And yet that’s exactly what happened – albeit circuitously. “I dropped out in my first year and took a job at a pharmacy to figure out what I wanted to do,” Sumaya explains. “It didn’t work. I had no idea, and I probably would have ended up studying to become a pharmacist if a financial advisor in our community wasn’t looking for an admin assistant.”
It was a move that quite literally changed Sumaya’s life, not only because she discovered that she enjoyed financial services but that she loved people as well.
“A year later I was given the opportunity to join an incredible group of people who taught me so much. They were generous with their time and expertise and I learnt such great relationship skills and the etiquette of talking to people. I also studied further, achieving all three levels of the certifications required to be an investment consultant to financial advisors.”
Today, Sumaya is Business Development Manager at Sasfin Wealth. These are the lessons she’s learnt along her journey.
1. Learn to look at the world through the eyes of your clients
We were encouraged to study the same certifications as the financial advisors we consulted to. Advisors utilize business planning and financial planning to help their clients and because we studied the field, we understood what they needed from us. This meant we could have a conversation on their terms and that we could add meaningful value.
2. Always be open to explore new opportunities
Too often we think our paths are set or that we know what the world has in store for us. This is rarely the case. There is so much more available to all of us than we often realise. People out there will be willing to teach you, advise you, and mentor you. Let them. Ask for advice. Embrace learning and building new relationships. You never know where they will take you. And finally, be open to change because an avenue you never thought possible might be just around the corner.
3. Don’t underestimate your strengths
It’s easy to underestimate everything. When I moved to Sasfin, I discovered that I had personally underestimated the relationships I had built up over the years. For 19 years I represented a brand and I assumed it was the brand that drove my success. Instead, I discovered that my work ethic, honesty and way of servicing clients meant that I had built up a reputation that opened doors when I came knocking to discuss our solutions at Sasfin. My clients wanted to hear from me. They wanted to know what I could offer them through Sasfin. We all have our strengths – it’s important to figure out what they are.
4. Build relationships
With that in mind, build relationships – your personality and authenticity will keep you in a room long after you walk out of it. Always remember that you give off the energy that comes to you, though. When you meet people, they will naturally be attracted to positivity and excitement. We can’t all be upbeat all of the time, but you can consciously choose to have a positive mindset.
5. Surround yourself with the right people
This is true at work and at home. Teams are extremely important to an individual’s success. On a personal level, I had the greatest backup structure in the world. I had my kids at a young age and without my mom, I wouldn’t be where I am today. She helped with school drop-offs, cooking dinner and being there when I couldn’t. Your backup structure needs to be one you trust to your fullest so that you can give 100% to everything you do.
6. Do everything
We are such great creatures. Think of everything we accomplish each day. It’s two years into a global pandemic and business continues. There is so much to be positive about – remember that the next time you are scared to take your next big step and just do it. Humans are remarkably resilient and creative.