Manal Rostom is a natural gamechanger. From a very young age she has brokern multiple stereotypes in business and in sport. After graduating from School of Pharmacy with a Masters Degree in Clinical Pharmacy, Manal has been taking the world by storm! At the age of 21, the Egyptian born Dubai resident, turned to wearing the Hijab and has since set out to break every possible stereotype of Hijabi women. We are enthralled to have her join our Top of Her Game Changemakers!
What do you consider the main achievements in your life?
Wearing Hijab at age 21, and taking life on in terms of breaking stereotypes since then.
First Hijabi to be appear in a Nike Ad in Nike Running MIddle East Campaign. First HIjabi to work for Nike as a Nike Run Club Coach & Nike Trainer. First Arab Hijabi to represent the Middle Eastern Nike in Portland, Oregon at the Nike NTC Train the Trainer Summit last August 2015
Founder of Facebook Support group Surviving HIjab–a 290k girl-group to empower and support women who wear Hijab
First EgyptianHIjabi to climb highest mountain in Europe and one of 7 Summits – Mount Elbrus in August 2015
First Egyptian HIjabi to Run the China Wall Marathon in May 2016.
2. What drives you to be at the Top of your Game?
By beating self doubt, insecurities and what the world tells you NOT to be. You want to go out there, take the bull by the horns and prove to anyone who has ever doubted you that you are much, much tougher than you thought by doing epic stuff. Stuff that surprises you. Stuff that you had no idea you were capable of doing.
Representing the Modern HIjabiMuslim woman in a new shape and form. where she’s a badass who simply got this life, overcomes hardships and lives adventures.
3. What are your success strategies?
Focus on your own Goal. Never compare yourself to anyone. Have a Dream, chase it until you make it, or die trying. Always , always, always support fellow women who are also striving to get up there, striving to make it.
4. Have you dealt with failure?
I am 36 years old and in the Arab world I am probably looked down upon as the girl who is still single, never married, no kids. As raw as this might sound, it’s the truth as much as it would make your stomach turn or leave a lump in your throat.
So some might see that regardless of what accomplishments you have in your life, you have failed because you didn’t (yet) make it to motherhood. It used to bother me a lot in my 20’s to the point where it probably robbed me from that 20-something youth. In my 30’s I have learnt to let that fear of being judged totally go and be focused instead on what I can bring into the world. I might have not brought any babies into the world (again, yet – still hopeful right there) but through my carefully-planned charity efforts I might have helped a few souls in need, inspired a little girl struggling with big life decisions or simply became a source of inspiration for someone who once thought there’s no more hope.
Sometimes I feel that we perhaps might have a different calling than everyone else. Maybe you were meant to come into this world not to live a traditional life, of babies and motherhood but rather have a higher mission. That of a different level. Like change the world or make a dent in the Universe, somehow, someway. Maybe this is what you came for. Focus on the Big picture always.
5. If so, how did you overcome it and resurge when all the chips were down?
When you seek positivity, you are seeking it first and foremost for yourself. No one is going to be there to save you. You have to listen to your heart and try to change things for yourself. Go out there and seek your passion. What is it that you love to do? How can you focus on that and block negativity and things that drag you down?
Do you want to give back to community? Is there something specific, like a cause you believe in ? Channel or your (negative) energy in perhaps linking your life to this one cause. And block all those angry, bitter voices inside your head.
6. Finally, it is important for us to recognise the power of men in supporting women. Is there a man who has played an instrumental role in your personal growth and success? Who are they and how did they influence you?
My number one fan is my Father. Despite the fact that I struggled to get where I am today in terms of convincing him of my adventure travel, solo travel, mountain climbing and Marathon running, I did get there and we reached a consensus. He believes in me, supports me and is my number one inspiration to chase my dreams, never look back and Just Do It because I actually Can. He fires my stamina and I owe him my whole life.
The second man would be my brother, one of the main reasons I wear HIjab. HIjab is a very big deal and you will not know how it changes your world and life unless you wear it and have it turn your life upside down. Because it does.
Last but not least is a Mountain Climber, a public figure, Omar Samra – First Egyptian to climb Mount Everest. I followed him for years since 2007 and was more of a stalker than a fan. Today I represent his adventure company Wild Guanabana because he believed in me. Last September 2016 I led my first mountain trip with his company to Everest Base Camp in Nepal taking up 5 amazing people all the way to 5364m above sea level.