Meet the Mentor: Jida Renawi Zoabi, CEO Injaz Center

Jida Renawi Zoabi is the joint founder and CEO of Injaz Center, Arabic for “achievement”.

Injaz is a professional center for promoting local Arab councils in Israel. Jida has two children (14, 19) and lives in Nazareth.

Jida sets time aside to mentor Shada, RCP ambassador studying 3rd year medicine.

Jida, how do you find time for everything?

The desire to give back to my community through sharing the knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated is my main motivator.  I don’t have a lot of free time, but I couldn’t refuse the invitation to join the Rothschild Caesarea Partnerships mentoring program.

What, in that offer, caught your attention?

I’d never been a mentor in a formal capacity.  I agreed to join the program because my mentee specifically asked me to!  I wasn’t familiar with her or the organization prior to her request, but I connected to the program’s values, and was completely taken by Shada.

Sounds like it couldn’t have been any other way… how’d you get the process moving forward?

When I started the process with Shada, I asked her to come to the Injaz Center so that we could become better acquainted.  The entire meeting focused on volunteerism – what’s given, what’s received – and Shada inspired us deeply to find where each of us could volunteer and give back to the community.  It’s important for women in general, and especially Arab women who’ve become professionally successful, to bring their stories into the forefront and share their experience as a way of infusing inspiration.  As a woman, to succeed in a male dominated society is a significant achievement.  And that’s why, from our very first meeting, I just fell in love with Shada!

Wow.  So what exactly hooked you?

When I asked her why she chose the profession of medicine, I thought she’d say something about status, money or career.  Instead, she said she wants to return to her community, the Bedouin in the Negev, and help rehabilitate them.  And I just saw myself in her: that drive to succeed, her achievement orientation, and realized that they motivated and committed me to helping her advance.

Over the past decade, a tremendous and positive change has come about for young Arab women.  They’ve proven themselves in academia and other fields, such as media, politics and business.  I want to encourage them, and call on young Arab women reading this, to believe, not to give in, and not to compromise on professionalism.

How would you advise them to go about it?

First of all, avoid excessive complacency.  A person can get far while remaining humble, and holding to the viewpoint that there’s always something to learn from others.  Remember that your immediate family can be a source of vast support, and make time for yourselves too!

Do you make time for yourself?

Of course!  I have two main hobbies – reading novels in three languages, and I love singing the songs of Oum Kalthoum at home.

About Alon Madar