Growing roles into careers.
Here, your success as a leader is seen in the success of those you help develop.
Question: When people get in touch with Apple for help, your team answers the call. Answer: That’s right. We’re good listeners. In fact, we like to say we’re not just supporting technology — we’re supporting people. Question: And not only customers. Answer: Well, 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.
Question: Is that what drew you into leadership? Answer: Yes — well, that and I was the oldest daughter of seven kids growing up in Somalia and Kenya! Which means you step up and lead. Question: What was it like when you started at Apple? Answer: Right away, it felt different. Question: How 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.
Question: How do you keep that culture going? Answer: We 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. Question: Specific to the current role? Answer: That’s the first half of it: helping people build a foundation by excelling at what they’re doing today.
Question: And the second half? Answer: A focus on their career journey. Helping them identify and prepare for new opportunities for growth here at Apple. Question: That must be appreciated. Answer: It’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.’
Question: You’ve helped people on your team grow, but what about you? Answer: Oh, I’ve grown in ways big and small. A big one was when I earned my MBA degree. Question: While raising three kids and working full-time, right? Answer: Oh, yes — just thinking of those two and a half years is exhausting! Question: How did you do it? Answer: Focus and support. Question: Where did that come from? Answer: The focus was within me. The support came from my family, my team, our leadership, and Apple.
Question: How did the company take part? Answer: That’s another way we invest in our people: Apple helped cover my tuition. They made it possible, then I made it happen. Question: What made it worth all the extra work? Answer: Personally, 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. Question: And you’re going back for more? Answer: I am. And why not? It makes me better and that makes Apple better.