Sarah Lattouf, meet our featured expert who has journeyed from accounting to marketing, creating a remarkable career path. As the Deputy Marketing Director for IQPC Digital, she manages a diverse portfolio within the CX and Cybersecurity space, collaborating with leading tech giants. Her inspiring journey and insights into self-awareness, adaptability, and community service offer a unique perspective on leadership and success. We’re excited to discover her remarkable journey in this interview!
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in your field?
I hold a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Bath, and throughout my time at university I enrolled for a couple of marketing courses; I ended up really enjoying them and so perused an MSc in Marketing at Imperial College London. I started my career at Danone as a market research analyst where I was responsible for analyzing purchase trends for Evian and Activia.
I later on transitioned to a Marketing Manager role at IQPC digital and 6 years later I am now the Deputy Marketing Director for IQPC Digital; where I am responsible for a large portfolio of digital products within the CX and Cyber security space. I’m really fortunate to be working with some of the largest leaders within the CX and Cyber security technology space such as Alterian, E-sentire, Genesys, Inmoment, Qualtrics, Yubico and Zendesk.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
One of the most significant challenges I encountered in my career was the process of relocating and establishing myself in London initially. This experience is something that many international students and graduates aiming to build their careers away from their hometown can relate to. The feeling of isolation as a working professional in a new city was genuinely daunting, but I was fortunate to have a remarkably supportive group of team members, some of whom have since become like family to me.
Moving to a new city, especially one as diverse and bustling as London, presented several hurdles. Here are some of the challenges I faced and how I overcame them:
- Cultural Adjustment: Adapting to a new culture, work environment, and lifestyle can be challenging. To overcome this, I made a concerted effort to immerse myself in the local culture. I explored the city, tried new foods, and attended cultural events, which helped me feel more connected to my surroundings.
- Loneliness: Loneliness was a significant emotional challenge. To combat this, I actively sought out social opportunities both within and outside of the workplace. I joined local clubs, networking events, and social groups, which allowed me to meet new people and build a support network.
- Professional Integration: Integrating into a new professional environment can be tricky, especially when you’re the “newcomer.” To overcome this, I proactively engaged with my colleagues, asked questions, and sought mentorship from experienced team members. This not only helped me gain valuable insights but also fostered positive relationships within the workplace.
- Work-Life Balance: Balancing a demanding career with personal life in a new city can be challenging. I established a routine that prioritized self-care and maintained a healthy work-life balance. This involved setting boundaries and making time for hobbies and activities that brought me joy.
- Networking: Building a professional network in a new city is crucial for career growth. I attended industry-specific events, conferences, and seminars to expand my network. Networking not only opened up opportunities but also helped me stay updated on industry trends and best practices.
In summary, relocating and settling in London at the start of my career presented a series of formidable challenges. However, through determination, a positive outlook, and the support of my wonderful team members turned friends, I was able to overcome these hurdles. This experience not only enriched my career but also allowed me to grow personally and broaden my horizons in ways I could have never imagined. It serves as a testament to the power of resilience and the importance of seeking support when faced with significant challenges.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career, and how have they influenced your approach to leadership?
Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of learning valuable lessons that have profoundly influenced my approach to leadership. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the significance of self-awareness and the power of recognizing weaknesses. Here are some key insights that have shaped my leadership philosophy:
- Self-Awareness is Key: Understanding oneself is fundamental to effective leadership. I’ve realized that self-awareness involves not only recognizing my strengths but also acknowledging my weaknesses. This awareness has allowed me to be authentic and transparent as a leader, which in turn fosters trust and credibility among my team members.
- Embracing Vulnerability: Admitting weaknesses can be uncomfortable, but it’s essential. I’ve learned that vulnerability can actually be a strength. When I openly acknowledge my limitations and areas for improvement, it encourages open communication within the team. It lets others know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that we can learn and grow together.
- Seeking Continuous Improvement: Recognizing weaknesses doesn’t stop at acknowledgment; it’s about taking proactive steps to address them. I’ve come to understand that being a great leader means constantly striving for personal and professional growth. This not only benefits me but also sets an example for my team, encouraging them to pursue their own development.
- Building a Diverse Team: Another valuable lesson I’ve learned is the importance of surrounding myself with individuals who complement my weaknesses. As a leader, I don’t have to be the expert in every area. Instead, I can assemble a team with diverse skill sets and perspectives, which strengthens the overall capabilities of the group.
- Adaptability and Flexibility: Recognizing weaknesses has also taught me the importance of adaptability. In a rapidly changing business landscape, being able to pivot and adjust course when necessary is crucial. I’ve learned to be open to feedback and willing to revise strategies when weaknesses are identified.
- Empathy and Compassion: Understanding my own weaknesses has made me more empathetic towards the challenges and limitations of others. This empathy has allowed me to support my team members in their own journeys of self-improvement and growth, creating a more collaborative and supportive work environment. One of my favorite quotes by Jack Welch is “Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. After you become a leader, success is about growing others.”.
In conclusion, the journey of self-awareness and recognizing weaknesses has been instrumental in shaping my approach to leadership. It has made me a more authentic, adaptable, and empathetic leader, focused on continuous improvement and fostering a culture of growth within my team. By embracing these lessons, I believe I can better lead by example and inspire others to reach their full potential.
One thing that people don’t know about you and not listed on your LinkedIn profile?
One aspect of my life that isn’t highlighted in my professional profile or widely known is my dedication to community service for disabled children. While my LinkedIn profile primarily showcases my professional background and expertise, my commitment to supporting and empowering children with disabilities is a more personal and meaningful aspect of my life.
Over the years, I have been actively involved in volunteering for organizations that provide assistance and opportunities to children with disabilities. This involvement has included participating in various community service projects, assisting in special needs programs, and helping to organize fundraising events to enhance the lives of these remarkable children.
This passion reflects my deep-seated belief in the importance of inclusivity and equal opportunities for all members of our community, regardless of their abilities. While it may not be directly related to my career, it is a significant part of my identity and the values I hold dear.
What advice would you give to young professionals or entrepreneurs who are just starting out in your field?
Believe in yourself, for confidence is the key to unlocking your potential. In the dynamic world of marketing, don’t be afraid to push boundaries, experiment boldly, and even embrace mistakes as valuable learning experiences. Remember, it’s often through the process of trial and error that the most innovative marketing strategies are born.
Additionally, always keep in mind that customer centricity and marketing go hand in hand. Your success in this field will greatly depend on your ability to understand your audience, their needs, and their preferences. Be personable in your approach to your audience, engaging with them in a way that builds trust and rapport.
As you embark on your journey in this ever-evolving field, let your self-belief, willingness to take risks, dedication to customer-centricity, and your personable nature be your guiding lights. You have the power to shape the future of marketing with your unique perspective, fresh ideas, and interpersonal skills.
Sarah Lattouf, your journey from accounting to a thriving career in marketing is truly inspirational. Your commitment to self-awareness, adaptability, and community service is commendable and reflects your outstanding leadership qualities. We’re in awe of your accomplishments and insights. Thank you for sharing your remarkable journey with us, and we look forward to witnessing your continued success in the ever-evolving world of marketing!
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