully we’re moving towards a more holistic view of what it means to be healthy. And looking at the body as a whole and that could be the physical body but also the human body as a collective and the planetary body…
I’m really motivated by the fact that everything we take for granted today was hard fought for by someone before. So, I guess I want to carry on that struggle for whomever needs it.