Here, your success as a leader is seen in the success of those you help develop.
QuestionWhen people get in touch with Apple for help, your team answers the call. AnswerThat’s right. We’re good listeners. In fact, we like to say we’re not just supporting technology — we’re supporting people. QuestionAnd not only customers. AnswerWell, yes, I love being part of this effort because Apple is as dedicated as I am to developing people. I currently lead 18 senior specialists — and many more over the years — and for me, the most satisfying part of it is helping people grow into their roles and beyond.
QuestionIs that what drew you into leadership? AnswerYes — well, that and I was the oldest daughter of seven kids growing up in Somalia and Kenya! Which means you step up and lead. QuestionWhat was it like when you started at Apple? AnswerRight away, it felt different. QuestionHow so? Answer It wasn’t competitive. It was collaborative. I saw a culture that unifies. That says, “I got your back.” I was new, but any fear of the unknown just disappeared.
People will give you their best if you honor them with respect.
QuestionHow do you keep that culture going? AnswerWe invest in our people. For example, on a daily basis, I spend a high proportion of time with my team one-on-one, working on coaching and development. Coaching is helpful because it’s immediate, consistent, and specific. QuestionSpecific to the current role? AnswerThat’s the first half of it: helping people build a foundation by excelling at what they’re doing today.
QuestionAnd the second half? Answer A focus on their career journey. Helping them identify and prepare for new opportunities for growth here at Apple. QuestionThat must be appreciated. AnswerIt’s win-win. I feel the gratitude. I love it when someone who’s nurtured by guidance then really blossoms.
The most gratifying thing is when I hear ‘I used your advice to help somebody else.’
QuestionYou’ve helped people on your team grow, but what about you? AnswerOh, I’ve grown in ways big and small. A big one was when I earned my MBA degree. QuestionWhile raising three kids and working full-time, right? AnswerOh, yes — just thinking of those two and a half years is exhausting! QuestionHow did you do it? AnswerFocus and support. QuestionWhere did that come from? AnswerThe focus was within me. The support came from my family, my team, our leadership, and Apple.
QuestionHow did the company take part? AnswerThat’s another way we invest in our people: Apple helped cover my tuition. They made it possible, then I made it happen. QuestionWhat made it worth all the extra work? AnswerPersonally, it really strengthened my concept of self and my ability to perform under any challenges. Pursuing my education to a high level has been a life goal, as well as a promise to my mother. Professionally, it allowed me to bring so much more to the table and give my best. QuestionAnd you’re going back for more? AnswerI am. And why not? It makes me better and that makes Apple better.