Women on Top: Joyce Azzam

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Be patient, success is like climbing a mountain

Joyce Azzam is the first Lebanese woman to have climbed 26 mountains around the world. She has just completed the Seven Summits as the first Lebanese woman, after raising the Lebanese flag on the seven top summits of the world.

As a conservation architect, she brings together the world of adventure and architecture. Her love for outdoor activities has unleashed a passion to research innovative approaches to protect and conserve cultural heritage sites specifically “Cultural Routes & Landscapes.”

Her dream is to become the second woman in the world to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. Through her mountaineering achievements, she is keen to inspire girls and women to follow their dreams and challenge themselves through #YesYouCan.

The Interview

What drives your achievements? 

My passion and love for the mountains and putting Lebanon on the international map again but this time through the achievements of a woman.

What is your biggest fear every time you face a new challenge? 

My biggest fear is not to have the mental strength to control my fear every time I face a new challenge.

What do you think is the impact of what you do on your community? 

I believe that the impact is vast, but it is still early to assess it. As a direct impact, I can state that after starting my project 6 years ago and after the campaign I led for the past 2 years for girls and women empowerment, 2 other Lebanese women have climbed Everest this year and another 18 year-old girl has finished 5 of the 7 summits. For me this is a success story!

What are some of your future goals? 

Completing the ‘Explorers Grand Slam’ as the first Arab woman and the 3rd female in the world.

Do you have a team ? How do you choose your team members? 

I don’t just have a team; I have a solid support system. My coach – who is my brother Georges, my sponsor, my trainers and my advisors are people who believed in my project. They are my angels!

How do you describe yourself in 3 words? 

Determined, ambitious, resilient

What’s your favorite part of being an athlete, and why? 

It creates discipline in my life. I am also an architect and Ph.D. holder, to manage to do it all together with my seven summits project, I needed to be very disciplined and have a clear objective.

Why is visibility important to you? How do you advertise your achievements? 

Visibility is important on 2 levels: for sponsors and for the community. I advertise my achievements through radio and tv interviews, social media and school and university presentations. My project is for all Lebanese around the world, but my targeted audience is the youth.

What made you choose this lifestyle? 

I didn’t really choose this lifestyle, but I just followed my passion and went step by step. One decision led to another and one dream lead to another. 

If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be? 

Be patient, success is like climbing a mountain. Sometimes you need to get down, not because you can’t continue, but just because you need to acclimatize your body in order to come back up and reach the summit.

How do you balance the different aspects of your life? (well-being, family, social and professional) 

It is all about setting priorities! My routines would adapt to my needs. In some phases, my social life takes over 60% of my time (especially post-expedition). But for example, before an expedition, my well-being or training will take over 60% to 70% of my time. But I would always have time for my family and beloved ones! It is never about equal balancing but about balancing your priorities.

What is your favorite quote? 

“Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do” – Oprah Winfrey

Women on Top Series

Berytech has partnered with the Lebanese League for Women in Business – LLWB, to create ‘Women on Top’ to highlight women entrepreneurs and executives in a series of motivational interviews about their stories, overcoming their own challenges and their entrepreneurial endeavors. Read more. The series is also highlighting successful women in sports and business.

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