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Big Goals, Bold Choices: Katrina Mankani, Managing Director And Director Of Positive Education, Fortes Education "Positive education isn't just an educational philosophy; it's a revolution we're leading at Fortes Education. Think of it as educating the head, heart, and hands."

By Tamara Pupic Edited by Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Fortes Education
Katrina Mankani, Managing Director and Director Of Positive Education at Fortes Education

This article is from a special edition of Entrepreneur Middle East created for the 2024 edition of the Women's Empowerment (WE) Convention, staged by the WE Council. Check out the full publication here.

Katrina Mankani is an accomplished leader in the UAE's educational sector- she is the Managing Director and Director of Positive Education at Fortes Education, a Dubai-based K-12 and pre-school operator. Within Fortes Education, Mankani is also the Managing Director of its pre-school chain, Jumeirah International Nurseries (JINS), and a leader of the Positive Education initiative at its schools (Sunmarke School and Regent International School). Each of these roles showcases her commitment to integrating innovative teaching practices with the principles of positive psychology, with an aim to cultivate environments where students thrive academically and emotionally.

For all of Mankani's prowess in the UAE'S education scene today, it's interesting to learn that she arrived in Dubai more than 16 years ago to launch her own real estate brokerage. So, what inspired her shift to education? "It wasn't something I plotted out meticulously," Mankani replies. "Rather, it was a path that found me, ignited by a desire to leave a meaningful imprint on the world. My guiding light in this journey was my mother-in-law, Shakuntala Mankani, a pioneer in Dubai's education scene since the late '70s. Her steadfast belief in education's power to transform lives has touched not only her family, but also thousands of students across Fortes Education nurseries and schools. True to the Mankani family ethos, where merit and hard work reign supreme, my educational voyage commenced from the ground up."

Related: Committed To Success: Farah Zafar, Co-Founder And CEO, Lyvely

Katrina Mankani, Managing Director And Director Of Positive Education, Fortes Education. Source: Fortes Education

This philosophy has governed Mankani's work at JINS too. After all, despite her credentials, which include a master's in public administration from Moscow State University and a master's in education in private school leadership from Columbia University, Mankani's induction into JINS in 2009 was as a humble teaching assistant. "From there, my path meandered through roles as a teacher, nursery manager, and, by 2015, to my current role as Managing Director," she says, and then adds with a laugh, "Along this path, I notched up a quirky achievement- changing 28 nappies in just five hours!"

As for Mankani's foray into positive education(which Fortes Education defines as "teaching that develops skills not only for academics, but also for personal wellbeing and character development"), it all started from realizing that learning should also be focused on developing personal features like gratitude and generosity, and much more. "Imagine a school where the curriculum is as concerned with teaching kindness as it is algebra, so children grow up knowing how to count, and also how to count on each other" she explains. "Positive education isn't just an educational philosophy; it's a revolution we're leading at Fortes Education. Think of it as educating the head, heart, and hands."

But what is the long-term goal when it comes to positive education? "Our goal is to create a world where every child has access to an education that balances academic achievement with emotional well-being and character development," Mankani says. "This vision encompasses not only the expansion of our own institutions, but also influencing educational practice worldwide."

Katrina Mankani, Managing Director And Director Of Positive Education, Fortes Education. Source: Fortes Education

Insider Insights: Katrina Mankani shares three practical strategies for achieving success

Flexibility is your ally "Life's most significant opportunities often come disguised as detours. Embracing flexibility has allowed me to navigate from real estate to the realm of education, demonstrating that the path to success is rarely linear, but always enlightening."

Resilience is your foundation "The journey of an entrepreneur is paved with challenges. Like a ship navigating turbulent seas, resilience has been my anchor, ensuring that no storm could deter my course."

Seek purpose beyond profit "The most fulfilling ventures are those driven by a desire to make a meaningful difference. This principle has been my north star, guiding my everyday decisions. Let your mission guide your entrepreneurial journey, and success will follow."

Related: Big Goals, Bold Choices: Sara Al Madani, Serial Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, And Reality TV Star

Tamara Pupic

Entrepreneur Staff

Managing Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Tamara Pupic is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East.

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