Under 30 and Rising: ‘Eat that Frog and Live a Life You’re Proud Of’
“Eat that frog!” That’s the approach 25-year-old Suraya Watfa, an Analyst for GE Renewable Energy’s onshore wind business, takes to overcome her biggest challenges. It reflects the sense of dedication and persistence in the face of challenges she learned from her entrepreneur father.
It’s also the name of a business advice book she recommends. “It’s a metaphor for the idea that if you were to eat a frog at the beginning of the day, nothing that happens from then on could be worse. So if you do the toughest and hardest thing first, the thing you want to do least, it changes the way you think about your day and your time.”
This approach reflects what she learned from her father, an entrepreneur and business owner in Dubai: “Owning your own business has its ups and downs. But his dedication and persistence shows you can do anything you set your mind to. He has always risen above the challenges. I try to bring that same practice to my own work: just rise above the challenges and face them.”
This attitude also is reflected in one of her favorite quotations from American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. “This quote talks about not being afraid of change and of the importance of change in living a good life: ‘It’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be… live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again’.”
Having grown up in Dubai, Suraya’s influences are as diverse as the city, and she credits these with landing her where she is today.
Suraya was an international relations and economics graduate at Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland, inspired to study in that field by her own childhood in Dubai. “Social sciences had always been my interest, whether business, economics or international relations. When I was a child, I always wanted to be a journalist and report on global issues for a global news station. If I had to name an idol, it would be [CNN Chief International Anchor] Christiane Amanpour. It’s where a lot of my passion for global politics and geopolitics stems from.”
Although looking toward the future, she’d be intrigued to travel into the past: “I would love to spend the day in the 1960s in Dubai, where you wouldn’t have the constant distraction of computers and mobile phones, and I could see what life was like when my mom was growing up here. I’d love to see Dubai in the 1960s; it’s changed so much since then.”
Today, she’s glad to be working in onshore wind for GE Renewable Energy in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, helping “drive forward renewable energy in the region.”