This post is by Fabiana Bacchini:
You might ask yourself why a successful doctor leaves everything behind to start over in a new country with three kids and no one to help. Her reason is familiar to many immigrant women in this country: to provide a better future for her kids. Habibah Surani, 53 years old, our Brilliant Woman of the week, took a leap of faith seven years ago. She closed three medical clinics inKuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and moved toToronto with no intention to be re-trained in the medical field as required by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Her first year was all about getting to know her surroundings and making her children feel at home. They took ski and ice skating lessons in order to embrace the new culture. Habibah enjoys the fact that her children made friends from all over the world and are exposed to different cultures and traditions. “This is the beauty of this multicultural city. Torontonians are so friendly and open which makes it so much easier to blend in”.
In her second year, Habibah began her search for a new career. Back in Malaysia, the family doctor also ran an anti-aging clinic and she decided to follow this passion. Going back to school full time as a single mom was not an option. “I attended several workshops and seminars in theUnited Statesinstead. I bought the latest equipment and opened my own clinic”, she tells us.
Being self-employed all her life gave her the freedom to adjust her time according to her kids’ needs. “Working for someone else was not an option for me. I’ve always been very independent”, she says.
Business in a new country
Habibah faced several challenges as a business owner in her new country. “I had the support of a medical centre in Malaysia and here I had to do everything all by myself from accounting to marketing”, she explains.
Dr. Surani’s willingness to succeed took her out of her comfort zone and after contacting a few people in the media, she was profiled on Breakfast Television, on City TV, a well respected TV show. “I have got a lot of new clients with that exposure”, she celebrates. And many more media exposures followed that.
The beginning was a lot of dedication, many hours of hard work day and night and persistence. “After the third year, it got easier. You can’t give up when the first difficulty appears”
Five years into the business now, Habibah can say confidently that her clinic is established. Even though she is not allowed to work as a ‘doctor’, the fact that her clients know that she is a foreign trained medical doctor, gives them the confidence that they are being well taken care of. “They appreciate the fact that I do everything and they feel my passion”, she adds. The key to any successful business is to do what you love and the rest will follow.
With one business on the right track, she has just started a new one in the wellness industry and is currently looking for new business partners.
“I can easily say that I am very happy here and I have reached my goal of giving my children a better education”, she says. Her oldest child is now 22 years old and is a student at the Rotman School of Managment at theUniversityofToronto. The second child is studying Chemical Biology atMcMasterUniversityand the youngest one is in high school.
With their future secured, Habibah is now enjoying the company of her new friends and is ready to have fun travelling.
For more information on Dr. Surani’s treatments and her new business endeavour contact her at: Dr. Habibah Surani – MBBS Medical Esthetics and owner of Surani Clinic, www.suraniclinic.ca, tel: 416- 510-0100, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.