Joining us on this edition of Women In Marketing is Wejdan Yamani who is the Director of marketing communications at Marriott International. With quite a few stamps on her passport, the world of travel and tourism have always been a part of Wejdan’s life. Let’s learn more about her
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, WEJDAN. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The memories I treasure most are the ones of travel. My father took us often to new places. I believe this is what led me to be a hospitality professional.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I found friendship to be one of the best things about high school and college.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
I am in love with the Italian dish (gnocchi) and yes, I don’t share it.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Fulfil all my family’s wishes
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, ANASTASIA HAMEL SAYS THAT SHE CAN BREATHE FIRE!
I am a dog and cat lover, so my life would be incomplete without either.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
Despite not majoring in marketing or sales, I found the field appealing to my skill-set and personality. Furthermore, I like the way marketing can bring about positive changes within a company, plus it enables you to collaborate with other people and be interactive with the community.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
Starting my day with an espresso followed by a mug of matcha with honey and almond milk is my favourite way to start the day.
THE PANDEMIC DISRUPTED OUR ROUTINES AND DAILY COMFORTS. HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
In truth, there was one positive outcome from the covid crisis, and that was more family time.
YOU HAVE A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN HISTORY FROM THE KING ABDUULAZIZ UNIVERSITY. TERTIARY EDUCATION, AS WE KNOW IT, TOOK A DRAMATIC TURN DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. HOW DO YOU FORESEE THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION CONSIDERING THE INCREASING POPULARITY OF ONLINE EDUCATIONAL SITES SUCH AS COURSERA AND GOOGLE SKILLSHOP THAT HAVE DISRUPTED THE TRADITIONAL MODEL OF LEARNING?
From what I see, tertiary education is still necessary, but I think it will depend more on online education.
WORKING FROM HOME/HYBRID MODEL OF WORKING MAY SOON BECOME A REALITY FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS GLOBALLY. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON REMOTE WORK AND WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGES AS WELL AS WAYS YOU’VE MITIGATED THESE?
While working from home certainly has its benefits, it still comes with challenges such as interruptions and lack of human interaction; we have to adapt. However, I prefer to meet my boss and colleagues in person.
ACCORDING TO A REPORT COMPILED BY MCKINSEY, THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS HAD A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. THE REPORT FURTHER ILLUSTRATES THAT WOMEN HAVE INCREASINGLY BECOME MORE EXHAUSTED AND SUFFER FROM BURNOUT AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS PROVIDE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AS WELL AS MOTHERS?
Women make great leaders, but family always comes first. Businesses should ensure that women have access to comfortable work environments, such as breastfeeding breaks and nurseries for preschoolers. Also, work hours can be flexible when needed.
2021 AND BEYOND
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC? ANY PIVOTAL MOMENTS IN YOUR PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL LIFE YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
In addition to the very negative impact on businesses, there may have been times of depression and negative feelings, but looking at the bright side, we can see it as a break and enjoy the time with our family.
KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW TODAY AND IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
You will achieve your goals if you invest in yourself and never stop learning, be positive, and follow your passion.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Travelling the world
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
I am inspired by any woman who is in a leadership position.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
When I want to read, I prefer a physical book in my hand, some of my favourite books are:
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Crime and historical documentaries, horror movies/series, women empower movies/series.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
If only I had started my career in marketing earlier, but sometimes you have to wait until you know what you’re passionate about.
WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HOW FORBES CURATES THEIR MARKETING-CENTRIC CONTENT. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO READ THROUGH THEIR CMO NEXT 2021 FEATURE? WHILST ON THE TOPIC OF GREAT MARKETEERS, WHEN YOU RETIRE ONE DAY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AS A PROFESSIONAL?
It would be my wish to be remembered as a leader who developed the company’s internal and external communications, resulting in a boost in performance.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
There’s no one. Whenever I feel like I need to check up on an old friend, I just call or at least text or use social media.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
You have to believe in yourself and always try new things to be successful in marketing.