‘WE ARE RAISING FUTURE LEADERS’
Since I was a child… I yearned to be a medical practitioner. But I started my career in wealth management. I moved from banking to education…
but it’s such a fine line. I was handling people’s money, looking after wealth – and now I look after children, who are the biggest wealth for parents. So the honesty, integrity, compliance, risks, customer service and hard work required are the same, as is ethos and the high standards of quality required.
I think... childcare is such a hardworking industry because you are handling children. So you have to be very strict yourself in regulations and compliance.
I decided to... enter the area of education seeing the UAE growing economically, and the vast potential that was available. I was born and raised in Abu Dhabi. A few of my close family and friends were running schools and medical centres overseas too, and that got me thinking.
What changed my life… was my father’s passing on. Dad used to talk to me about raising the benchmark of the UAE in the education sector. He gave me that can-do attitude. I honour him for his vision and impetus – he said ‘go into something you believe in and don’t look back’ and gave me the passion and courage to go for the stars.
I wanted to enter a sector… that was a winwin situation. One that would satisfy my entrepreneurial dreams and benefit society at the same time. One of the biggest assets of an entrepreneur...
is the ability to take calculated risks. Since I come from a family of business owners, I guess that ability was in my blood, so I decided to venture into a new field. I had a clear vision and mission from day one.
The UAE has… such a conducive environment for women entrepreneurs. The happiness index is at an all-time high. Women feel respected and safe and are welcomed in every government department. The culture of hospitality here helps so much. Plus the regulatory environment of the UAE is excellent for childcare. The UAE takes the lead in Asia for this. In the long run it supports all stakeholders.
My days starts with… yoga, and ends with a long walk to wind down. In between I’m in service of children, looking after my women workforce, looking after the mums that arrive at my centre to pick or drop their children. My day is itself healing and empowering. They say the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Childcare is community service.
I love... studying and learning, and recently completed my doctoral degree in nursery education. My research was in the nursery field of the UAE, on how to help children develop better, to ensure the 0-5 age – which is such an important age – should be the best experience for a child. People say to me, “oh it’s just a toddler, curriculum doesn’t matter.” That is not true. A child’s brain is the most malleable at that age, and neurons and pathways are created at 0-5, when there is stimulating environment. Research now says children who have been at quality educational institutes at a very early age, at nursery level, have higher incomes as adults.
I look for... values over skills when hiring staff. Skills can be supported through learning, but your value system is your foundation, built
from your childhood. Integrity, diversity, innovation, responsibility… I look for all of that.
I think my weakness and strength is… my multitasking habit. I may work on two projects simultaneously. I am constantly innovating. My platter is full. A lot of my wellwishers say I should take a break but I say there are no breaks in life.
What drives me… is the huge trust that expats with nuclear families and who don’t have the support they’d have back home, place in us regarding their children. It’s a very big task. These children are very young and can’t express much. We have to do our best.
A trait I dislike is… complacency. I believe we are all given inherent skills and an equal amount of time. It irritates me if people don’t make use of that. I believe it’s an equal playing field out there.
I look after... everyone’s children and the universe looks after mine. Shivali and Krishiv are in their 20s now, and studying in London. I am proud of them for leading independent lives.
I aspire to… deliver quality childcare, continue my research and education, publish my work in international magazines and psychology journals and get more rewards for my work.
My mantra is… keep moving forward. Never give up. You can’t achieve 100 per cent success in everything. But it’s important to keep striving for it; taking one step each time forward. Not trying is as good as failure.
At the top of my bucket list now… are personal goals more than professional. To improve and support my fitness, yoga, meditation. I want to now look inwards, explore the huge world within. Probably go on a yoga retreat.
If it was not childcare… I would want to support an all-round development programme for women. A dream project of mine… is a special needs school. Special needs inclusion is very important to me. Our nurseries support children from all strata of society.
I aspire to deliver quality childcare, continue my research and education, publish my work in international magazines and psychology journals and get more rewards for my work.