Atiya Mosam, Independent Public Health Medicine Specialist and member of the Quote This Woman+ database
Born: Jozi* born and bred
Status: Sufficiently “whelmed” by life
School: Azaadville Muslim School
University: University of the Witwatersrand
First job: Intern Doctor
Transport: I am fascinated by transportation but planes win hands down. My biggest dream is to captain a huge plane but height and eyesight dictate otherwise.
Book on your bedside table: Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. I basically read anything related to psychology and self-development.
Music in your playlist: Songs that carry memories, so a lot of 90s music from my teens.
Describe your job in no more than seven words: Solving complex global health problems.
What keeps you awake at night? Injustice and privilege, especially in South Africa.
Who is your biggest hero? I honestly don’t have one – we are all equally sunshine and rain, depending on the day and I think if we stopped putting people on pedestals we won’t be outraged or disappointed when they turn out to be human. If pressed, I would say Nelson Mandela for his resilience and presence of mind.
Remote or office? Remote – offices are for socialising so I don’t get anything done.
What’s the most exciting part of your job? Connecting the dots – when I can see potential linkages between projects or people and bring them together for greater impact. And travelling to meet fascinating people in new places.
Career highlight? Successfully navigating a complex and fraught process to deliver a national policy.
What is your superpower? Organising events.
What is the least known fact about you? I used to volunteer as a backstage manager for charity events.
If you could get the ear of one person, to convince them your work is important, who would it be? Bill Gates – we need money.
If you had the power to pass a presidential decree, what would it be? That everyone, especially children, would have access to food.
Your best piece of advice? Take time to develop your own personal board or council of women for different aspects of your life but also be mindful of who you take advice from.
What’s your next big thing? I just started a group called Wonder, Women+, Wander to craft a third space for women in Gauteng to connect over activities and conversation. It’s open to anyone in Gauteng. Contact me here to join.
What do you do to relax? I watch reality shows such as Survivor because I am fascinated by human behaviour. Yes, yes, I know it’s “scripted”.
* Jozi is an affectionate South African name for the city of Johannesburg.