Throughout August, we’ve covered the topic of women in the workplace. We’ve talked about some of the challenges they still face, highlighted some of the inspiring ways women are changing the workplace, and explored how companies can address their gender diversity issues.
That’s all well and good, but important as those topics are, they don’t come close to telling the full story of what we’re all about at Engage Me.
As the month draws to a close, we therefore thought it would be remiss of us not to highlight some of the inspiring women we’ve interviewed since Engage Me’s launch.
The founder of employee experience consultancy Strive, Andy Golding should be an inspiration for anyone who’s ever had a job that really sucked.
Rather than just giving up and consigning herself to a lifetime of bad work experiences, she sought out companies with awesome employee cultures, blogging about them, before going on to launch Strive.
Quotable quote: “What employee experience really is,” she told us, “is the core workplace practices. So, the computer that I’m working on every single day, does it help me do my job? Is it slowing me down? Is it efficient? The environment that we work in, is it noisy? Does it smell horrendous?
Back in the early 2000s, when Bridget McCarney joined New Media Publishing, the custom publishing market was seriously niche. Under her leadership, the South Africa-based publisher has helped shape the industry, employing more than 250 people across its various regional offices.
Quotable quote: “Everything in a culture, to my mind, rests on trust,” she said. “You either trust people or you don’t trust people. There is no in between”.
Over the past few years, the UAE has made massive strides when it comes to mental wellbeing. In part that’s down to government initiatives, but private parties like Dr Saliha Afridi of The Lighthouse Center for Wellbeing have also played a significant role.
Quotable quote: “We find that whenever we talk about the link between mental/emotional wellbeing and work effectiveness/satisfaction, and we share the wealth of scientific evidence and real-life experience that backs it up, people readily recognize the connection and are actually relieved to finally realize that there is something they can do to shift a vicious cycle into a virtuous one”.
When Mechelle Buys du Plessis was growing up, she wanted to be a cash register operator. It seems like a modest ambition for someone who’s now Managing Director of Dimension Data, Middle East. In our interview with du Plessis, we got the sense of someone who knows how to stay calm under pressure, who knows how to command respect.
Quotable quote: “If I am going to take a role, I will do whatever I can to succeed. I am always clear on what my goals are and change doesn’t scare me. The only thing I could imagine being fearful of is stagnation – I would never want that”.
As we noted in our interview with her, Kimi Sokhi does not have a conventional role. Then again she doesn’t work for a conventional organisation. As manager of employee engagement and wellbeing at Expo 2020 Dubai, her job is to operate a five-year strategy to ensure the Expo team is physically, emotionally and mentally fit to prepare and run the event – but also encouraging employees to build the foundations of good habits that will last an entire lifetime.
Quotable quote: “Take the time to get to know each person on your team as the unique person they are. Find out what motivates them to work hard, their personal dreams and challenges they face in their lives. If you can do that as a manager, you’ll connect with your team on a human level. That’s the first step to engaging with them and finding out what makes them happy”.
DHL Express is consistently listed as one of the top employers in the UAE. One of the people responsible for ensuring it stays that way is HR head Anu Daga. In our interview with Daga, we got her thoughts on, among other things, where employee engagement is going and the need to maintain the human touch in a data-driven world.
Quotable quote: “What makes DHL a Top Employer consistently in our view is our fundamental ethos that our employees are the key to our success; and then we deliver on this commitment every day”.
It’s not often that you get to interview a professional musician who’s also a record-setting swimmer. But that’s exactly what happened when we got the chance to sit down with Kieran Ballard-Tremeer. Born in South Africa, and currently based in Dubai, the saxophonist has played music in some of the most incredible locations around the globe, showing that you can make a career of music.
Quotable quote: “Even though I go in and repeatedly do events, there’s something magical about the twilight time, where you dress up, you look nice, walk into these incredibly beautiful places and spend the evening there.”
As head of communications and public affairs at Google South Africa, Michelle Atagana travels a lot. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, and you’ll see how much time she spends in exotic locales around the globe. That makes her an amazing resource when it comes to getting tips around traveling for work.
Quotable quote: “In Africa, the traffic is the focal points for some city adventures. In Lagos, I buy a lot of things in traffic, food, books, and board games”.