Soben’s Strategic Partnerships Director, Sabrina Mohamed reports on her exceptional career journey from learning languages to helping with the expansion of Soben Central & South America.
Tell us about your career journey to date
I studied Linguistics and English Language at Queen Mary University, where I also did two years of Spanish. When I finished my studies, I was planning on becoming a teacher, but I weighed up my options and to be truthful I wanted to make money! In terms of industries, I knew recruitment paid well, so that’s where I went. I saw it as a sales job, where you get back what you put out, so I knew if I worked really hard then I would be rewarded. I also really enjoy talking to people, getting to know them and helping them, so it was a double win for me.
My career has been hectic, but in a good way. I started off in a recruitment agency in the engineering and construction industry, where I first met Scott and Paul Moultrie! We stayed in touch, which is how I landed a role at Soben a few years later. My role has been a mix of client engagement and finding talent. When I started Soben had less than 50 people and now we’re over 200. It’s been a privilege to be a part of our growth.
Whilst I didn’t go into teaching, it is still something I’m passionate about. I tutor GCSE and A-Level students, something I’ve been doing on and off since I was 17 years old. I love how much I can help students.
You’ve worked on many projects over the years – which stand out for you?
Whilst I was at Rullion Engineering, I picked up a job on Sakhalin Island in Russia. A location notorious for its cold weather – as low as –50 degrees in the winter. It was an oil and gas project which required two project managers. As you can imagine, it wasn’t the easiest job, but I took it on as no one else could find people that were happy to work in those conditions. I managed to find two project managers, and whilst it wasn’t easy, it did make me think “you know what, I’m actually really good at this”!
What has been your favourite project you’ve worked on, and why?
Hands down, when I helped to set up Soben Central & South America. The Americas was incorporated, but we had no American team members. Scott asked me to help in LATAM, as they were struggling to find the right people, I asked Scott to give me a few days to see what I could do. I contacted a guy in Texas and asked if we could partner up to get us on the ground. He thought it was a great idea, and so we did. We found a team, (who are actually still there), did the financials and won the project! I’m so proud of this because I look at the team, and know I played a part in it.
What has been the most challenging project you’ve worked on, and why?
They all are! HA! But I would say a project we did in EMEA – the client was meticulous and had interviewed and rejected 50 candidates from other consultancies much bigger than us. They approached us and asked us if we could help, so we put forward some amazing people and won the job – we’re still working on it now. It was a great confirmation that we’re just as good as the big players in our industry.
What has been a defining moment of your career?
Moving into an internal role, I’d always worked agency side and I was really comfortable in my role at Oliver James, working full-time in the city etc. When I took my role at Soben it was completely different and new, but I haven’t looked back since.
If you weren’t the Strategic Partnerships Director Recruitment at Soben, what do you think you would be doing? Or want to be doing?
Oh, I would be a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher – likely working abroad, maybe in Japan, Asia or LATAM where I could continue my Spanish. This would be great because then I could be a part of a new community whilst teaching locals English and immersing myself in a new country and culture.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Some career advice I was given by mum which has stuck with me, and I’ll give to my daughters is “if you work really hard, your efforts will always be seen”. At that time, I was working for a manager who wasn’t so nice and was taking credit for my work. It was difficult because I just kept thinking “What is the point”? People too often think they are not noticed, but hard work is always recognised, not everywhere, but always in the right companies you get your recognition.
As you know, October is Black History Month, what does this month mean to you?
Black History Month (BHM) is an important month to showcase the differences in black culture, a lot of the time people have an idea of BHM and it tends to be African American focusing on Martin Luther King, Malcom X and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. That’s important, but there is a whole world to Black History – there isn’t one way of being Black and BHM allows us to spend the month learning more about Black British history.
What makes an inclusive workplace?
A place where you can be different without anyone batting an eyelid and I really believe we have an inclusive workplace at Soben. When I started Soben, I wasn’t wearing my hijab at work, and then one day I decided it was time to start wearing it. So, I put it on, joined a call and I was expecting some comments or questions, but nothing. If you can be your genuine self, without feeling the need to conform or change, that is what makes an inclusive workplace.
Who inspires you?
My mum inspires me, her advice is something that I have taken with me my whole life and will continue to share on to my daughters.
To find out more about the value Soben can bring to you, you can contact Sabrina on the details below:
Strategic Partnerships Director – Recruitment, Global