The Success Equation: Dr. Jowhara Al Qahtani, Qatari Surgeon, Marathoner, And Running Coach On How She Does It All As a surgeon, Dr. Al Qahtani practices acute care surgery at the Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, and as a marathoner, she has completed five marathons so far.
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It is often said that how we talk about others says more about us than them, and I remember this when talking with Dr. Jowhara Al Qahtani who describes Qatari women as "strong, ambitious, creative, and clever," adding that they not only seize opportunities but create new ones for others. But what is interesting to note is that with these words, Dr. Al Qahtani is truly describing herself as well- indeed, the possession of those three skillsets have allowed her to become a surgeon, a marathoner, and a running coach.
As a surgeon, Dr. Al Qahtani practices acute care surgery at the Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, and as a marathoner, she has completed five marathons so far. Dr. Al Qahtani believes that running has helped her change her life, and that's why she founded Run The World, Qatar's first female-only running team, with the aim to help other women live their best lives as well. "Running has changed me a lot, and made me cope with different levels of stress and convert that into doses of happiness and positivity," Dr. Al Qahtani explains. "I tell my ladies that every one of them has her own story and journey, and it is up to them how they want to share their stories, but we can do it together through running."
At this point, one might ask: where do all of Dr. Al Qahtani's diverse interests and activities come from? She explains that they all stem from her goal to create a happy and different future for herself and her family. "This goal made me climb mountains, and overcome many challenges and obstacles, just to be the person I am now," she says. "I develop a new skill every time I face a hardship. Most learned skills are centered around myself; however, recently, I started working on skills that involve my interaction with others, such as emotional intelligence and time management."
As I piece together Dr. Al Qahtani's formula for success, she points out that it all started with her mother, who supported her pursuit of a career for herself. "I grew up in a very conservative Bedouin community," Dr. Al Qahtani explains. "The expectations of me were typical of any community, to get married, and so on. But my mother pushed me to study hard, and to become something big in the future." This explains how Dr. Al Qahtani went on to earn a bachelor's degree in molecular biology from the University of Colorado in the USA, and a medical degree with honors in community services from Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar.
Dr. Al Qahtani's work experience also includes working as a teaching assistant at a college and an associate researcher in an oil company, but she says, "All this wasn't as satisfying as studying medicine, and becoming a surgeon. Currently, I am doing two masters, and completing my sub-specialized surgery training in emergency surgery. So, I won't say I had everything given to me on a silver plate, because life was full of twists and hardships." And to those wanting to follow her lead in building a successful life for themselves, being "focused, goal-oriented, and disciplined, paying attention to details" is what matters, Dr. Al Qahtani says. "But it is [also] about how to utilize those skills to reach what you want," she adds.