TheFace: Fatin Hadrawi, Saudi executive

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Time: September 13, 2019  

Fatin Hadrawi. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
  • I dream of a book where I will publish all of my stories, ethics and imagination

Fatin Hadrawi There is something very special about a strong father-daughter relationship. It is a bond that I often took for granted. I was Daddy’s girl, raised in the field of poetry, literature and philosophy. As fate played a hand through harshness, in 10 years my father taught me the meaning of life, hard work, self-confidence and principles. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was only 13 years old.
Losing a parent can change you, but losing your dad when you are Daddy’s girl transforms you.
The mission of raising my brother and myself was continued by our strong mother. Two young, well-behaved warriors in the battle of life. “A single mother has a backbone made of steel and a heart made of gold.” English literature as a major in college was my broad window to the life I loved. I always believed that I would have been a drama star in another life.
Shakespearian plays and poetry were my wings to the fantasy horizon. From there I flew with words and metaphors to express my ideas and soul.
After I married a gentle diplomat and had my son, Omar, our new family moved to Madrid, Spain. As a result of my passion for languages, I took my diploma in Spanish language at the British Academy there.
Seven years passed and we returned to Riyadh. I knew I wanted to make a difference and decided to find work, build my knowledge and skills, and benefit myself and the society at large.
I started at Riyad Bank as a personal assistant to the head of the risk management department. I was willing to carry stationery boxes, water plants and organize the storeroom. I believe no matter where we are and what job we are doing, we must do it with love and sincerity. “Work is love made visible” — Kahlil Gibran.
After five months, I was transferred to the chairman’s office after one of the seniors wrote to the chairman about my Arabic and English skills.
It was 2007, and I was working with a real believer in women’s empowerment at a time when where women were still strangers in meeting rooms and the workplace. He saw no difference between men and women unless they proved the opposite.
With his support we were able to create a “women’s committee” with some of my colleagues. I was appointed the secretary of the committee, taking care of all female employees’ issues.
In a life journey you could never know how it ends but you always need to work hard, mindful of reaching the bottom line with dignity.
A very empowered, employed lady decided then to move with her diplomat husband to LA, California. A good wife also needs to be there for her husband and son.
I left Riyad Bank with tears of love and appreciation. I am what I am because of what I learned while working there for years — I will forever remember this fact.
As fate continued to surprise me with losses, two hard years in LA ended in my losing my brave husband after a strong struggle with illness.
I returned to Jeddah, close to my mother, and continued my mission to raise my Omar on my own.
I started looking for jobs when I was still in “Iddah” (the period a woman must observe after the death of her husband or after a divorce). After almost four months, my Arabic writing skills won me a position in Bupa Arabia, the biggest health insurance company in the Arab world, as a compliance/legal senior officer.
I was nominated to be the CEO office manager a year later. Since the day I was appointed to this role, seven years ago, I have been working with full heart, passion and mind.
Alongside my passion for learning, I have always expressed myself in writing. “Passion is born from what matters most to you.” I feel very passionate about penning my thoughts. I have always got something to tell; I breathe through writing!
I dream of a book where I will publish all of my stories, ethics and imagination. I dream of a flowered bright colorful cafe full of coffee and healthy grains. I see my writing all around it. I see myself welcoming you all inside with my smile.

This article was first published in Arab News

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