Sonya Kayani is an Award-winning marketing & communications expert with over 18 years of overall experience across diverse industries such as B2B, Banking, FMCG, and Oil & Gas in Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, GCC Countries, and Africa. She is currently the Regional Communications Director for the Greater Middle East Region at Tetra Pak.
We had a wonderful session with Sonya, who is refreshingly humble and honest. Her exciting journey is inspirational, to say the least:
Describe yourself in three words
Sonya: Achiever, Strategic, Disciplined
Something you wish you knew 5 years ago
Sonya: That worrying doesn’t solve anything, everything will work out eventually, just do your best, be patient and have faith.
How you ended up in Marketing and what is your take on the future of this industry
Sonya: It was a natural fit for me, I always imagined myself in marketing or communications due to my personality type, connecting with others and coming up with innovative ideas comes naturally to me and I also want to set the bar higher for myself with each project so that there are constant improvement and evolution. I have been lucky to be in organizations that have helped me grow as a professional and hone my skills further
The marketing and communications landscape has changed a lot in the last decade. Television is not the dominating media like it used to be apart from for daily usage products for masses. Digital is the way to go now and will continue to grow, especially after Covid. Digital is far more cost-effective and gives far more creative liberty.
The biggest hurdle you had to face in your professional journey
Sonya: I lost my father at 21. at that stage, I didn’t know anything or anyone. Starting with no guidance and mentoring with the additional responsibility to manage a household was not easy. Being a young woman in itself is a challenge as not many people take you seriously or will treat you differently from your male colleagues. That experience although very harsh, taught me a lot and made me stronger, I matured much faster than others my age enabling me to tackle professional challenges in a better manner.
Which person has influenced you most in life
Sonya: My Parents. My Father’s work ethic was unmatchable. He always told me to treat my work like ibadat. He always made others happy with his presence and attitude. My mother is one of the strongest most formidable women I know and she has taught me to stay positive and to never give up even in the face of great challenges and to always think of others. I hope that one day I can be like both of them, strong, kind and empathetic.
How do you wind down when you’re not working
Sonya: My real passion is to travel to new places and discover new cultures and cuisines. I love to read, watch movies and learn about filmmaking and cinema. I love to listen to music and spend time with my mother. In recent years I have started to focus on my physical and mental well being by exercising and meditating regularly as maintaining your overall well being is essential in a high-pressure job like mine.
What does being a powerful woman/ boss woman mean to you
Sonya: Having command over what you are doing is most important followed by being disciplined and professional. Being unapologetic for your life choices and your decisions. To me a boss woman is someone who is authentic, self-assured, and secure in her abilities and is undeterred by negativity or challenges.
Do you agree that women don’t stand up for each other the way men do in the corporate world
Sonya: I don’t think it’s gender-specific, if you are doing well, there will always be certain people who will not like or support you, the key is to keep yourself involved in doing your own work and your own evolution and to ignore distractions.
What is your message for all the potential boss women out there?
Sonya: Be fearless and try not to operate from the place of fear, because then you won’t be able to make sound decisions. Never worry about what people think apart from the ones you care about. Never give up because persistence is the key to success.