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A Spotlight on the Women’s Initiative Fellows: Part Three - Amany, Nora and Heba

February 1, 2013 9 minute Read by Doaa Mansour

“If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely and simply for the benefit and good of mankind, it will be a power such as the world has never known.” -Matthew Arnold, Nineteenth century poet At the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program (WIFP), we take pride in the fact that our program aims to nurture women’s leadership skills, and create a global women’s network. Through this network, female leaders and rising stars meet, discuss and collaborate to plan and execute their vision of change for their countries and the world. Earlier this year, we welcomed the inaugural class of Women’s Initiative Fellows from Egypt. The program consisted of fourteen unique women with great talent and a yearning for positive change. The Fellows met for the first time upon arriving in the United States, and as we moved forward in the program, we observed their friendship and sisterhood grow stronger each day. When they returned to Egypt, the Fellows immediately started to implement their vision of change for their country. And most importantly, their friendship remained strong, which is evident by their creative utilization of each others’ skills on the various projects they worked on together. Their accomplishments and friendships are not only a testament to the value of a woman’s network, but also to a woman’s ability to overcome obstacles.  Women often have the creative ability to utilize what little resources they have to achieve significant success personally and professionally. The following stories briefly highlight the most recent achievements of Fellows Amany Eid, Nora Haleem and Heba Wahsh as part of our series, “A Spotlight on the Women’s Initiative Fellows”. Amany Eid Amany works as a Product Development Manager for a large data company in Egypt.  In her position, she oversees the design and implementation of product launches. She is in the process of creating an online volunteer recruitment portal that matches volunteers with organizations needing assistance.  Her goal is to encourage volunteerism among Egyptian youth. Amany volunteers for a Youth Leadership initiative that provides job training to third and fourth year college students. Amany earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Political Science and received an M.B.A. from the Maastricht School of Management. Amany’s Recent Work: In an effort to help her local community channel their opinions and complaints to the Egyptian Parliament, Amany set-up a demo complaint board using Google Moderator. On this platform, residents in her community post complaints and then cast their votes on the complaints’ list. The complaints with the highest votes are then submitted to the Member of Parliament representing the district. Amany recently participated in the Egypt 2020 Conference, moderating a workshop entitled, “Decentralization and Regional Development”. Amany has been committed to supporting the Women’s Initiative Fellows. She recently helped Azza Koura in the preparation for the conference, Egypt and Future Paths: Reviving Trust Funds in a Modern Context, by assisting with planning the conference budget and escorting the guest speaker, Dr. Sean D. Hammerle.  Amany has also provided marketing consultation to Fellow Heba Wahsh for her dental business. Amany is committed to conducting training sessions for individuals who have been laid off from their marketing related jobs. She is writing a book about Egyptian women and the revolution which will highlight the significant contribution of Egyptian women in the revolution. Amany is collaborating with Fellow Ireny Roman to conduct a number of interviews with women who took part in the Egyptian revolution to document their stories. Nora Haleem Nora saved her late husband’s business and has been managing the business successfully for the last four years. Her leadership has not only sustained her, but saved the jobs of the 20 employees at the company. Nora developed personal skills through her work in Life Ministry. She became a group facilitator of BLESS (Basic Life and Emotional Skills School), where she offers counseling sessions for women.  She is an example to the women in her church who have found themselves in difficult financial situations. Nora, along with other members of her church, will travel to southern Egypt and counsel women and children. Nora holds a Bachelor’s degree in English. Nora’s Recent Work: Nora attests that the training she received through the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program has empowered her and made her a more decisive businesswoman. Nora says that now she “takes small but confident steps towards expanding her publishing business”. She is committed to changing her business culture by encouraging a collaborative and creative work environment among her employees. Nora uses the skills she obtained during the program and is cascading important lessons to other women in her sphere of influence. In May, she presented on “How to Get Your Ideas Heard”, a topic that was taught by an SMU faculty member during the academic portion of the U.S. experience. Building on the knowledge she received in another training session, she will be conducting a bi-weekly training sessions where she will teach personal and business skills. Nora, in partnership with the Chamber of Printing Industries and School of Applied Arts, recently held the Second Annual Ayman Ramzy Design Award, for Applied Arts and Fine Arts students.  The award is named after Nora’s late husband. Nora is developing a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that will integrate the services offered through her current ministry and make these services available to a larger number of people within Egypt.  She will continue to focus on self-awareness, sexual education and emotional and life skills, and will offer counseling sessions. Nora continues to collaborate with the Women’s Initiative Fellows. She has collaborated with Fellow Enas Lofty on a project to photograph women who have prevailed despite their challenging circumstances. She also helped Fellow Azza Koura on her conference Egypt and Future Paths: Reviving Trust Funds in a Modern Context by utilizing her publishing house to print all the materials for the conference. Heba Wahsh Heba is a dentist in the Cairo region, where, in addition to her normal practice, she works for Operation Smile to provide treatment for children with dental and facial abnormalities.  In addition to caring for the people in her region, Heba has participated in various mission trips, including a month-long dental mission to Cameroon where she provided services for children. Heba has also been a counselor at the Wadi Sports Camp, where sports are used to encourage the healthy psychological development of teenagers. Heba has received a degree in Comprehensive Pediatric Dentistry and General Anesthesia. She is currently enrolled in a Master’s program for Public Health. Heba’s Recent Work: Upon returning to Egypt, Heba has been volunteering with a number of non-profit organizations involved in child and youth development. Though a successful dentist, Heba’s real passion is supporting children in need. She tutors children, provides monthly character development and relationship building sessions, as well as offers dental treatment. Heba is working with a local NGO on developing a curriculum that addresses the psychological needs of at-risk youth. She is currently finalizing the legal procedures to start her own NGO that will focus on child and youth development. Heba is currently preparing to host her annual youth leadership program that will engage 30 participants this summer.  She continues to see progress made by each child she supports. Their grades are rising and their overall outlook on life has improved. These remarkable women, along with so many others like them in the Middle East and North Africa, are true change agents. Their dreams deserve to be supported, and their accomplishments are cause for celebration. The Women’s Initiative at the Bush Institute is firmly committed to supporting women around the world as they strive to fulfill their potential and create a better future for generations to come.

This post was written by Doaa Mansour, Program Coordinator for the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program at the George W. Bush Institute.