PROPER BALANCE

Dubai 2016 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Reem Osman, CEO of Saudi German Hospital Dubai, on winning the Leadership Excellence Award, aligning with Sheikh Mohammed's initiatives, and Dubai as a medical tourism hub.

Dr. Reem Osman
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Reem Osman holds a master's degree in eye diseases and surgery as well as master's in business administration from Wollongong University in Sydney. As CEO of Saudi German Hospital Dubai since 2012, she has been awarded by many global and regional institutions for her accomplishment in business and humanitarian work. Some of the notable awards are: 14th Middle East Women Leaders Excellence Award (March 2014); Forbes Middle East - 200 Most Powerful Arab Women 2014; Emirates Women Award (May, 2015); Feigenbaun leadership Award by Hamdan Bin Mohammad Smart University; Ambassador for Humanitarian Action by Sheikh Zayed Giving Initiative Organization (2014); and Goodwill for Women and Children Ambassador by Arab Women Foundation (AWF) (2015).

In February you won the Leadership Excellence Award. What impact do you think this award will have on your leadership strategy?

Female empowerment is my passion. However, it has to be spoken of in the right way since in the Arab world it has not been understood properly in past years. Female empowerment is about how women can become proper leaders while maintaining femininity in their personal life. It is about creating the proper balance so that you can achieve your goals in the long term. It was really nice winning such an award and it has encouraged me to do more; it gives you a push when you receive an award for the hospital or yourself as it shows you are doing the right things and are on the right track. It is a great feeling knowing that you are enlightening others. You will not see many female CEOs in the private health sector. Healthcare is a complicated industry and the requirements for the private sector are really demanding. You have to prove yourself and you are asked for results to prove this every now and then, so it needs a lot of work to be a CEO whether you are male or female. There is no issue about the gender; you have to prove yourself and help other ladies to show that you can be a mother, have three kids, have a social life, and have a career at the same time. I do not encourage women to leave their careers when they marry and have children. I know this makes me look tough but in the long term you are losing brains. Motherhood is very important but you can create a balance because life is modern now. I studied and received my MBA while I was married and had children so there are no excuses anymore; you don't have to leave everything to establish family life. It is a nice example for the children so with this award I encourage other ladies to do the same thing.

How is the Saudi German Hospital Dubai aligning to Sheikh Mohammed's initiatives?

Dubai's success and growth is because Dubai is pushing you to meet the standards of the vision. His Highness has provided a high quality of life to all people who live here. We did not have a slow phase because the patients were the judges; they came and said they expect the highest standards immediately. It was really tough on us for the first 18 months until we established the quality that everyone expected and satisfied everyone. I think the reason for our success is dynamic innovative leadership. I am not only meeting heads of department, but all the staff, including junior doctors. When you empower them you will see how much they will open your eyes to things that you can improve. This is the same style of Sheikh Mohammed because he is an innovative dynamic leader who listens to everyone. If you have an issue he will fix it the next day and you do not see this in other parts of the world. This is what we are used to and this is how Dubai is pushing everyone to work in a dynamic way where you have to listen to your staff and customers and take them seriously.

What areas would you say need further development in order to achieve the vision of Dubai as a medical tourism hub?

We are working with the regulators, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and we are working on our own. Medical tourism doesn't come about in one day and it needs long-term work, word of mouth, and the trust of patients. When we compile our statistics we find that the best marketing tool for medical tourism is word of mouth. That is why we have to deliver what we promise the patients as per our standards. We have to create the trust with the patients who come all the way to Dubai from other countries to be treated here.