In alignment with the company’s core philosophy of ‘Kyosei’, meaning living and working together for the common good, Canon will continue its ‘Women in Sales’ programme for the second year in a row, in its endeavour to empower young women.
The initiative reinforces Canon’s commitment to gender-equality, emphasising an enhanced need for female representation in sales through its year-long programme, centering internship and mentorship opportunities for young women in the Middle East and Turkey.
Canon Middle East and Turkey (CMET) announced the second-year continuation of its ‘Women in Sales’ programme, aligned to addressing the growing need for women representation in sales management by empowering them through dedicated internship and mentorship opportunities designed to advance their skills and knowledge.
The women-only initiative was rolled out during the International Women’s Month 2022, with the objective to identify 10 fresh graduates and provide them with skill-enhancing opportunities such as module-based training, mentor meetings, and blended/experiential learning from across various regions in the Middle East and Turkey. The selected participants were offered a year-long holistic training with the opportunity to be employed full-time by Canon. As a successful outcome of the programme, seven out of the 10 women were offered full-time employment at Canon while the others were supported in embarking on their career journey in sales. Out of the seven chosen to join Canon, three were from Turkey, two from Saudi Arabia, and one each from Kenya and the UAE.
Key to Progress: Equal Amplification of Opportunities
As an extension of Canon’s overarching guiding principle of ‘Kyosei’, the 2023 ‘Women in Sales’ programme will focus primarily on gender- inclusivity and amplification of equal opportunities for men and women alike. Given the lack of female-led roles in sales across the industry, the initiative will drive progressive opportunities for women allowing them to hone their skills. The 2023 programme will again invite young, fresh graduate women to engage and learn, however with an augmented goal of targeting 17 full-time positions across Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Kenya, Egypt, and Ivory Coast.
“Women empowerment has always been a priority for Canon, and it is reflected through our various endeavours that are designed with the intent to support this cause. The overwhelming response received during last year convinced us that we need to continue on this progressive path of empowerment and inclusivity. We are delighted to see that we exceeded our initial goal of converting 50% of the selected women into full-time employees, which proves that more women need to come forward and be supported in their sales careers. Celebrating the success of last year, we are now setting our eyes on 2023 with heightened goals,” says Veronica Juul-Nyholm, HR Director, Canon Middle East, Central North Africa, and Turkey.
Educate, Empower, and Excel
The launch of the ‘Women in Sales’ initiative was lauded by the managing director of the company and has also been awarded for its people-centric approach in alignment with the company’s core beliefs. Beginning in February 2022, 10 women participants namely Rahaf Alharbi, Roba Moafa, and Fatima Alamer from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Sila Ucar, Billur Konukcu, and Sena Bayram from Istanbul, Turkey; Ajuma Gabriel from Lagos, Nigeria; Hind Abdoudaime from Casablanca, Morocco; Scholarstica Ochieng from Nairobi, Kenya; and Shahnaz Bhandari from Dubai, the UAE, were invited to become part of the ‘Women in Sales’ programme. The first phase of the programme focused on education, the second on the execution aspect of learning, and the third on the certification and onboarding of successful participants as permanent Canon employees.
“It has been an absolute pleasure and honour to join Canon full-time as I was seeking this thriving professional environment where I could be part of a large organisation and yet feel that my voice is heard. I believe you are always learning and making mistakes, but to be surrounded by people that allow you to do so while developing and learning is what makes the difference, and I could not have asked for a better setting than what we have at Canon,” says Rahaf Alharbi, who joined as Sales Account Manager.
Another participant, Shahnaz Bhandari, who joined Canon Dubai as Channel Specialist says, “To be guided and mentored by a company like Canon in itself was a really big accomplishment for me, I knew this was the start of something great. During my training period, we were not only taught a business-related curriculum, but also individual growth aspects such as handling rejection, which encompasses all attributes of learning and gives it a holistic approach, which is truly hard to find.”
A Stepping Stone to Success
Announcing the continuation of its ‘Women in Sales’ programme for 2023, Canon envisions celebrating the International Women’s Day by providing women with a platform that acts as a stepping stone for success in their sales careers. Last year’s 12-month programme was divided into two parts, the training programme, and the on-the-job experience. Each participant was also assigned a mentor to ensure support and guidance.
“During my internship as part of the ‘Women in Sales’ programme, I was able to pick up so many skills that are today helping me in my role at Canon. This is a really good foundation that not everyone has access to; it is also a targeted way to support the individual in their career growth and so it’s beneficial for the employee and the company. Additionally, the company atmosphere puts you at ease and makes you feel part of one giant family,” remarks Roba Moafa, a previous participant and now, Solutions/Accounts Manager at Canon.
Another former participant Sıla Uçar, who is currently Customer Specialist at Canon, says, “Joining Canon full-time as a Customer Specialist really opened various avenues of learning and development for me. Visiting new customers and building relationships from scratch was a rope I had not climbed before, but I got to work on this exciting challenge with Canon, and it’s exactly the kind of all-encompassing experience Canon offers. I also really enjoy working with my colleagues who have a ‘grow as you learn’ mindset that is essential for all-round growth.”
The selected participants also received an opportunity to be part of a meet and greet event and conferences held in Dubai to align with the company’s sales objectives. They were also recognised by company heads and co-workers for their contributions towards various company events. The 2022 ‘Women in Sales’ programme culminated in a graduation ceremony that honoured the efforts of all participants in the presence of Canon’s senior leadership team.