Samia is the CEO and founder of Unwind the Grind – millennial career development platform offering an interactive and inspiring place for young folks based in UAE to accelerate their careers or businesses. Samia skillfully blends her decade long marketing and coaching background to craft engaging experiences through community building events, corporate events, employee engagement consulting, career & startup coaching, writing, training and speaking. She’s a certified Strengths Strategy coach, Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner and IPCC from International Coaching Federation (ICF). After completing her MBA in Marketing, she started her career with Procter & Gamble, world leading FMCG organization. She worked her way up as a Senior Regional Brand Manager, growing some of P&G’s billion dollar brands for 9+ years. Throughout this time, she experienced tremendous learning and growth, managed a huge business with multiple geographies and teams, until she discovered ‘people development’ as her true calling.
Samia helps young professionals see who they are and achieve what they are capable of. As a career coach, she helps them find their passion and calling, discover and leverage their strengths, enabling them to excel in their careers. As an employee engagement consultant, she enables organizations get the best out of their millennial employees by understanding their drivers and barriers of peak performance. Having lived in the UAE for more than 20 years during different stages of her life, she has witnessed the country’s remarkable growth and the limitless possibilities it offers. As a budding thought leader, Samia writes about career and startup topics pertaining millennials as a regular contributor at Huffington Post, Thomson Reuters and Entrepreneur ME.
I believe women are empowered when they take charge. An empowered woman doesn’t need resources on a silver platter, she creates her own destiny. She is infinitely resourceful and fiercely independent, she resiliently takes charge of any situation, operates from an open and abundant mindset, educates herself, learns by doing and rewards herself, her family and her society with economic prosperity and wellbeing.
The only thing constant in life is change. Evolving and growing myself and being a change agent enabling others’ growth is what I thrive on. I had a high flying career in brand management for almost a decade with one of the top FMCGs in the world. Being a top rated leader myself, it wasn’t an everyday question to think whether I’m making the best use of the only life that I have. What motivated me to change my comfort zone status quo of a high profile, well paid job in an MNC was this consistent feeling of unhappiness, emptiness and lack of meaning in what I did. It took a bit of soul searching and self-discovery to realize that my core strengths and values lie in people development and big impact. Making a visible, tangible difference in people’s lives and work is what I thrive on. And hence I chose crafting meaningful, rich, creative experiences as my new gig. Experiences that nurture connection and bonding in an environment that’s natural, authentic and most of all FUN! I work with millennials, as a career coach, as the founder of unwind the grind, we are a community of over 2000 likeminded millennials based in Dubai that come together to chill out, unwind after a long day at work, open up and talk about career challenges and opportunities, hear inspiring success stories and learn from the experts in the field.
Was it easy quitting that prestigious job and the hefty paycheck? Not really, just to think of the fact that it was the only job I ever had, those people were pretty much the only people I knew professionally, all those fears of would I be able to make it outside P&G?
But, as they say, ‘nothing of great significance is ever achieved by playing it safe’. There is no growth in our comfort zone just as there is no comfort in our growth zone. To truly grow, we need to step out of our protective shell and allow our very capable mind to stretch, explore and learn. This is how we build our muscle, strengthen our core and truly grow. This is exactly what I did, and I’ve never been happier. The amount of personal development, growth, success, and above all joy and fulfilment that I’m experiencing on a daily basis is phenomenal.
Leaders can empower their people by painting a clear vision of the future, setting a purposeful, inspiring and achievable objective that people can follow, where people are clear on the role they play, in line with their strengths and capabilities and how their actions affect the bigger picture. A critical part of empowerment is enabling and energizing individuals towards a common goal. This happens primarily through effective role modeling, showing them how to take charge, how to look for solutions taking everyone along, how to delegate authority and decision making, how to adopt a winning mindset and going the extra mile, how to instill confidence in the team, share feedback along the way to improve, how to develop courage and resilience in the face of adversity and most importantly how to make others feel seen, heard, understood and valued.
Find your why. Know what drives you at a deeper level. Self-awareness has been my mantra through and through. Not only because it is at the heart of my new found profession, but also because it helps you know what drives you at your core. Without that knowledge, your passion and energy will run out faster than you had probably imagined. Case in point – People drive me. Deep conversations stimulate me. Making a meaningful impact in their careers and lives is what keeps me going. Fostering creativity in whatever I do is my outlet. Coming back to these crucial factors and designing my work and life around it has been an immense source of gratification. Whenever I’m feeling low, I know that I’m running out of gas on probably one of these. And so, I find a way to fuel up just in time.