Thoraya Abdullahi is a formidable figure in the UAE’s busy media environment. At 29, she exemplifies the strength of will, embracing her position as a social media journalist at The National News with zeal and grace.

Thoraya’s path to journalism was a winding one. She began her career as an intern in data analysis and progressed through positions as an Accountant, Marketer, and Social Media Executive before discovering her real purpose. “Journalism has always fascinated me,” she says. “I was drawn to the power of words that could unravel the complexities of the world.”

Her youth was marked by lively talks with family members, which sparked a passion for storytelling that would shape her career. However, doubt crept in, and it took a year of gathering fortitude to write those critical emails to media outlets. The risk paid off, and she landed her first job at Forbes, a stepping stone into the fast-paced environment she currently enjoys at The National.

Thoraya was born in Abu Dhabi, although her ancestors are from Somalia. However, it is the UAE that has shaped her story. “I am a first-generation UAE-born,” she proudly declares, grateful for the country’s warm welcome. The legacy of the Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, hangs big, a beacon of inclusion that Thoraya cherishes. “UAE is my cherished abode,” she declares, emphasising her deep attachment to the region.

Her career has been a jumble of professions, ranging from accountant to social media journalist. Her present position hits a happy medium between journalism and social media, a wonderful match for her abilities and interests. “Being born into the era of social media,” she says, “I find myself naturally attuned to its dynamics.”

She finds fulfilment in her profession because she knows she can spark significant conversations and effect good change. Her days are a full of various experiences, meeting with influential personalities and engaging with stories from around the world.

Thoraya’s viewpoint has developed through time, shaped by various meetings and experiences. Her previously hard ideas have softened into an open-minded attitude that recognises the wide range of human experiences. “The complexity of the world,” she explains, “is something I’ve come to appreciate through my work, friendships, and family.”

This young lady learns something new every day. She’s discovered the power of regulating how news is spread on social media by interacting with young journalists. She’s accepted change, seeing the shift in how today’s youth consume news.

Thoraya’s family and cherished memories anchor her in the middle of her career tornado. Conversations with friends, away from the news cycle, are a form of therapy.

Her beliefs and background are important in anchoring her and helping her in balancing work and personal life. “UAE,” she emphasises, “promotes a profound connection with my heritage and faith.”

Thoraya’s long-term goal is to inspire young people to pursue careers in social media journalism. She believes in the indispensability of the human touch in building meaningful relationships with audiences.

When it comes to settling down, Thoraya is unequivocal: Dubai is where her heart is, and it will remain.

Thoraya has a wealth of advise for emerging journalists and social media enthusiasts: embrace constant learning, network, master storytelling, respect ethical standards, and, most importantly, cherish the journey, since success is a process, not a destination.