At work, as well as at home. That's what Director of Sales and Marketing at Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi and member of our international network for gender equality and diversity - RiiSE, Simmi Pai advises to all active women to find the right balance between professional and personal life. Discover her interview!
Tell us about yourself, the challenges you face as a working woman and how you overcome them?
I am very fortunate to turn my passion into my profession. I feel so blessed to work with a great bunch of incredible young women in the same profession. The challenge of working women today is their biological clock and the career clock operates in the opposite direction of each other. For instance, when you need to have children you are busy nurturing your career as an entry level executive. This role will demand long working hours, busy meeting schedules and travelling round the world. While you are rising to middle management level, your grown up kids will seek more attention from you during their teenage years. As you grow more personally and professionally, your spouse and parents need you because they are aging as well. In a nutshell, while you are reaching the peak of your career is exactly the moment when your family needs you the most.
The best way to deal with this situation is by setting up a strong mechanism with your spouse, domestic workers, neighbours and colleagues. At work, invest in developing a strong team who would support you to perform well at work, which indirectly reduces the work pressure. Invest in good people, look after them and they will make your professional life simpler, stress-free and smooth. I know many people would say that one can do work life balance but in reality you cannot have it all. By developing a solid support system of friends and family, excellent time management, one can smartly cope with career growth and motherhood.
What were the challenges you faced as a woman in this profession?
In my opinion, women make great leaders as we are biologically multi-taskers. However, in certain organisation women leaders are not preferred because the management would assume that they cannot do long working hours, travel or getting pregnant and going on maternity leave. Therefore, they prefer to give the role to a male member of the team.
I do agree this trend is changing gradually in the hospitality industry but we still have a long way to go. One of the key drivers for me to opt for Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi was because they were looking for a woman to lead. I was highly impressed with their vision towards women in leadership across AccorHotels worldwide adresses.
As a woman leader, I have experienced bullying at work by male colleagues since they would assume you are weak and cannot fight back. But I have always stood up for myself. Since I am sincere, passionate, committed and loyal towards my work and organisation. Moreover, I believe in looking after my team. Trust me, we are nothing without team support.
What is your career advice to other women?
My advice is to "Believe in oneself". We as women cannot have it all, so invest time in looking after yourself and coopt with many people to help you to develop your personal and professional life. Build a strong team at work and at home.