Meeting up with Shaleenah
Heading up the Learning and Education portfolio at Siemens, Shaleenah is a certified coach and NLP Practitioner with a Masters in Science Degree in Coaching and Behavioural Change.
Her passion, contribution and commitment to the empowerment of women in South Africa led to her being selected as the “Top Women First Runner up” in Topco Media Top Women Awards in 2012. She was also nominated as one of 3 young achievers under 40 in the Oliver Empowerment and Transformation Awards in 2013. The Oliver Awards aim to identify and acknowledge true empowerment, leadership and innovation.
The opportunities that change you
Shaleenah studied at the University of Durban Westville where she received the Faculty Medal for Academic Excellence. Leaving South Africa when she received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. With her experience gained in the USA, she returned to South Africa to contribute to the development of human potential here and enrolled for post-graduate studies in Human Resources and Organisational Development.
Women’s empowerment and development
As the chairperson of the Siemens African Leadership Organisation of Women, Shaleenah positioned this initiative as a women’s empowerment and development initiative targeting women in her organisation and beyond. The purpose and vision of ALOW are to inspire, motivate, empower, develop and connect women. Through ALOW’s activities, opportunities were created for individuals to view leadership in powerful new ways and enrich their own sense of possibility.
Shaleenah was also instrumental in establishing the ALOW Business Book Club, a leadership, networking and educational program that transformed the solitary act of reading into a powerful opportunity not only to engage in powerful conversations with other women but also to develop leadership competencies. The Business Book club was used as a platform to raise awareness around female leadership and support and promote South African authors.
Empowering individuals for Shaleenah goes beyond career advice and her initiatives ensure that individuals are empowered in all aspects of their life from wellness topics to business and life skills. The rationale for introducing these empowerment initiatives is to ensure that individuals live their most empowered, professional and personal lives.
Setting up future skills
She recently established SieMent which is a Siemens mentorship programme. A critical factor which impacts employability is the job readiness of graduates. Graduates often do not have the necessary skills required to be employable. In order for students to become more employable, the gap between academia and industry needed to be bridged. SieMent is bridging that gap between academia and industry by closing the disparity gap between the expectations of industry and the work readiness of graduates in South Africa. The Mentorship model SieMENT, which Siemens is driving will ensure benefits for the graduating students who will find their transition into industry roles smoother.
Empowering individuals in the workplace
In her words, “Our collective experience and skills are our most valuable resources. We need to inculcate a culture of lifelong learning that includes the sharing of knowledge, experiences and the transfer of skills. We need to actively promote mentorship because having a mentor can mean the difference between career stagnation and progress for many individuals with untapped potential. Empowering others with the knowledge, skills, and the ‘know-how’ is not a choice we have but a social responsibility we have as individuals in society”.
Take the time to make an impact on those around you
Shaleenah is the Group Mentor at SieMent where students are mentored and offered valuable insights into the dynamics of the workplace. Shaleenah is also a Global Siemens coach where she works with individuals to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, achieve their development objectives, unlock their potential, and leverage their strengths.
Shaleenah Marie Samsunder brings to the table both her passion for the development of people and her passion for designing learning programs that create an effective leadership culture which fosters innovation, emotional intelligence, responsibility and high performance.
In her words “ I try to live my life by always committing myself to excellence and never associating my name with mediocrity, this is best encapsulated by the quote “Everything you do has your name on it. Autograph it with pride”.