DOROOB è un’agenzia Non Profit operante in Arabia Saudita e fornisce servizi alle società attraverso investimenti nell’educazione delle élite, con lo scopo di renderle protagoniste del cambiamento positivo. E’ anche uno dei preferred partner di Six Seconds.
L’intervista è in lingua inglese.
Six Seconds: How did you come to the world of emotional intelligence and Six Seconds?
Solafa: My journey with emotional intelligence started with a tear of a mother.. tears of many mothers.. As mothers we always want the best for our kids, we ride the roller coaster of empathy with them and sometimes we get stuck not knowing how to navigate all that love, caring and a lot of times, frustration.
In 2009 I took the first EQPC with Josh, and started a friendship.. mentorship relationship with Jayne, hoping that EQ practice will support me in my journey as a woman through the various roles I play.
Those first steps with emotional intelligence took me on three months of self-discovery and personal change. Sometime after those months I remember my mother quietly stating one afternoon as we were sitting together, “Solafa you have changed!!”. Yes, mothers see things that others don’t.. that change started to touch my closest circle of influence.. the people I most love in this world.. and then spread to reach the bigger community and local society. A viral positive impact I like to call it. Its all about touching the lives of people around me… at least this is what I hoped for..
“If I am capable of influencing the people I love, then I am capable of influencing the world !!”, this is what I used to whisper to myself.
“EQ in Action” workshops at universities and schools, for youth, teachers, parents, gifted kids, and challenged mothers..
I developed Arabic translated materials from Six Seconds resources and communicated that through every chance I got. Those were my encouraging, self-fulfilling baby steps towards a global spectrum that I didn’t thought off at that time.
2014, I was assigned a new responsibility in leading a nonprofit company, @Doroob_sa . Doroob focuses on creating leaders for positive change in different societies. I knew then that it was time to take EQ to a higher level and a wider perspective. I contacted Jayne, and I said “Jayne, KSA market is ready for an EQPC”.
Over 18 months, we had more than 700 individuals going through the EQ profiles, through Doroob account. I moved from being certified as EQPC to taking different workshops, contributing to two conferences/seminars, in Singapore and Dubai, and I became SEI certified, with 360 and Youth.
EQ became my binocular in how I view people, situations and my life.
December 2015, I changed my 17 years-old life vision. Such an important out of the comfort move, required an empowering knowledge injection, so I registered for the EQCC, an EQ, ICF coaching certificate. I feel so empowered with all this experience and knowledge and very blessed with having this opportunity. It nicely aligns with my new vision.
Six Seconds: How would you express that vision?
In 1999, I wrote my first vision, and it was about creating change through learning and education, and for 16 years, that boosted my energy every morning. I decided to change that at the end of 2015.
With all the changes that the world is going through I thought, and wanting to build on the area that I’m most strong in.. compassionate empathy was the core of my new vision. Touching people’s lives on a wider range.. this is how I saw it. My new vision is touching the lives of 2.2 billion children through compassionate empathy.
.Six Seconds: How has your family influenced your exploration of EQ?
Solafa: Our family business owns a number of schools in Jeddah, and one of the biggest international school in the region. We have just launched Waad Academy the biggest institute for general education in the Arab region which will hold more than 6,000 students. We are a family that is passionate about education. This, in itself, supported me in my journey. I dream that through this passion for education that I will be ably to reach to the generation of the future.
My family has always, and will always be my priority. I like to believe that I’m a dedicated mother. My kids have always been my inspiration. I always say that I have learned from them as much as I’ve learned from anywhere else. I take whatever they inspire me to do to a higher scale. As much as I’m inspired by them, they too look up to me. I clearly see a natural leader in each one of them; everyone in his/her won style. They are the main milestone of my big vision.
This led me to believing that I can be a model for Saudi females, knowing that they’re capable of leading, of creating change, of expressing and showing more than what the world thinks.
Six Seconds: The new State of the Heart report shows some differences between men and women. What are the challenges for women in your country?
Solafa: Gender is a very sensitive issue in Saudi Arabia. However, I come from a well-known family that supports the role of women in societies. I have always been blessed by the support of my family. Both my parents and my husband believe in me, they become my shelter in difficult times.
Being compassionately empathetic, I feel responsible of supporting those of my gander who dream of doing something valuable with their lives, wishing to leave a legacy.
Through coaching I have met amazing strong women with ambitious dreams. All what they need is for someone to “guide them on the side”. To assist them to see the best in themselves, the opportunities despite difficult times, to shake their optimism.
I was disappointed in the results of State of the Heart report that shared the status of pursuing noble goals for women in general is less than for males. Knowing that as women, we might be more compassionate and empathetic, which allows us to be more giving to others in meaningful ways. However, this needs a good amount self-empathy to protect ourselves from being drained by our giving emotions. This level of awareness will allow us to knot the right strings of our life for it to be what we wish for.
There were times when I was there, when I didn’t have the knowledge and energy to lead myself to be the best that I could be for the world. Those times are the source of my intrinsic motivation as a role model.
Six Seconds: How did Doroob become a Six Seconds Preferred Partner?
Solafa: Doroob is the nonprofit arm of the family business. A forty plus years of giving to the society. Doroob operational projects started in Saudi, and then expanded to include Africa. We began with Sudan five years ago and planning to expand to other African countries. Our scholarship program recruits children with high capabilities and financially and socially challenged backgrounds. Through the scholarship endorsement, we provide housing, health insurance, and all the essentials for a better life. We also enable them through 21st century skills enrichment programs to better prepare them for the future. Our aim is to empower these kids to become leaders of positive change in their societies, everyday, everywhere.
This mission was the drive for our connection with Six Seconds. EQ for me is one of the 21st century needed skills. My experience taught me how EQ can turn regular people into change magicians. Doroob preferred partnership with Six Seconds opened doors for endless opportunities for these kids.
The “Seeking Refuge” campaign is an indicator of the level of EQ engagement in this society. Especially that it aligned with our holy month. Adult and youth volunteers showed promising and rewording commitment to sensing others. I have no doubt that similar campaigns will receive similar excitement.
.Six Seconds: I loved that article you wrote about the girls you helped in Sudan. What can you share about other examples of that “magic wand”?
Solafa:I remember being a judge in a national entrepreneurship competition for school age students. The objective of the competition was to nominate a winning student company to compete on a regional level with other Arab countries. In 2012 I was honored by being given the opportunity to mentor a team of 5 seventeen years-old teen girls through an EQ experience. Amazingly, the Saudi female team won, to prove the readiness of this young female generating for the business world. (Read full story here)
Six Seconds: It’s so inspiring what you’re doing. What other projects are you looking forward to as a result of your partnership with Six Seconds?
Solafa: My goal for the future is to provide various EQ opportunities and learning experiences to serve different sectors and business. However, educational institutes and learning environments will always be our main area of interest. Believing that they are the best change incubators.
There’s still a lot to share with the world, and the more we give, the further our ripples of influence and change will reach. And ripples create new waves that will hit unexpected shores. I will continue to take EQ where it is most needed. Saudi and Africa are mini steps towards a global reach. During my last trip to India, Ahmadabad, I gave an on-the-spot EQ session at Riverside School, to their high-school teachers. That session was one step further to touching the lives of 2.2 Billion children through compassionate empathy.