"Usually I wouldn't really put myself out there, but lately I've been trying to be more boldand to just take some time to do more for myself. Sharing that story was doing something for me.”
Khadijah Bouabdullah, Strategy & Business Development at Scentre Group, The Dream Collective alumna and winner of our recent competition, “Let’s celebrate precious moments”, recently held with Baume & Mercier, spoke to us the power of being bold & the unexpected strength that can be drawn from the most surprising of places.
Tell us about the first watch that was ever significant to you.
I have worn many watches over the years but the first watch given to me that I remember, and will always remember, was around 10 years ago. I was a Cleaning Manager working at Bondi Junction Westfield. It was my last day at the centre, as I was relocating from Sydney to Queensland and my team wanted to give me a ‘small’ Thank You/Farewell present.
It was not a small gift at all – I was given a beautiful Longines watch which was from Gregory Jewellers. I was stunned, it was beautiful and ever so thoughtful. I felt a little overwhelmed and undeserving. Then I looked around at all the smiles from my team and a few tears and it dawned on me - as a leader sometimes you can overlook the impact you haveon your team.
The fact that my team rallied together to select and fund such an expensive, beautiful and thoughtful gift was certainly an eye opener for me and a reminder of leadership impact. I truly felt special and appreciated.
I was and still am so touched by the gesture and to this day this memory remains with me.
Would you say that this moment has in some way shaped your leadership style today?
I would. It has encouraged me to be a bit more aware of the impact the leaders can actually have on their teams.
I have a lot of trust in my team but I also know when to be firm if needed so I think for the most part they did have a level of comfort in coming to me if they had problems versus hiding it.
I think that when they realised that I was there to support them and that I had their back,that built the relationships a lot further.
I also used to wear that watch whenever I had a really important meeting such as a tender interview or a meeting with a senior leader. It was a bit of a power dress piece,you know? I wore that with my suit as it felt like a bit of a symbol of strength.
If your Longines watch symbolised strength for you, what do you think your new Baume & Mercier watch might mean to you now?
It's probably a bit more of self-care and reward right now because of what I’m going throughto be honest.
I mainly focus on my kids & my family so this is actually giving something back to myself. I'm not really a person who outwardly shares stories like this but when I was reading through the competition requirements, I thought,“Oh wow, that’s amazing. I’ll give it a go. I don’t really know if I’ll get it.”But you know what? It couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve had a rough trot this year & when I received the package, I was so moved. it’s so beautiful.
Usually I wouldn't really put myself out there, but I've been trying to be more boldand to take some time to do more for myself and sharing that story was doing something for me.
In addition to that,I’ve now secured myself a part-time position while also working on an innovation project in between & I did that all through stepping out of my comfort zone & being bold.
Khadijah wears style 10184 from Baume & Mercier’s Promesse collection, taken at the very same store in which her Longines watch was first purchased.
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