Susan Hannam, the Director of People Experience at Unifonic, says a big part of that growth is understanding the possibilities, and ways in which people problem-solve
Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
I look after our people experience function. It’s not a function that exists in every business but our CEO is committed to driving a strong culture at Unifonic and it’s my job to make that happen. My team and I are always enabling our teams so they can bring their best self to work and feel empowered to deliver their best work.
Did you always know that working in the industry you represent was what you wanted to do? How did you decide on it?
I did not always know and have worked across industries such as FMCG and aviation. I started in brand & marketing and did a lot of employer brand communication and engagement campaigns. I soon realized that’s where my real passion lay.
In terms of industry, tech has always fascinated me. I was looking for something with a real purpose that impacted people’s lives, which is why I was drawn to Unifonic. Not only is it an ambitious company but it’s also a fast-paced environment that offers a lot of growth and change. No two days are the same, and everything evolves at a fast pace which is both challenging and rewarding.
What first got you interested in the industry you work in?
I see the process of learning and challenging myself as being essential for growth. A big part of that growth is understanding the possibilities, and ways in which people problem-solve. I find it especially fascinating in the tech industry where we are problem-solving to deliver innovative solutions.
Do you have a role model?
I am fortunate to have a number of role models in my life, the most important is, of course, my mum. If I think about inspirational leaders in the UAE, Reem Al Hashimy would definitely be front of mind. As CEO of Expo City Dubai and the person who led the full Expo project, she is a force, and her leadership is on display for all to see throughout Expo 2020 and now at Expo City Dubai.
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
Every sort of obstacle including my lack of experience in tech. But I was determined to understand what Unifonic does and how our products help our customers not only enhance their business but also solve problems they sometimes don’t even know they have. It is also a very male-dominated industry, which can be challenging.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the industry you represent? What do you wish you had known?
Go for it! There are so many opportunities, your career can advance quickly, and you get the opportunity to work with so many different people with many skill sets. In tech especially startups, you can make an impact which is not necessarily the case in large, perhaps more legacy corporations. I wish I had known how much fun it is and I wish I had explored it earlier in my career.
What do you do to unwind after work?
I mainly spend time with my husband and kids and a lot of time walking and entertaining our beloved dogs. Other than that I hang out with friends at the beach or over dinner, and I like to read a lot. I believe that as long as you are learning both at work and outside of work you will feel fulfilled, energized, and motivated.