Hard work and coaching as a path to success

    March 3, 2020

    Elena Marselis shares her unconventional rise from humble trainee to Head of Systems Center MET


    Elena Marselis joined Royal Philips seven and half years ago as a part of a traineeship program, which consisted of three separate assignments in Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and finally Lighting. She's currently the Head of Systems Center Middle East, Turkey, Pakistan and Africa since May 2019. Read on to learn how she navigated her way to the top of the ladder.

    Elena Marselis

    Find your passion and let it guide you

    Elena’s traineeship program consisted of three separate assignments in Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and finally Lighting. While doing her term in lighting she heard about Signify’s Healwell solution for hospitals and was inspired by how lighting can make people’s lives healthier. “For me, it was a no brainer to move to lighting,” she says.

    Like many, she lacked the right experience for the role she sought, but unlike others she had a plan. “I found three coaches in Holland and I was sitting with them once every two weeks and they were telling me all about lighting, so by the time I applied I already knew a lot about the business as well,” explained Elena.

    From the first day it became clear that this was the organization where I found myself: An industry undergoing radical transformation, exciting innovations, the opportunity to make a huge impact on entire cities"

    After a couple of weeks of working as a Business Developer for Indoor Systems in Dubai, her hiring manager asked if she would be willing to stay. She decided to join the (then) Lighting Systems and Services team.

    This passion for helping others is also evident in how Elena manages her team. “I don’t just want them to see financial reports online but to really understand their part in it, to make them feel like they’re part of something big, because they are.”
    Find your passion

    Be challenged and move past it

    In early 2013 the Systems Center was formed, which created changes within the organization. Elena took this opportunity to gain experience beyond her direct role. She had to learn as fast as possible, leverage her strengths, and create her success stories. Once her first wins came in, the team began to trust the new kid on the block.

    When asked how she managed the challenge of working in a new field and with a new team she said “getting external perspectives and feedback through coaching, visiting conferences, reading or listening to podcasts is extremely important. I believe that our Learning@Signify platform is one of the best investments Signify has done to develop employees further. Only by growing ourselves will we keep the organization growing.”

    Only by growing ourselves will we keep the organization growing"

    Elena was also quick to point to supportive leadership that she experienced laying the foundation for how she works today. “I was very lucky with the reporting managers/coaches I had across Philips and Signify. Each of them gave me clear direction and then encouraged me to go for what I believed in, pushed me to do more and allowed me to learn from my mistakes. It’s how I lead my team now as well.”
    Elena's leadership

    Three strategies for finding career success at Signify

    There’s much to learn from Elena’s extraordinary path in Signify, and she was kind enough to offer a few words of advice for others – especially our interns:

    1. Explore the organization: use every opportunity to gain new experiences and learn. I have seen firsthand how stretch assignments in other departments help employees get a better understanding of the organization and become more successful in their current role, while also seeing if the next role is a good fit for a future career move.

    2. Have a clear vision of your milestones: Know what you want to achieve (with a subsequent plan of how to get there). It’s not necessary to have an exact future career path in mind but at least have a direction.

     3. Share your ambitions: Let your direct manager, HR or even managers in other departments know what you want to do. They can help in finding suitable opportunities as they arise. Signify is always keen on developing internal talent, but they need to know what your ambition is so that the right people are considered for the right roles.

    I was very lucky with the reporting managers and coaches I had across Philips and Signify. They pushed me to do more and allowed me to learn from my mistakes, which is how I lead my team now as well."

    About the author:

    Reyhaan King

    Reyhaan King

    Signify Talent Acquisition

    For further information, please contact:

    Head of Corporate Content, Signify
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers and lighting for the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact connected lighting systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. With 2020 sales of EUR 6.5 billion, we have approximately 39,000 employees and are present in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We achieved carbon neutrality in 2020, have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for four consecutive years and were named Industry Leader in 2017, 2018 and 2019. News from Signify is located at the Newsroom, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.

    Meydan Bridge

    More blogs

    • Supporting Women’s Empowerment

      August 27, 2021

      Supporting Women’s Empowerment

    • Flexibility in your career is key

      July 16, 2021

      Flexibility in your career is key

    • George Yianni talks about the Philips Hue journey

      June 24, 2021

      George Yianni talks about the Philips Hue journey