Martin Curley, Director, Digital Transformation and Open Innovation at Health Service Executive, Top 10 Inspiring Education Leaders of 2022

Sameera Ahmed
Pinnacle Human Capital Consulting

Martin Curley, Director, Digital Transformation and Open Innovation at Health Service Executive Certificate

“Leadership is the ability to inspire authenticity and encourage inclusivity”

Pinnacle HR is a B2B company that offers customized HR and Management consulting services. “We service clients across multiple sectors including Manufacturing, Retail, Cyber Security, Higher Education, Hospitality and Gaming, and because each client is unique, with inimitable business needs, we pride ourselves on creating bespoke business solutions for our clients”, says Sameera Ahmed, Director of Pinnacle HR. service range from HR consulting services, transformation and leadership development.

The talented team at Pinnacle HR are carefully chosen. They are innovative, collaborative and results oriented. Consultants partner with their clients, walk the journey with them by creating a vision and managing the change process to achieve the overall objective. For many clients, the challenge lies in effectively implementing and communicating the changes needed to drive results. “We use data analytics to measure the effectiveness of our solutions and impact on the bottom line to give our clients the best return on investment”. Sameera has created an environment of support, giving her team creative freedom to innovate. This has been key in developing unique business solutions for their diverse client base. Her philosophy is that “growth lies on the other side of your comfort zone.”

Sameera’s leadership style is influenced by women around the world such as Jacinda Arden, Malala Yousafzai, Meera Vijayann and Amina Cachalia. But by far, her greatest inspiration has been her grandmother. Her lessons in strength, resilience and humility have been the driving force in helping Sameera overcome adversity and keeps her focused on advancing the gender empowerment conversation and her desire to leave a legacy that will benefit future generations.

Sameera explains how she managed her mommy guilt while juggling two jobs, school, and a precocious 5-year-old. Sleep was and remains a luxury. Juggling the responsibilities of work and home has not been easy, and there is constant pressure to keep all those balls in the air. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the precarious balance that women strive to maintain often at the expense of their mental and physical well-being. More than ever, the role of women in society must be re-defined, and stereotypical gender roles challenged to create economic inclusion that advances the participation of women.

Sameera has worked in some very male-dominated environments that were designed to limit women’s success. As the only woman or minority leader, Sameera believes challenging the status quo can be isolating and disempowering. “Being in the boardroom didn’t guarantee I’d be heard”, says Sameera. When expressing the desire to have a baby threatened to hinder her career progression, Sameera realized just how slow the road to transformation was. Thus began a journey of self-discovery, unlearning self-limiting beliefs and learning to embrace her power and trust her voice.

It is these lessons that form the foundation for the personal mastery and gender empowerment programs offered by Pinnacle HR. We use Gallup’s Clifton Strengths as a key resource in our coaching and development programs to enable self-discovery and true empowerment. “Men who advocate for themselves are seen as confident. Women who do the same aren’t usually seen in the same positive light, sometimes seen as aggressive”, says Sameera. Our goal is to become a global leader in change management by using Africa’s cultural diversity to challenge those narratives that hinder gender equality and partner with organizations to create more inclusive workplaces.

Sameera encourages women to share their entrepreneurial successes and challenges to not only build a network of support for each other but also inspire other women to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys. More and more women are becoming economically independent, adds Sameera. South Africa’s women are enhancing the economy, through sheer determination and grit, they overcome mammoth socio-economic challenges to educate and provide a secure livelihood for their families.

No doubt, South Africa has made progress on gender equality. South Africa is the world’s most unequal country, 27 years into democracy. COVID-19 has further emphasized South Africa’s fragmented democracy. It shows that the fight against patriarchy isn’t over. Slow women’s economic inclusion is the biggest factor in South Africa’s stagnating economy.

• South Africa has 19.4% female company owners. Yet, 30% of emerging market SMEs are women-owned.

• South Africa has 13% of female executive directors. Women have the highest unemployment rate; female-headed households are poorer; and women earn 30% less than males.

For women embarking on their leadership or entrepreneurial journey, Sameera had the following advice to share:

 Your circle matters. Surround yourself with people that inspire and challenge you.

 Find what fuels your passion and don’t stop chasing it!

 Stay true to yourself – you can’t be everything to everyone. Define your goals and boundaries.

Pinnacle HR offers a variety of workshops and programs that offer immersive experiences in leadership, transformation and change management. This includes mentoring and coaching for future female executives. The company also offers skills development programs for youth as a solution to boost entrepreneurship in the country and counter the disproportionate of ratio of unemployment to job creation. IE


Pinnacle Human Capital Consulting


Sameera Ahmed
Pinnacle Human Capital Consulting


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