Flexibility in your Career is Key


    July 16, 2021


    Read Sanam’s takeaway from 10 years at Signify and how she still finds new things to learn and new roles to take on!

    Sanam Siddique
    We all begin our careers somewhere, often we end up in very different places than where we initially began. Sanam Siddique was educated as an electrical engineer and began her career journey in a multi-national architectural firm in Muscat, Oman. She focused on large scale construction projects including a secondment in the UK, with The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG). Although coming from a technical design background, three years into her role Sanam found herself on the customer facing side of things, and she loved it and wanted to pursue more opportunities in this field. Sanam saw the potential growth of the lighting industry and searched the Middle East for her next opportunity in lighting.

    “I was enjoying conversations with clients, doing project management and team management in terms of skills. On the technical side, lighting was only 10% of what I did. However, I found that lighting was very intriguing at that time, so I wanted to specialize in lighting on the commercial side and I began looking throughout the Middle East for an opportunity to learn about the industry.”

    The perfect fit

    Sanam wasn’t looking for a regular lighting job with a manufacturer, she wanted something exciting, creative, and fresh. She met her future manager via LinkedIn in 2009 and was immediately impressed with the lighting specifier job being offered, as it seemed to tick all of her boxes.

    “There is truth to the saying that you pick your manager over the company. My manager wanted to grow a specification team that would talk to the specifiers and influencers in lighting. This was what I was doing previously so I found it very exciting because it was a new form of business development, and there was a lot of aspects to move around to meet new people and develop my knowledge of lighting. Plus, Signify (then Philips Lighting) is the global number one in lighting so that always helps.”
    Specification Sales Team Middle East and Turkey
    Specification Sales Team Middle East and Turkey
    The role in Signify was exciting and required a lot of travel and creativity. Sanam and her manager spent time testing out marketing concepts from other markets in Dubai, raising consumer awareness about LED lighting products. Now, 10 years later, Sanam is still excited to do the work she does in a new End User Marketing role.

    “I was doing more and more marketing things and I picked up skills in sales. So, I was very sure that business development was something I would do, marketing was something I would do. I’m heavily process driven, and these are skills I developed over time as I redefined myself. I looked back at myself to see what my strengths were, and I really wanted to work in something that would develop them further.”

    Taking a chance

    It’s important to take chances in life, but it’s even more important to take a chance on yourself! That’s of course made somewhat easier when you’ve got great support. Some years ago, not only was Sanam working full time at Signify, with her two-year-old first born, but also completing her MBA at the University of Bradford. She says this was made possible due to the support and flexibility provided, ranging from leave to project work.

    We tend to put ourselves in boxes based on our experience and what we are comfortable with. However, at Signify, Sanam was challenged and encouraged to branch out and try new things in her job.

    Even coming from a technical design background she found an affinity for sales and marketing related skills, even going so far as to take on tasks relating to internal communications. But rather than be weighed down, each challenge brought knowledge and understanding as well as an even greater passion for the work she does.

    Second is the faith these managers have in you to complete new tasks and learn and grow in new fields very different than your own."

    Proof of this came after Sanam’s stretch assignment in Internal Communications, where she went from a minimal understanding of the role, to being rewarded as the global best internal communications champion.
    Sanam Siddique and the team
    “Signify is unique for a number of reasons. One is the ability for people managers to identify the skills that their team members didn’t even know they had themselves. And it wasn’t my direct manager, it was someone from a different team. Second, is the faith these managers have in you to complete new tasks and learn and grow in new fields very different than your own.”

    Some words to live by

    “Everything you do, your daily tasks, your strategic tasks, your learnings, they all feed back into your long-term career goal. So, have that defined. The clearer it is to you, the clearer it is to other people. My goal right now is to get my portfolio up to the business standard because my role is crucial for driving growth in the business. In the future, I see myself in the Excellence team or in Commercial Operations, setting strategy and processes as my career has shown that they are some of my core skills.”

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and Sanam did not end up in her role by accident. She actively sought out learning opportunities and greater responsibilities. A strong proponent of learning, she is also a registered mentor and eager to help anyone looking for advice in the Marketing or Specification/Business Development roles.

    My 5 Life Commandments:

    Be Strong, not Rude
    Be Humble, not Timid
    Be Brave, not Reckless
    Be Proud, not Arrogant
    Be Kind, not Weak

    About the author:

    Reyhaan King

    Reyhaan King


    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

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