A multi-award-winning marketer, Sadaf Zarrar has over 20 years of experience working on global brands like Coca-Cola, Nestle and many more both from the agency as well as the brand end, Currently, she is the Director Integrated content and creative excellence ASEAN at Coca-Cola Singapore. Sadaf balances work and motherhood and is a role model for young women joining the corporate sector.
In addition to her illustrious corporate career, Sadaf fuels her passion for storytelling through @siddysays , a fashion and lifestyle blog. She feels strongly about committing time and energy to help future generations grow and is often found volunteering time for speaking opportunities workshops and training.
Describe yourself in three words
Resilient • Empathetic • Optimistic
Something you wish you knew 5 years ago
Professionally speaking, I recently attended a training where I learned that most women wait till they are at least 80% ready to start applying for their next role. While men start looking for their next role while they are 60% ready. As a consequence, male workers are likelier to find their roles before or when they are fully prepared for them while most women will find the last year or two in their role frustrating as they’ve outgrown it. This wasn’t news to me, as I have personally experienced it. But I wish I had known this not five years, but 15 years ago. I would have pushed myself more at the right times.
What’s your favorite project to-date
The reason I chose marketing as a career many years ago was simply that every day is a new day. Every project brings new experiences and new challenges. It’s hard to pick one project when you’ve had the honor of working on many well-known platforms like Coke Studio, Coke Fest etc. Some of my projects have been gratifying because of the acknowledgment they get and some simply for the lessons they bring or what they teach!
The biggest hurdle you had to face in your professional journey
My own conditioning. I think as women, your fears your insecurities become your hurdles. No matter how confident you are, somewhere at the back of your head, this constant nagging voice pulls you back. The fear of being ridiculed, the fear of not being successful, the fear of proving your naysayers right… more than any other hurdle that is the most difficult to pass.
But as they say, courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the will to overcome it 🙂
How did you start blogging and what will be your suggestion for part-time Influencers who manage social media life with full-time work
I started blogging during a few months of career break I had taken while expecting my older daughter.
Being in marketing, I realized as digital platforms gained popularity, I was becoming more and more reliant on others’ opinion who understood this better. I also noticed there was a growing need for good content in the market…
These two clubbed with the fact that I had a bit of time at my hand was the initial driving reason for SiddySays. I had been blogging since 2006 so SiddySays was a very natural evolution for me in 2011.
As for part-time influencers, I have noticed that the two keys to growth in social media are 1. Constantly adding value through your content to those who follow you 2. Consistency. If you can do the above two (which are easier said than done) you have a reasonable shot.
How do you wind down when you’re not working
Honestly, I don’t get much time to wind down. But I do make it a point to treat myself and pamper myself on occasion even if I have to put it on my calendar.
To really wind down, I love to do NOTHING. My life is so packed between work and home that doing nothing is a luxury!
What does being a powerful woman/ boss woman mean to you
It simply means the ability and freedom to be yourself, find your way, and then use the means at your disposal to guide others. A ‘boss’ isn’t a boss if they are not able to positively impact other lives 🙂
What do you think is one of the hardest things women face today, whether in the workplace or in their personal lives
I think women carry much more load simply because of social structures which have been entrenched for years and though there is a massive shift coming in attitudes something that has been centuries in the making will take at least decades to be undone.
For example, a female in the workplace will work as hard as her colleagues and still carry the personal load at home because it’s just not simple to switch off the mom hat, or homemaker hat, etc.
Encouraging women to work is one end of the solution, the other end is creating enabling environments where society, other women, and men step up so they may be able to balance all facets better, without guilt, without angst, without fear of being judged.
What is your message for all the potential boss women out there?
Pave the way.
Understand that every time we lean in, we are setting a precedence that others will use to go further. It is not just a need but our responsibility to ensure that we are not wronged.
Take the time to mentor, guide, advice… make sure that the change you are creating has an impact beyond you.
Sadaf’s practical message for young Pakistani girls: ‘With a handful of women now breaking through into industries previously alien to our gender, it is critical that women and men come together to support this shift. The status quo no longer prevails and each one of us must see ourselves as a torchbearer in one way or the other for the future generation of women. We are playing a role much bigger than just ourselves as individuals. So be brave, charter your own course, and live each other up to achieve greater things together.’
Here is a message from Sadaf for all the Boss Women out there:
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