International Women's Day - Interview with Sehr Ahmed, Global HR Director

Frazer Jones is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2017. We have interviewed a series of our female clients asking them how they have been bold for change #BeBoldForChange

Frazer Jones interviewed Sehr Ahmed, Global HR Director

Sehr Ahmed

Do you have any secrets to having a successful career?
There are three things that have helped me navigate a successful career:

Risk – I have taken a number of risks in my life and career: moving across borders, across industry segments and with two kids in tow as a single parent. Ultimately, you make a bet on yourself and your ability to navigate the change, the chaos and come out ahead as a person and as a family unit. Today my son and daughter are all grown up and studying in colleges in the USA. We are a family that remains close inspite of time zone and distance and consider ourselves citizens of the world.

Reinvention – The reality is that we don’t have the same careers through the length of our lives. The ability for a person to “reinvent” themselves, one or a few times is the game changer. This requires high learning agility, dealing with change and to take a risk on ourselves. I reinvented myself from a business role to human resources when I was tapped on the shoulder by the CEO who was looking for a functional thought leader who understood the business and had well-honed interpersonal skills. I was open to change and rolled up my sleeves and learned all that I needed to about human resources from the ground up. Within 18 months I was pulled out of Pakistan by a CEO who was looking for a Regional Head of Human Resources who had a Business / HR skill set. This was the start of my global HR career which has taken me from Karachi, to Taipei, to Hong Kong, to Singapore, to Melbourne and who knows where next!

Resilience – You can be sure that life will throw a few curve balls at you on the road ahead. I have been through 4 major career shifts due to a restructure when I found myself changing companies, roles or industries rather unexpectedly. Essentially it’s like you skin your knees and have to dust yourself off and keep going. In each of these situations, I have learned a great deal about myself, my innate strength and my ability to come out ahead. In each situation, I landed in a better place and learned so much along the way. Today I am who I am because of those setbacks and my inner strength to deal with it, believe in myself and grow as a result.

How do you achieve work life balance?
There is no such thing as work life balance. At any given time some part of your life is in balance while others may be out of balance. What I do believe in is “work life integration” the concept of bringing all elements of your life together. You take your work home and you get the flexibility to deal with personal issues as the stress points arise. For some it is young kids, for others it is aging parents and being there for them at their time of need. Technology makes this a whole lot easier and the concept of work life integration means we can live a fuller life and manage the stresses along the way.

What inspires me and why?
I am inspired by the ability to make a difference in the lives of the people I have worked along-side. Whether it is by being a coach, a sparring partner, a mentor and or a friend. Watching them lift their game at work and in life and seeing them thrive is my ultimate high. It takes having “deep smarts” about people and seeing their true potential before they have seen it.