Today, we are interviewing Mariam Alammadi, a licensed psychologist based in Bahrain. She is a committee member of the Middle Eastern Psychological Association, Board Member of Women’s Care Crisis International, Founder of Afkarech, Founder of Child Foundation Center, and Awarded by Smart Health Awards 2018 as one of the top fifty individuals working in the health sector in the GCC region.
Please tell us something about yourself.
I completed my education in Europe and moved to the Middle East seven years ago. Being both Bahraini and Irish has given me great insights into different cultures and societies. I have had an interest in psychology. From the age of thirteen, I decided I wanted to be a psychologist since I felt upset by the stigma associated with mental illness.
What are your focus areas?
My focus areas are definitely in the realm of woman empowerment and psychology. They are my two passions in life. There is a famous saying, “do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” However, I have found that when you are passionate about what you do, it is the contrary, you put your blood, sweat, and tears in it. I am incredibly proud of the work I have put into these two areas.
Please tell us about Afkarech.
Afkarech is a female network & think tank and is the first of its kind in Bahrain. We are bringing women together to share ideas and support each other in a safe environment. We recently got shortlisted as one of the best Voluntary Project in Bahrain by the H.H. Shaikh Issa Bin Ali Al Khalifa Award.
Afkarech is making the most difference in the lives of our members. They have made social connections and business connections, found encouragement, found acceptance, found motivation, brainstormed ideas, and became actively involved in charities.
I am most excited about the future of Afkarech and seeing where this amazing female network and think tank will go. The members make it everything it has become, and I am so grateful to them. They are a group of intelligent, conscientious, supportive, and courageous women!
What inspires you?
I think I developed more creativity after university and realized that I have ideas that work and people listen too! Seeing my ideas coming to fruition is truly humbling. I am thankful to be raised by an amazing mother who taught me women have no limitations, and she was supportive in all my endeavors. Similarly, I am thankful to my father for his encouragement in setting up my own practice and following in his footsteps as an entrepreneur.
What are the qualities and strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
I am vision-orientated and have a democratic leadership style in regards to my business and my organizations. Learning to delegate is a new skill to me honestly as previously, I thought I could do it all myself, but now as an employer, I want to create a culture in which I do not undermine others and stifle their creativity. Nourishing talent is important to me – I want to give others the confidence to carry out their dreams and be a part of that journey.
It has been well documented in my childhood that I can be extremely stubborn at times, and I think that has been really helpful to me. I believe “where there is a will there is a way,” and I have always seen that to be true. If you really want something, you keep going after it, and one day you will succeed.
Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you understood better before you ever got started?
If I could turn back time, I would tell my younger self there is a plan you just have to be patient, and all the pieces of the puzzles are falling in place. Often, we feel like we have to be “overnight successes” when actually success takes hard and consistent work over a long-time frame.
Any message for our readers.
I would just say thank you for allowing me to use this platform to talk about my passions in life, and I have one final thought for young girls that may be reading this if I may. The world is yours to determine success in your own terms and never let anyone tell you what to be.