Following your lighthouse
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Noha Shafik is a public speaker and diversity ambassador in addition to being the Head of Tech Delivery, Partner Experience, and SRE Logistics at Bol.com. She will be participating in the RightBrains Growth and Mentor Programme as a mentor in 2024 – and RightBrains sat down with her to explore why mentoring is such a powerful catalyst of personal and professional growth.
Positioned to make an impact
Noha hails from Egypt and originally stepped into the field of tech in 2005, following her bachelor’s degree in computer science at Ain Shams University. She started working as a software developer in the telecommunications field and has worked across multiple companies and positions, including that of tech lead, project manager, project leader and engineering manager. She moved to the Netherlands with her family in 2017 and gained experience in the financial industry, retail and ecommerce, and completed her master’s degree in digital business from the University of Amsterdam. In 2022, she joined Bol.com in the position of Engineering Manager Fintech – Fraud and Risk, which turned out to be a stepping stone to her role as the Head of Tech Delivery & Partner Experience. “Linda Bovaird, who is my mentor, is at the heart of the story of how I stepped into this role in August last year, since I was encouraged and supported to pursue the position.” Noha believes that sometimes you need someone to give you the OK to pursue something that you might find challenging. “I’m so glad I applied for the job, because I’m enjoying it -- and I’m now even better positioned to make a positive impact.”
Paying it forward through mentoring
Noha’s first and most significant mentor of her career – and life – has been her mother, who has been working in the field of business and management for 44 years. It’s a relationship that shaped the course of her career and one she turns to on a daily basis. “My mom has been a pillar of support in my personal and professional journey, and her example is just one of the reasons why I am passionate about mentoring others.” She has high expectations for the RightBrains Growth and Mentor Programme, and encourages potential mentees to take the step to pursue an inter-organisational mentoring relationship. She envisions her ideal mentee to be someone who is ambitious, curious and positive – and also someone who is resilient and daring. “Mostly, I think the ideal candidate for a mentoring programme is someone who feels moved to take action when discovering an opportunity like this. If you are all those things – don’t hesitate to take the next step.”
Following your lighthouse
Noha uses the powerful metaphor of a lighthouse to describe what people should use as a guide and a compass for decision-making. This metaphorical lighthouse consists of one’s values and purpose, which you will only know once you have done the hard work of uncovering and articulating it for yourself. “In recent years, I’ve used my own lighthouse to guide me in my career whenever I was at a crossroads.” That is why Noha’s hope is that more women can be empowered to define their lighthouses early in their careers, and why it’s one of the topics she focuses on when she takes on motivational speaking engagements and guest lecturing opportunities. “I want to be a catalyst for positive change, weaving my international experiences into a tapestry of empowerment, compassion, authentic leadership, and personal growth." More about Noha’s speaking engagements can be found here.
Inspired by people and passions
As a leader, Noha tries to be as transparent as possible and she attempts to communicate her expectations and her own values clearly, while opening the floor for her team to do the same. She is energised on a daily basis by the people she works with – and she gets a lot of satisfaction from seeing her team thriving while achieving their goals. She is someone who constantly pursues opportunities to learn and grow, and also explores passions outside of digital technology, like her interest in sustainability and the circular economy. Based on her own intrinsic energisers, Noha’s advice to women in tech, including those with an international background, is the following: ‘Be yourself, embrace authenticity, live out your identity, stay positive, and get the right people around you. If you do that whilst keeping your goals in sight, you will be unstoppable.”
Register now for the RightBrains Growth and Mentor Programme, kicking off in March 2024 and meet Noha and other inspirational mentors.