Faces of Entrepreneurship ft. Rama Obeid

I’m a third-year Civil Engineering student completing a minor in Management and Entrepreneurship and Computing Technology. Currently, I’m working with CEED (Centre of Engineering and Entrepreneurship Development) at the University of Ottawa as a program coordinator for the engineering international students.

I’ve completed a CO-OP with JF Sabourin and Associates as a Water Resources Engineering Assistant as well as an internship with the City of Ottawa in the water resources and infrastructure services branch. I’m so excited to explore the structural industry for my next CO-OP term in winter 2021 with Clark Construction Management Inc.

I have a great deal of passion to deal with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings. What attracted me to Civil Engineering was the fact that it is improving the lives of people. Which is why I decided to re-do my undergrad all over again when I arrived in Canada. The process between here and back home (Syria) is somewhat different. I’m passionate about what I’m studying so why not pursue another degree!

Someone once said “Sometimes the things that set you apart can be your biggest advantages” and it really DID! Having completed my degree back-home gave me extra time to balance between many things all together. Besides working with CEED, I made the Dean’s Honour List during the winter 2020 session and received the Merit Scholarship!

Outside of school, I’m also a member of the international Choir of Joy and perform recitals all over the world.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

For me entrepreneurship is having the capabilities to design/innovate solutions starting from your own problems by using your set of skills and knowledge. Sometimes we really want to make a difference, but do not know where to start or our fear disables our desire. However, I believe that by having this kind of feeling is a sign that you need to use an entrepreneurial mindset, address that fear, and invest every single resource you have to make the difference that you always wanted!

How are you entrepreneurial?

Being a Program Coordinator for the Hojjat Salemi International Students Workshops is something that I’ve always wanted, and it reflected my personality.

I’m NOT an international student, but I’m still an immigrant myself. I totally remember when I first arrived in Canada 3 years ago and how much I struggled to get help whether it be with school or finding a job.

Once I saw the job posting in a CEED newsletter, I applied to it and was granted an interview. Back then, “I did not have what they were looking for in such a candidate, even my English level was all about basics. However, I had the potential to learn and grow and that is what matters the most.”

With Midia Shikh Hassan’s encouragement and Professor Hanan Anis’ guidance, I was able to learn from this experience. Still, I’m developing my skills every day and solving students’ problems by organizing weekly workshops that cover various topics and answering their questions the best I can. If I don’t know the answer, I will refer them to someone who can help.

How does an entrepreneurial mindset contribute to your life?

Having an entrepreneurial mindset has contributed a lot in my daily life. For example, you can’t be an entrepreneur without being a structured and organized person yourself; I have my calendar already set up for the next month. You need to have control over your schedule and maintain a work/life balance. Besides that, self-motivation is crucial and having confidence in what you’re doing.

Finally, it’s still too early to call myself an entrepreneur but I’m working hard towards that while enjoying the ride and the process itself. Our careers are a lot longer than what we think/expect, so decide where you want to be at a certain age and arrange your life accordingly.

*This feature was published as a part of the Faces of Entrepreneurship Campaign, 2020.

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