My Professional Journey: Leila

Mead & Hunt employees have many different backgrounds and experiences; this is what makes working together so fun. This month on the blog, we’re honoring the professional journeys of several employees. Maybe you’ll find similarities in your own stories.

Leila Ajjaoui – Transportation team in Lexington, South Carolina

Tell us about your first professional job.
My first professional job was at a trading industrial company where I had a dual role as the IT person and the executive assistant. I accepted the challenge to perform multiple duties, which allowed me to gain the knowledge and experience for advancement. I learned that no matter what your position is or what your duties are, knowledge and experience with the right attitude will help you succeed.

What is something you learned from your first professional experience that you have carried with you to your career today?
I learned to respect time, work hard, stay late, ask for more responsibilities, and never let myself plateau in my position. I took ownership of my work and did it passionately to achieve success as an individual and with the company as a whole. Working for companies that share my values, where I can be myself, has been key to my development.

What has been the biggest professional challenge you have overcome?
Moving to the USA. When I received a job offer for a position in USA, I was hesitant to accept it. Accepting the offer meant leaving family behind and moving to a new country without knowing anyone. The uncertainty of what to expect made me extremely scared, but the challenge and the will to succeed suppressed my fears. English was my second language; I knew how to write and read but I was not proficient at speaking. I was terrified to talk with employees. I always wondered if they would be able to understand me. However, because I was able to conduct my duties and am a fast learner, the language barrier crumbled and all my fears faded.

Growing up, what was an influencing factor in choosing this line of work?
I always wanted to be a pharmacist, but because I am a Palestinian with refugee status in Lebanon, the law doesn’t allow Palestinians to study and practice certain professions (and pharmacy is one of them). Computer science was not my first choice, but my parents convinced me to pursue computer science as a major. I am grateful that I listened to my parent’s advice. I excelled in computer studies and got my first job as a programmer for a couple years. Then I became more interested in other disciplines, such as accounting and graphic design. Now as an Office Coordinator, I am fortunate to have the challenge of doing all my duties in addition to some IT/programming functions, graphic design and accounting. Knowledge is the key to success.

Finish this sentence: I would not be where I am today without my mom and dad.

Kathy Schumann

About the Author

Kathy Schumann connects with co-workers by sharing their stories and experiences – helping employees see how they fit into the big picture of Mead & Hunt. “I have the best job. There’s a great sense of purpose helping co-workers be engaged and challenged by their work experience,” she says. When she’s not blogging, Kathy is editing e-newsletters, building the intranet and forming Mead & Hunt running teams.

Read more posts about Life at Mead & Hunt

2 responses on “My Professional Journey: Leila

  1. Leila, I love your passion for life. It’s been a pleasure working with you for all these years! Great advice for anyone entering the workforce.

  2. We are grateful for your parents’ guidance as well! You inspire me to learn more and be more adaptive in my own position. It is a real treat to work with you, Leila!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *