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Meet the Match

An Engineer Turns Her Focus to Empowering Girls

Hayam was raised in Cairo, Egypt with a basketball in her hands. Her family introduced her to the sport at a very early age and it was love at first sight. For more than twenty years, Hayam played basketball at the highest levels in Egypt, representing both her university and the national team.

As a basketball player, Hayam was selected team captain of the premier women’s team. Hayam served in that role as a spokesperson and assistant to the coach for five years. “During that time, I learned a lot. I learned that women are very absent in decision-making positions. Women play sports, but they do not make decisions about the sports they play. There are no female referees, coaches, or administrators. As the assistant to the coach, girls on the team came to me with problems they would never tell a man. I learned how much females are needed in that space.”

Now Hayam is a supervisor for two women’s basketball teams in Egypt and the only female serving on the governing basketball committee. As the supervisor, Hayam is responsible for managing all logistics, administration, and evaluation of player/coach performance. On the basketball committee, Hayam advocates for women’s opportunities and inclusion and works tirelessly to promote fair policies through governance. Although she faces many challenges, she sees the mentoring program as an opportunity to do something positive for her country and make real change in Egypt.

“I love challenges. I enjoy the hard work that comes with it and nothing is more fulfilling to me than seeing this hard work pay off. I strive to be a source of motivation to others; I always try to maintain a positive and upbeat attitude to bring hope and enthusiasm to the people around me. I am willing to make every effort to pass on the knowledge I will gain through this program to others. We have a rising generation of players who want to make change in our country, to knock off the dust from Egypt and rise up to the challenges that people are facing everywhere. This opportunity is so much bigger than just me. It’s a chance for me to do something for my country and to learn how to rebuild Egypt through sport.”

Through this program, Hayam wants to create space for women to become sports leaders in a predominately male sports environment. She also wants to enhance her leadership skills, improve her communication, learn new negotiation strategies, and refine her ability to mentor others. We believe Christine, Sandy, and the team at The PGA of America are the perfect mentors to help Hayam achieve these goals.

As two women in a predominately male space, Sandy and Christine have valuable lessons on leadership, teamwork, and negotiation to share with Hayam. In addition, Christine’s work in policy and governance will be tremendous value added to Hayam’s experience and her personal goals to promote fairness and inclusion. With the help of Sandy and Christine at PGA of America, we believe Hayam can learn the skills she needs to carve a new space for women at the governing table and achieve her dream of becoming board president.

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