Lessons in Leadership: Integrating Courage, Vision, and Innovation for the Future of Sustainable Fisheries

Conservation Leadership: A Case Study from the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, Egypt

Ayman Mabrouk

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874608.ch8

When I reflect on how I became a conservation leader, I can trace my training back to my days as a young soccer player. I was a skilled player and played for my city and school teams. I remember challenging experienced soccer teams with a group of less-skilled players, ultimately leading them to victory. As a captain, I helped my teammates find confidence in their abilities and encouraged them to play their best during each game. That was the secret for winning. As I grew up, I was eager to learn other sports like rowing, track and field, handball, boxing, and karate. I loved challenges and wanted to discover what other games I was good at and figure out what I could accomplish. In college, I played for my university track and field, soccer, and karate teams. By the end of college, I got a black belt in karate, represented my city in the national championships, and was one of the best players in my country for my weight. The different sports I played exposed me to great experiences and were essential for developing leadership skills. Sports taught me courage, self-confidence, and self-awareness. Additionally, it taught me how to lead, communicate, and, most importantly, how to gain the trust of others.

Similar to sports, my family also had a profound influence on my leadership skills. I was the elder brother of four siblings, and I had to be an excellent example for them. I had to be on my best behavior because doing wrong would negatively influence them. In my family, my father was my primary motivator and he helped me develop my leadership skills. He encouraged me to be independent and work during the summer to get exposure to the real world. Unfortunately, he passed away, and at 24 years of age, I became the head of our household and took on the responsibility of caring for my siblings. His death was a painful experience for me, but I managed to show my family that I could take care of them and that they could count on me. I was able to navigate this tragedy because my father had prepared me well for this moment and had trained me for responsibility. He had also lost his father at a young age and had to learn to take care of his siblings.