Monthly Employee Highlight: Salena Ali
During our one-hour interview, the word "lifer" came up a few times. She called herself a lifer, meaning that once she gets into a group that she genuinely appreciates, she stays there as long as she can. Until the last company she worked for closed down, Salena was there for over a decade.
So when she began looking for a job earlier last year, she knew exactly what she needed to find: A place where she can stay for a long time, genuinely satisfyingly. When she searched for more information about ARS / Global Emergency Management before she signed the offer letter, she visited the website and found the sentence "Our Product is Our Pride." That deeply resonated with her and ultimately moved her to sign the paper without hesitation.
Also an avid life learner, Salena values an exemplary work ethic.
"If someone confidently says my work is my pride, that means you put more than 100% into the product you create. That captivated my heart. I am grateful that I chose ARS / Global Emergency Management because that statement is true in this place. My coworkers challenge me and push me to grow further."
Salena at ARS / Global Emergency Management (abbreviated as ARS)
Briefly introduce yourself
I am the HR Generalist. I joined the company in May 2022. Recently I completed my MBA at the University of Manchester. It was not easy to take courses while working full-time, but I am so proud of myself that I didn't quit and reached the end goal.
What are some unique parts of your role at ARS?
Discovering ways to be innovative and introducing initiatives that will benefit all stakeholders (the company and employees). I strongly believe that it is my responsibility to empower employees and give them a sense of belonging. That way, they are always able to put their best foot forward in all that they do, knowing that they will be recognized and rewarded accordingly.
How do you see the value of teamwork in your everyday work?
Teamwork is undoubtedly essential in the daily operation of the HR office. Without my amazing counterpart Vince, I don't know how we would be able to cover all the responsibilities. As they say, "there is no "I" in Teamwork"! It is always the collective efforts of the team that make the department run smoothly and make our roles appear so seamless.
What are your favourite parts of your role and why?
It is that absolutely rewarding feeling when you know you have given your 100% each and every day. It is my joy to welcome people who pop into my office with questions. There is no such thing as a silly question. We always discover something new and learn about each other.
Since you joined the company, what are some of the (pleasant) things you found about the company that you didn't expect?
Before I joined the company, there was a sentence on the website that grasped my heart immediately. It was "Our Product is Our Pride." This simple copy was the game changer for me to make me decide to join the team.
After I joined the company, however, I was even more pleasantly surprised that not only the product is their pride but their employees as
well! Employees, no matter how 'new' they are, can confidently voice their thoughts and opinions. Everyone is treated with genuine respect and kindness. When you are shown kindness and empathy, you get to blossom. I believe that is why our company has been strong and successful for the last 60+ years.
Salena with Her Philosophy
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?
I can't choose only one as I have a number of 'motos' that I live my life by. So here they are:
"Be all that you can be and then do more!", "Never limit yourself as you can always do better and strive to achieve the best", "Always look up and aim for the stars, that way your sights and goals are always beyond your reach making you try even harder to get what you want in life", Smile, life is too fragile to be miserable. A small gesture as a smile to one passerby will make them smile at another person. A smile goes a long way!
What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”?
Don't look down on small opportunities. Get your foot in the door. Commit yourself to serious learning, and work your way to your ultimate goal. Take on challenges, look outside the box and you will learn so much that you can grow into any role. Don't be held back by your decisions, dive in and the world will be your oyster! Don't get trapped thinking you are stuck in the same role forever and don't listen to others who don't want to see you aspire to something great. Listen to what your heart says and prove that you can be so much more than you ever thought you could be!
More about Salena
If you choose only one movie to watch for the rest of your life, what would it be?
(After a long moment of serious hesitation) Braveheart (1995). This historical epic film does not lose its sparkles every time I watch it. It reminds me of life living for a cause greater than one's life: freedom. Courage is mandatory to live such a full life.
What is the best purchase you've made in the last 6 months that's under $100?
It might sound a bit silly but I would say bubble tea. I am not a coffee person. I sometimes treat myself to bubble tea (I am currently obsessed with Jasmin bubble tea) after a day of long, hard work or when I am stressed out. It only costs about $5 but is absolutely one of the most effective mood boosters for me.
If you think of one foundational life value that pierces through your life, what is it?
Joy. There is an ocean between joy and happiness. Happiness is external and temporary. Joy, on the other hand, is internal and lasting. It is highly related to your mind and attitude. Everyone lives their lives with their share of frustration, failures, hurts, and heartbreaks. It is your mind and attitude that define how you take them. If you make intentional efforts to see everything with gratitude, you will find hope even in the darkest valley. That is how you get joy. That is why I would like to have joy in my life, at all times.