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Thursday, 5 November 2020

My WFH Routine: Hayat Khattab, president of the Egyptian Paralympic Committee

Hayat Khattab, president of the Egyptian Paralympic Committee: Each week, my Morning / WFH Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Hayat Khattab, president of the Egyptian Paralympic Committee.

My name is Hayat Khattab, and I’m the president of the Egyptian Paralympic Committee, the head of ParaVolley Africa, and a board member of the World ParaVolley Organization. I’m also a part-time instructor at AUC’s school of continuing education and an assistant professor at Misr International University (MIU), where I teach business management and business administration.

The Egyptian Paralympic Committee consists of three subcommittees that oversee competition, which can broadly be categorized into powerlifting, athletics, and swimming. Our paralympic federations draw from athletes with intellectual disabilities, visual impairments, and cerebral palsy. Athletes also compete in badminton, table tennis, triathlons, cycling, archery, taekwondo, and wheelchair tennis. We’re in charge of getting teams ready to head to both regional and international competitions. Right now our focus is on keeping our 60-athlete delegation fit and motivated for the delayed Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games.

Together with my board we set the strategy for Egypt’s delegation: While each localized federation designs their own strategy they have to consult with us before they’re ready to travel for competitions. We supervise athlete selection, training and oversee finances associated with these competitive sporting events.

Our finances are covered by a grant from the government and four sponsors who really help us support players and give them the chance to advance in their sport. Managing the budget has been challenging this year after the Tokyo 2020 games were pushed back. Now we’re suddenly faced with an extra year on our calendars that was unaccounted for when we reached funding agreements with our partners. The lockdown period was very difficult for everyone, so we felt that it wasn’t the right time to be asking for more financial support. With things more or less going back to normal, there’s more room to discuss increasing our budget over the coming period.

(Want to support the awesome people at the Paralympic Committee? Drop us an email on and we’ll put you in touch — and shower you with love in a future issue of Enterprise.)

Our offices are fully operational right now. In April, our entire committee was WFH but by May we had put a rotation system in place to reduce the amount of in person contact at our office. During the lockdown period I was remotely keeping up with our international partners through online meetings and constantly following up on the covid situation.

Athletes and coaches were asked to stay at home up until mid-September: Coaches were quickly asked to move fitness courses online while our medical committee was keeping up with the athletes on how to take extra precautions. By September we started phasing back in-person training after testing all our athletes, trainers and support staff at the stadium. We only had one case turn up positive, who stayed home for two weeks until they got better and showed a negative test.

I wake up at dawn to say my prayers and go back to sleep for a few more hours before I get up at 9:30 am to start my day. After getting some errands done around the house I head to the Paralympic Committee office at the Cairo Stadium starting 1:00 pm where I stay until about 5:00 pm. I usually have an essential board meeting every week with our eight member board of directors and another with my executive director where we set goals for the upcoming week. I check more emails from home at around 6:00 pm where I’m also following up with some revisions of my students’ work and communicating with them on any issues they may be having with their end of year projects these days.

My weekends are usually spent with family. I have two daughters and five grandkids who I enjoy spending my time with when I’m not working. I occasionally like to drop in on some Saturday training at the Cairo Stadium to check in on the athletes. Otherwise, I’ve been watching this very interesting series on Netflix called The Blacklist which I'm enjoying very much. I’m also reading Le Roman d’Heliopolis, a book written by Amelie d’Arschot — Baron Empain’s granddaughter.

Being a woman leading a board of men is a great challenge. Society still doesn't accept this idea very much, but I’ve been using the emotional intelligence I teach my students about to overcome this challenge and have them really come to terms with my leadership.

I hope more media attention is given in the future to paralympic games, beyond the results of the Tokyo 2021. This period has been a challenge for everyone but I’m very proud of the athletes for getting through it in good spirits and following safety protocols.

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