Shaleenah Marie Samsunder currently heads up the ‘Learning and Education’ portfolio at Siemens. She is a certified coach and NLP Practitioner through Henley Business School and is currently completing her Masters Degree in Coaching and Behavioural Change.
Her passion and commitment to the empowerment of women led to her being selected as the “Top Women Executive First Runner up” in South Africa’s Topco Media Top Women Awards in 2012. She was also a Finalist in the Annual Oliver Empowerment Awards in 2013. These nominations were for her contribution and commitment to the empowerment of women in South Africa. She has a proven track record of achievement and has actively contributing to escalating the level and quality of gender economic empowerment in her workplace and beyond.
Shaleenah studied at the University of Durban Westville where she received the Faculty Medal for Academic Excellence. She left South Africa when she received a once in a lifetime opportunity to work as a Child Behavioural Specialist in Boston, Massachusetts (United States of America). She soon realized that she wanted to contribute to the development of human potential and returned to South Africa and enrolled for post graduate studies in Human Resources and Organizational Development.
As the chairperson of the Siemens African Leadership Organization of Women, she positioned this initiative as a women’s empowerment and development initiative targeting women in her organization and beyond. The purpose and vision of ALOW is to inspire, motivate, empower, develop and connect women. Through ALOW’s activities, opportunities are created for individuals to view leadership in powerful new ways and enrich their own sense of possibility.
Empowering women for Shaleenah goes beyond career advice and her initiatives ensure that women are educated and empowered in all aspects of their life from women’s health and wellness topics to business and life skills. The rationale for introducing these initiatives is to ensure that women live their most empowered, professional and personal lives.
Shaleenah was instrumental in establishing the ALOW Business Book Club which is a leadership, networking and educational program which transforms the solitary act of reading into a powerful opportunity not only to engage in powerful conversations with other women but to also develop leadership competencies. The Business Book club is used as a platform to raise awareness around female leadership and support and promote South African authors.
She defines success as “using your power to change lives for the better”.
In her words “Women’s experiences and skills are our most valuable resource. We need to inculcate a culture of lifelong learning which includes the sharing of knowledge and experiences and the transfer of skills. We need to actively promote mentorship because having a mentor can mean the difference between career stagnation and progress for many women who have untapped potential. Empowering other women with the knowledge, skills and the ‘know how’ is not a choice we have but a social responsibility we have as women toward other women”. In her personal capacity, she volunteers her time as a mentor at the Phakama Women’s Academy where students are mentored and offered career guidance and valuable insights into the dynamics of the workplace.
Shaleenah Marie Samsunder is a dynamic woman who brings to the table both her passion for the development of people and her passion for designing learning programs which creates an effective leadership culture which fosters innovation, emotional intelligence, responsibility and high performance. She believes that to ensure success with any learning intervention, one must ensure a meaningful learning experience by customizing and designing learning methodologies that foster relevant, concrete skills development.
In her words “ I try to live my life by always committing myself to excellence and never associating my name with mediocrity and this is best encapsulated by Dr Cheryl Goldstone in her quote: “Everything you do has your name on it. Autograph it with pride”.