MARIAM AND SOUHA
Mariam Almheiri is from the Emirates and currently based in our Sharjah office. She has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the American University of Sharjah.
It’s been a busy year for Mariam. She is not only in the middle of the graduate development programme, she is also in her final year of a Masters degree in Engineering Systems Management.
How is she finding balancing the two? “It needs good time management skills but so far it’s worked out well.
“What three words would I use to describe my first year? Productive, exciting and an enriching experience.”
Before joining the programme, Mariam did an internship as a chemical analyst for six months at a start-up company in the UK. “I don’t have any experience of supply chain or business functions, so I’m looking forward to learning more every single day in the graduate scheme,” she adds.
Mariam spent her first rotation working in the logistics commercial department. “I took care of handling all the technical and commercial offers received from different logistics companies.
“I also learned about all the fees associated with transportation and different modes of travel, as well as the technical qualifications for shipments and how a company qualifies for a job.”
After her stint in logistics, she says she now understands how complex and demanding this area of the business can be – and it was her responsibility to make the process as smooth as possible. “I also witnessed how the Covid-19 pandemic affected logistics, where business became slower than usual,” she adds. “I’d never worked on anything like this before.”
Mariam is now working on a new expansion project as part of her engineering rotation. She will then join a site for a few months. “In the classroom, you can only choose the one major but here we can choose our career path and we are given the opportunity to explore different functional areas. I’m excited to see how what I’ve learned in the office ties into the work onsite.”
Mariam’s mentor Souha (see more below) has encouraged her to always seek out opportunities to learn more. “She also advised me to request to join a new project during my engineering rotation in order to understand the whole process that goes into these projects. This is the best advice she’s given me.”
And, where does she see herself in five years? “I’m not sure, honestly, but I’d like to become an influential part of this organisation and contribute to the development of the sector in the UAE.
“The work environment and the culture of the company is highly motivating and pushes me to be more productive and efficient.”
WORDS CHRISTINA McPHERSON
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2020
What do you find most rewarding about mentoring?
When you see your mentee’s morale has been lifted because of a piece of advice you have given them – that’s one of the most rewarding things about mentoring. Helping them to define their vision for their career is also rewarding, as you are helping them to succeed in life.
You joined as a graduate engineer, has this experience helped you?
Yes, I joined 15 years ago as a graduate electrical engineer. So, I can understand the challenges graduates may experience when moving from the classroom and academia to the workplace, and what guidance they need. It has given me a good insight into what the graduates might be feeling and helps to shape how I talk to them – and how I can challenge them.
Who is your role model and why?
I never had an official mentor as such in my career, but I have two role models in life. One is my father who has taught me resilience, determination, and how important it is to give back to your community. The second was one of my direct supervisors who taught me how important it is to have a purpose and vision for your career. If you are really passionate, you will arrive there.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice was from one of my colleagues who told me that there is a thin line between ‘I know’ and ‘I don’t know’. He told me not to be demoralised by what I didn’t know and to always have the confidence to ask questions. You have to be curious to enrich your experience. So, don’t be afraid to ask and step out of your comfort zone.
What have you learned from the graduates joining the business?
It’s important to be an active listener to their ideas – particularly as this generation knows a lot about digital transformation, technology, sustainability, and much more. They understand how the world is evolving around us. If their ideas are considered and implemented, it will help us to develop the business, and could change the way we do things.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH…
MARIAM’S MENTOR SOUHA
Project Engineering Manager Souha Shehab has been mentoring graduates for the last two years, although she has been helping and giving advice to junior colleagues in Petrofac for many years before this. She believes a good mentor needs to be passionate about their role and can help guide graduates to success.