Ever since I was a child, my parents made me feel that nothing is impossible,” said Altoaimi, the first woman to become an officially accredited business valuer in Saudi Arabia. “I grew up within an ambitious family, as my mother created her own small business while my father excelled in his career. I grew up with the idea that success comes to those who work hard and chase it.”
Altoaimi started out pursuing a career in medicine but soon realized it was not for her.
“During my high school years I was made to believe that medicine is ‘The Choice,’ otherwise you didn’t succeed in life,” she said. “So I studied, applied and got in (to medical school). But for some reason it felt completely wrong. With the advice of the people closest to me, I realized that I should do what I wanted and what would make me feel happy and satisfied, regardless of what others say or think. This was a huge turning point in my life.”
She decided to study finance at Prince Sultan University and graduated in 2016 with first-class honors.
“Throughout my journey at PSU I was a very active student, the annoying type you’ll see at every event the university is hosting,” said Altoaimi. “I had a desire to say ‘yes’ to every chance I got, and because of this I got the chance to travel, explore and be who I am today. Saying yes introduced me to a side of myself I didn’t realize I had. For instance, I only realized I had a love of public speaking after joining the Toastmasters club, which helped me shape the young leader in me.”
After graduating, Altoaimi joined the company EY as a trainee in its transactions team.
“While rotating between subservice lines, valuations appealed the most to me,” she said. “Valuation is an art and that is what makes it unique in the world of numbers and structured processes. It is all about subjectivity and uncertainty; there is no one right answer as your intuition and understanding are the keys. Every case is different so you learn new things every day as you’re exposed to various sectors, economies and practices.”
With the help of her colleagues and family Altoaimi started to study for accreditation in the field of business valuation.
“After completing the exams, I officially became the first female accredited business valuer (Taqeem) in Saudi Arabia,” she said. “In all my courses, except for one, I was the only woman in the room but it never felt wrong or awkward. I was never shy to ask questions and participate. I gained a great network and knowledge.
“Our voice is a gift that we should embrace and use. It will take us all the way if we stand up and let it be heard.”