ELN executive committee member Meryam Al-waadh is passionate about improving healthcare systems through the implementation of digital solutions. She’s a leader who believes in the power of volunteering, currently both with the ELN Executive Committee and with GEM (Girls E-Mentorship), a charitable organization that offers a mentorship program for high school girls. In her spare time Meryam is an avid reader, kick-boxer, and blogger who writes about various data projects pertaining to healthcare in HealthTech 2018.
To learn more about Meryam, read her spotlight below:
I speak (other than English)…
I was born in…
The United Arab Emirates.
But I currently live in…
I was raised in Hamilton before coming to Toronto for my academic and professional endeavors. I have been fortunate to live and work in cities that are continuously evolving and at the core of each city there has always been a strong community that is engaged and active in further improving our cities.
I spend most of my free time…
My free time is spent catching up on reading (currently re-reading Watchmen), trying out new restaurants and kickboxing.
The issues in our region that keep me up at night are….
Access to quality and timely healthcare for all, which includes improving hospital wait times, access to family physicians, introducing innovation into systems, considering and preparing for an aging population. Most importantly, being able to effectively use technology to solve some of our industries toughest challenges will be key to improving our outputs.
My greatest city-building accomplishment to date is…
I recently completed my first term as a mentor with the Toronto’s Girl E-Mentorship (GEM) program. The program pairs professional females from different industries with female high school students from the GTA. I’ve been having an incredible time connecting with and learning about the aspirations of these young girls. Seeing the hard work and motivations that drive these young girls has been both inspiring and exciting!
One characteristic every leader should possess is …
Communication. As more and more teams are becoming agile, digitally oriented and cross functional it becomes imperative for leaders to communicate their plans effectively, empathetically and through various mediums.
One thing I do to ensure I continue to grow and develop as a leader is…
Continuing to meet and speak with professionals from different backgrounds and specialities. Whether its grabbing a cup of coffee or chatting after an event, I’ve learned about new concepts, new literature and new events through a conversation.
If you want to get more engaged in your city or community you should.
Reach out to your current network and learn about their engagements, sign up for local events with themes that interest you, create an account on Meetup and search for clubs you would like to join. Identify a cause that you are interested in learning more about and start looking for opportunities around that cause.
One surprising thing about me/little known fact is… (can be personal or professional!)
I’ve spent the last few years learning how to code and creating my own projects!
A hobby or talent of mine that people may not know a lot about is…
This did not start as a hobby, but over the years I’ve been collecting classic literature books and in the future I’d love to create my own library!
To me, leadership means…
Authentically connecting with team members and being transparent in terms of the vision, obstacles and goals that include supporting team members individual development plans.
Diverse leadership is important because….
The issues our region faces are cross sectoral. As a result the teams needed to solve these issues will become more cross-functional, bringing to the table different skill sets and expertise. Our leadership will need to reflect a diversity in thought, in experience, in background, in sector and in skill set in order to best address our regions issues and assemble the necessary teams.
To me, an inclusive city/region/GTHA looks like…
A region actively engaging its citizens by providing accessible channels of communication and then effectively utilizing that information to aid in decision making processes and next step talking points.
The impact I hope to see through my term with the ELN is…
Through my term, I hope that our team can produce or set the stage for more ELN publications/white papers that shed light on important issues in our region through fact-based research/data. I hope to see a continued increase in young professionals joining ELN from different backgrounds and different sectors. I also hope that this year’s programming inspires attendees to continue the conversations long after attending.
Why should rising leaders apply for a position on the ELN?
On the ELN Executive Committee, you get the opportunity to develop a new network outside of their professions, an opportunity to invest time and energy in regional issues that affect all resident, as well as the opportunity to build and practice professional skills in a safe place.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role on the executive committee?
I found it rewarding to work with a hard-working executive team, experience and motivated team of Co-chairs and supportive leadership from the CivicAction team. CivicAction genuinely takes into account the executive teams interests, opinions, thoughts and actively looks for new ways to engage the team.