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What has been your most important experience as a mentor?

My most important experience as a mentor was when facilitating The Healthcare Leadership Summerschool. We initiated a movement among medical students and young doctors that ignited the idea that we can only cultivate and increase true health if we start being healthy ourselves: with a definition of health that is broader than just the physical.

Health encompassed mental, emotional and spiritual health, too. There were so many fellow students and young medics from all over the world that had exactly the same experience: people felt like they had a great vision on how they could help patients, but that they were shaped into someone they were not. We shared stories, lessons and tools so that we could stay true to who we are as (future) doctors! Not only was I a facilitator, I really felt that I was a student myself and that I learned so much from guiding these groups of participants.

What has been your most important experience as a mentee?

My greatest mentor is my grandmother. She is one of the first female politicians in Moroccan, and taught me that when you set your mind to something, anything can be achieved. Her life motto is “Are we women or are we potatoes?” Every time I bump into some sort of difficulty, I ask myself that question.

The answer always is: “Of course I am a woman!” It instantly boosts my motivation and reminds me of the abundant amount of support and resources I have access to. It also reminds me of the fact that women have not always had the position that we have today, and that many went before us to fight for where we are now. I feel so much gratitude and admiration for women like my grandmother.

How did you arrive at the position you are in now?

I love the experience and idea of growth. I love learning, setting goals, envision my way there and achieving it. It inspires me to see people overcoming obstacles and being living examples of “anything is possible”. Especially when this is put in service of a better world, I am moved! My dream as a little girl was to grow up and be a kids’ doctor and travel around the world to make children better.

Being the granddaughter of a Moroccan guest worker in the Netherlands, I realise that the generations before me have worked so hard so that we, their children, would have more opportunities. It feels humbling to step into that and to be of service. Being a global health paediatrician is my way of doing that.

Jesse Neimus: TeamMember
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