26-Mar-2014 02:21 PM

“Take the first job you get and learn from it.” A powerful advice from a powerful woman. Shahinaz Reda has become a pioneer in the field of education in Egypt.

Starting off as a teacher at a local school in Alexandria, Reda has come a long way. Today, she is the country manager of AMIDEAST, a leading American non-profit organization engaged in international education, training and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa.

With several degrees in Education, International Development and English Literature, Reda has held a variety of positions at renowned organizations throughout her 18 years of experience, such as the American University in Cairo, the Fulbright Commission, and the Arab Academy for Science and Technology. Additionally, she has held consulting positions with USAID, Community and Institutional Development, and Logic Consulting.

Reda believes in the power of sharing experiences and stories: “Everyone has an interesting story about how they found a job – no matter how simple the story, someone can benefit from your experience.”

As for herself, she coincidentally stumbled upon her first job in the field of education, and she instantly fell in love with the impact she had on the lives of her students. Hence, she advises young people to get the first job they can get and learn from it as much as they can. “After one year when you have gained experience you can move to another job that you feel is more aligned with your interests. At that point you will have experience that will increase your eligibility in the job market,” Reda explains.

One of the main lessons she had learned in her life in the education business is that it is essential to accept failures – no matter how difficult it is, the lessons one draws from failure are invaluable.

She had survived many challenges that were put in her way – “You need to believe in your dreams, even when the challenges seem insurmountable or when the environment does not support the work. Overcoming the challenge of doubt through perseverance, hard work and dedication will usually yield powerful results,” she adds.

The final element to the formula of success is risk-taking, which can only be drawn if one believes 100% in the job and its worthiness.

“Work towards a job you love. The most successful people in history are those who have followed their passion, worked hard and chose the path least taken,” Reda concludes.

Shahinaz Reda holds a Master’s degree in Education and International Development from the Institute of Education, University of London, a Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the American University in Cairo, and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Alexandria, Egypt.