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Sabrin Azim Ali: Skillset, Dedication and Risk-Taking Attitude are All that Takes to Become a Leader

Sabrin Azim Ali
Sabrin Azim Ali | Dental College in UAE

Being a leader is not just a position in a hierarchy, a higher pay grade, or additional responsibilities – it is a skill set that you should be continually developing. One such leader who abides by this principle is Sabrin Azim Ali, who performs various roles—from holding the position of Clinical Coordinator, Interns coordinator, and Head of international affairs in Azerbaijan Volunteering Doctors association, to being the head of different committees such as Research, community services, students affairs, marketing, admission and enrolment, exam control.

Passionate about teaching and academics, her students in the BDS program admire her for the difference she has created in their lives. Sabrin is a real inspiration to teach us what it takes not only to become a leader but also to move on to the values of love, dedication, and having a risk-taking attitude.

In an interview with Insights Care, Sabrin shares her journey throughout the years that make her worthy of the title “40 Under 40 Passionate Women Leaders in Healthcare.”

Please brief us about yourself and tell us your source of inspiration for venturing into the healthcare niche.

I have been in healthcare since my childhood as my dad Professor Ali Azim specialized in a Ph.D. in Dermatology. So, I was born into a medical family. My mom Jamila is a telecommunication specialist and finally my sister Ahdab is a specialist and Ph.D. in Obstetrics and gynecology. I studied DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry), a specialization program in oral and maxillofacial surgery, and a Ph.D. in the same field at Azerbaijan Medical University. But I was lucky to be trained at AKH-Vienna hospital in Austria as well as at Istanbul Capa University in Turkey. I was not dreaming of becoming a doctor. I would say that it was more a family choice, what inspired me is of course my ego and character – if I do or start something I prove that I am the best in this.

When I was a child I visited a specialist Dr. Afa Aghazadeh who was supposed to extract my tooth. I looked at her surgical hands, the way that she talked, and her confidence. And I wanted to become the same. Later on, when I was in my third year I was invited by Dr. Tural Mirzoyev to night duty in an emergency hospital that was the day when I stopped loving general dentistry and was aiming to specialize in dentistry. I am a member of European, American, Turkish and Azerbaijani OMFS associations.

Please brief our audience about your organization.

I work in the Academic field where we teach our students a BDS program, and it also has a private clinic where they are trained and supervised by us.

As you focus on services and excellence, can you elaborate upon the various services provided under your leadership?

I can say that being a leader is not just a position in a hierarchy, a higher pay grade, or additional responsibilities – it is a skill set that you should be continually developing. In fact, since the time I came to UAE, I was holding the position of Clinical Coordinator, Interns coordinator and Head of international affairs in the Azerbaijan Volunteering Doctors association. Head of different committees such as research, community services, student affairs, marketing, admission and enrolment, and exam control. I was the organizer of different conferences and training courses.

Good leadership can make all the difference in the workplace. Without it, employee morale and productivity will inevitably suffer. I truly believe that a good leader should have the ability to develop a plan and then inspire and encourage others to participate. This is a challenge! For example, I have witnessed the result of my leadership – many students told me that they love this specialty because of me, and many of them say that I am an inspiration to them.

Can you convince dental students to participate in Breast cancer awareness as volunteers? Yeah, it is quite challenging, but can you believe that many participated because I was the organizer? Even my colleagues would say, “We don’t like community services but because you are organizing this, we want to be a part of your team.” I am proud to say that this is successful leadership.

As the representation of women in the healthcare niche has increased, is the sector focusing on the needs of women more than ever before?

It is kind of a difficult question for me as I consider myself a man at work. I remember the time when I was very young in my 20s (I am still young, being 34 y.o.) performing my night duty in the OMFS department in the emergency hospital where one of the young patients told me: “Hey! Miss with a smile on his face” and I responded, “Hey Miss is sitting at home right now, I am a surgeon here!”

I came to the UAE with a 7-month-old baby. But I never used it as an excuse to leave my duty earlier. I can proudly say that I work even more productively than a man can.

However, recently I gave myself a try to be a female at work and it was a bad experience. I can say that if I would continue the same way I would lose myself. A woman is emotional, emotions should not be present at work! As per my analysis, women in healthcare have made progress and continue to report high job satisfaction. So I go with equality.

Being an innovative leader, what advice would you like to give budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the healthcare niche?

I will give my example. I love to challenge myself and take risks. I always say: “I am not lucky. I have worked for it and worked very hard.” When we were students, my classmates would go to the cinema, but I would run back and forth from the university to a hospital during break time to learn something new even if it was for 15 minutes.

I would often stay the whole night awake in an emergency hospital as a volunteer. I have invested in myself, as the pocket money that was given by my family was often spent on books, instruments on traveling for training abroad.

Choose your friends wisely. That’s very important. It is a message even for a parent. You are lucky to have a friend who will inspire you to grow and to work on yourself.

Quit talking and start doing! The world is full of great ideas, but success only comes through action. Patience is important! Some will say I am not patient but those who have known me for a very long time, are aware of what I’ve been through to reach where I am today.

How do you envision scaling your organization’s services and operations in 2023 and beyond?

I truly believe that it is not only about the organization it is about the team spirit that sometimes is lacking in some organizations. Having the same vision as being a part of the same body is very important. A mindset of individual achievement should be changed to achieve the goal, clear understanding that being a part of a successful organization is also a positive addition to your own CV. Another thing that should be always in practice is that in order to be visible you don’t need to drag someone down. Instead, identify your unique abilities and use them to improve.

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