Shahida Ahmed, the Human Resource Manager of Male’ Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) and the awardee of the Most Productive Employee of the year in 1999 and the Most Dedicated Employee of the Year in 2014, grew up in the capital city of Male’, Maldives. She was the second eldest daughter and grew up learning responsibility and love from her family.
The support and encouragement that she had received from her family, especially her mother, her prime influencer in her life, helped her excel in school, not only in the area of academics but in the area of sports and leadership as well. Her mother motivated her to aim high. “I studied in Ahmadhiyya School, now Ahmadhiyya International School. It was where I was taught some of the best values which I have instilled in me and I uphold fully. I have participated in numerous extra-curricular activities like the English Literary Forum and participated in athletics where I got second place in 100m run, third place in 80m run and third place in long jump,” she elaborated.
Looking back, Shahida’s prospering school years are a testament to the foundation that led to her hardworking and dedicated persona that she has upheld with success for a consecutive 13 years and counting as an HR professional in the field of Human Resource in Maldives.
Her career began in 1998 on 14th February as a Cashier Assistant in Male’ Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) Later, she was promoted to the position of a cashier in 2003. While working as a cashier, she worked at a supervisory level and was tasked with training, supervising and managing the performances of all the staff members working with her. Due to her commitment to her job and her exceptional performances, she was promoted to the post of the Assistant HR Officer in 2006. Her constant exceptional performance and her drive for further success and education helped her create a career in HR. She states the important role MWSC has played in helping her achieve this. “MWSC has given me the opportunity to grow and become even more qualified with regards to exceptional service record and the feats. I have been serving the company to date as a Manager of Human Resource,” she explained. She has never been a day late to work and has never taken a medical leave either.
I love: My family and my job
I dislike: Dishonesty
My inspiration: My husband
Favorite hobby: Gardening
Favorite quote: “success is no accident .It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing”
Favorite celebrity/influencer: Oprah Gail Winfrey
Favorite book: Talent Management
One thing people don’t know about me: I do gardening as a hobby. It teaches me different skills and makes me knowledgeable. So again I am learning a new skill in a different field to teach people who need my help.
Human Capital got to know more about her journey.
Can you describe your working life?
I enjoy my work and my chosen profession very much. I am always trying my best to have a productive work day and to be the best role model for others in my organization. My work life has been successful because of my committed HR team, support from all my supervisors, employees and the management.
How do you balance your work life?
Apart from being an HR manager, I am also a mother of two boys. I try my best to give time to my family and also appropriate time for my work as well. I have never failed in attending my children’s needs and helping them become better people for the future. Also, I am directly involved in the long term strategic human resource development planning of the company.
What are your academic achievements?
I have taken part in many training’s throughout my career. One of them is the Executive Certificate in Leadership & People Management training with the following 6 modules; Leadership for Strategic Impact, Talent Management for Business Leaders, Becoming a Whole Leader, Facilitating Innovation and Leading Change, Role of Effective Managers – Connecting the Dots and Driving Performance Excellence.
When looking into my professional qualifications, I have a Masters in Business Administration (Level 9) from the Australian Institute of Business. I also have a Graduate Certificate in Management (Level 8) from the Australian Institute of Business. Further, I have an Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management (ABE), a Diploma in Human Resource Management (ABE) and a Certificate 1 in Human Resource Management.
I have also participated in the following workshops. They are: HR as Business Partner, A Certificate in Management Skills, Effective Business Communication, Strategic Human Resource Audit & Risk Management, Business Communication in Dhivehi, Budgeting (Planning, Forecasting and Preparation), Human Resource Management for Practitioners, Knowledge Management and Learning and Development Conference.
What kind of struggles did you face while working and climbing up the job hierarchy? How did you overcome them?
I realized that to reach far and ahead in my career, I needed to train and study. The biggest challenge for me was to manage time as a mom, as someone who is committed to work and finally as a dedicated student. When I studied, time management was very difficult but with a lot of support from my husband, my family and work colleagues and my supervisors, I am here today.
What is the most challenging aspect of your past jobs and your current one, being a HR Manager of MWSC?
An organization consists of numerous employees with each their own thinking and ways of working. So as an organization, our main role to identify the people’s talent and utilizing it most effectively and also bringing them together as a team to achieve the organizations strategies and Corporate goals is a challenge.
When asked about what her biggest setback was in her career or life she replied, as mentioned before, that it was balancing her work and family life as a mother of two boys and as a working woman. But she never let herself down either way. She also got the help and support from one of her strongest influences in life, her husband. “He is always believing in me, he constantly motivated me and has paved the way for my success,” Shahida explained.
With her mom being her prime influencer in life, it was very much fitting for her to give Shahida the most valuable advice she has been given in life. She explains, “In life sometimes, you get setbacks and whenever I feel like I am failing, I hear my mom saying that I can do whatever I put my mind to regardless of where I am. These words reignite my passion back.” This is very inspiring and something her role model in life; Oprah Winfrey would certainly approve of. Shahida admires how Oprah Winfrey has managed her life and work and how she had shown all that women can take a leadership role and can be successful too.
There are a few things Shahida considers as her biggest achievements. Apart from winning the awards, she believes that completing her MBA as a working women while managing a household is a very big achievement. Additionally, completing the Executive Certificate in Leadership & People Management in Singapore and being awarded amongst the Most Talented 50 HR Leaders in 2018 and the Service Recognition Award she received are all accomplishments she is very proud of.
In tough and challenging situations at work, what keeps you going? What makes it worthwhile?
It’s the love and the commitment I personally have for the company which keeps me going and the love and respect from my colleagues and employees.
Do you have any principles that you follow in life that has proved to be beneficial? If so, what are they?
Yes, I do. One must never lie in any situation and must stay committed and work hard.
If you were to give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Instead of focusing and specializing in one field, diversify your fields as much as your capacity allows.
When asked about whether or not she would like to see any change happen in the HR industry. She replied that she would like to see more women take on HR roles in senior levels of management.
Are there any obstacles that you foresee in the future of the HR industry and specifically in the sector you work in? IF so, what are the possible ways to handle them?
To see some students who are still not ready to take part in their career. In order to minimize this, what we can do is to give more information regarding HR and also teach them how it applies to real practices.
What special memories do you have working in the HR industry?
I have been working in MWSC for 21 years. Every day I wake up excited, looking to go to work. Perhaps it is the love I have for the company. Perhaps it is my outstanding employees. Perhaps it is my colleagues. Most probably, it is the mixture of the perfect blend of everything with my passion, but every day is special for me.
Finally, Shahida, an experienced HR professional whose constant hardworking and dedication made her career successful, describes the following as success, “My definition of success is to stay committed to whatever you are doing and pour all your effort into it and when you fall, to come back even more stronger.” Truly, these are words of great wisdom!
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