Jana Yamani

Executive manager of fellowship and traineeship at MiSK

Life is not a race to see who achieves more. It is a marathon in which you try to outpace and outgrow the version of yourself from yesterday. 

My parents cultivated in me a strong passion for science, technology and learning. My father, a nuclear physicist, would share the latest scientific discoveries from around the world. My mother would spend hours going over schoolwork and encouraging us to read.

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Upon graduating from school I earned a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University, double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. I was class summa cum laude, the highest honor in a US academic institution. I completed a co-op at Microsoft’s headquarters and worked on two research projects, one of which won the university’s Best Undergraduate Research award.

I got married during my late teens and gave birth to our first child soon after I graduated. Motherhood is my biggest challenge. Although I took a year and a half off to take care of my daughter, I felt she deserved more of my time; concurrently, I felt the need to invest in myself. This led me to apply to Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the computational science master’s program.

I was a single mother during the two years I spent at MIT, while my husband supported us from Saudi Arabia. The feelings of guilt continued and I discovered that more than 60 percent of working mothers feel the same. 

I was blessed with three other kids. My second was born before I started work for management consulting firm McKinsey.

When my husband was relocated to California, I joined a technology company that builds customer experience solutions for some of the world’s top brands. I gave birth to my third child during this time.

As Saudi Arabia began a journey of massive transformation, my husband and I felt the urge to be part of that change and so we decided to return to the Kingdom.

I noticed a gap in the market for art and culture, so I organized Saudi Arabia’s first international classical-music event. We used the proceedings to fund a scholarship program for Saudi musicians. That was the kind of change I wanted to be part of.

I was approached to join Misk Foundation to build the next generation of leaders, innovators and creators in our beloved country. We have extremely talented and ambitious young people who are passionate about Vision 2030.

Follow Jana Yamani
Twitter: @janayamani
Linkedin: @janayamani

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