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Marketing division head and single mother paving way for women in engineering sector

IN this challenging, male-dominated landscape, breaking through barriers requires exceptional determination. Among those who rise to the challenge, one who stands out is engineering firm Rosen Asia Pacific head of marketing Noor Alia Mohd Anif.

She is not only making waves professionally but is also a successful single mother and trailblazer, actively shattering the glass ceilings that have long confined women professionals in these sectors.

With over 17 years experience in the industry, Alia navigates the traditionally male-dominated sector with a unique blend of grace and determination.

According to the 2023 Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum, there are glaring disparities in Malaysia’s engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors. A significant gap between men and women is evident, with 72.9% of graduates being male, leaving only 27.1% as female contributors.

Alia’s story is one of breaking stereotypes and carving out a path for women with aspirations for leadership roles. She is not just rewriting the script, she is paving the way for others to follow suit.

In an interview with theSun, Alia discusses the intricate details of her career milestones and transformative experiences that shaped her extraordinary journey.

How have you built your career over the past 17 years?

Being in marketing and communications before the rise of the digital age has given me vast experience and opportunities to be who I am today.

The shift from traditional to digital work methods has had a profound impact on my career. I have worked in a variety of areas, including the legal field, healthcare, aviation and maritime, as well as nine years in engineering and public safety.

The most significant turning points in my professional life have been transitioning from a traditional to a 360-degree marketing strategy, which includes both digital and traditional marketing combined to have a significant impact on the overall strategy.

Based on my experience, I believe that establishing a successful career in any industry requires determination and self-belief. Learning never stops because change is unavoidable.

Another way to advance your career is through a mentorship programme. A mentor can provide you with a different perspective based on their extensive experience, and collaboration is also important in creating a successful path for your career. Active listening is essential, be assertive but humble. Those are the keys to your success.

$!Alia attributes the stability in her life to her extensive support group that includes her boss, colleagues, family members and close friends.

How do you navigate the balance between your work and being a single mother?

Each day presents unique challenges in my life. I strive to give it my all every day. Like other mothers in the world, I want to give my son the best life possible while balancing my passion for my career.

Thank God, I have a solid support network to help me manage my everyday responsibilities as a mother and a daughter while also pursuing my interests at work.

I am thankful to have a healthy co-parenting life with my son’s dad, an understanding boss, great colleagues, a lineup of compassionate teachers for my son, supportive parents, family members and close friends who will always be my greatest cheerleaders. I could not be at this stage without their encouragement and empathy.

Discuss your dedication to empowering your female colleagues through mentorship and community?

In my experience, an informal manner is the most effective when dealing with new members of any organisation. My experience at Rosen has taught me how to collaborate and grow professionally while working with the next generation.

The engineering field can be difficult. I used to casually greet interns and newcomers. Trust is built by honestly getting to know someone, listening without judgment and understanding their thought processes. After all, trust is the foundation of all relationships, including mentoring.

I have also always believed in “Women Empower Women”. Our strength as women is undeniable. To achieve our goals, we need the full support of those around us.

Our quarterly luncheons, daily workouts after work and get-togethers have had a significant, positive impact on women in this company.

These activities provide an opportunity to gather, network and form a supportive community. It also serves as an “ice-breaking” session to foster closer bonds and a more productive workplace.

What are your thoughts on creating opportunities for women in male-dominated industries?

Establishing a relationship and cooperation between both genders is critical to providing women with opportunities to succeed in a male-dominated field. Throughout my career, I have always held this belief.

In the last nine years, my leader recognised my abilities and gave me many opportunities and support to excel in the marketing department for the region. Hence, to create opportunities for women in male-dominated industries, I believe they must be trusted and given opportunities.

I always use the Vuca leadership principle, which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This principle has always taught me that in order to inspire the next generation of female leaders, a female leader in a male-dominated industry must navigate change with empathy, adaptability and trust.

I do not believe in micromanaging. I trust the team to do their job, and we work as a team. After all, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.