Your Interview Anissa Abbou


Anissa Abbou

How long have you been involved in the lighting industry in total?

I been involved now for more than 15 years in the lighting industry, in different disciplines like marketing, product management, specifications in different channels, Professional like OEM business, Specifiers, distribution and consumer channels as well.

Have you always been involved in the manufacturing side or have you come from another part of the industry?

Always on manufacturing side but more on the commercial side as focus areas.

Do you feel that there is a wider diversity in sales, manufacturing and marketing over the last 20 years?

In sales I see the transformation is not happening fast enough more male domination still. Though I see more women moving to management role and on the manufacturing side etc.

But still I think transformation is not where it should be, huge improvement done in corporate organisations to improve the % of female in different roles. Though sales is still on the shy side.

What reasons do you think there are so few women working for manufacturing companies? What obstacles do women come up against?

Nowadays, I see more and more, the scope which was done by 3 people is now managed by one person, huge pressure on working hours and stress where I think for women is a challenge to balance work and private (family etc). In addition, I feel the pressure on woman is higher to perform then our men colleagues. This mainly women take responsibility to the max and cannot accept lower performance and want to excel in all they touch. Men are better actors than us women ��

How do you think more women can be encouraged into this side of the lighting industry? What can manufactures do to encourage a diversity of applicants for roles in sales and product development for example?

Very important question but as well very delicate one, I believe we women are our own devils advocate and we want to do outstanding private as well as in our jobs. This becomes too stressful.

Companies should be more flexible in working hours, working from home, accept more women in leadership roles, this will attract more female in the workplace. In addition we need to manage BIAS, unconscious bias from male and female. Healthy policy to cover family issues, kids are not woman issue but a social one. 

What are the positives of working for a manufacturer? What are the negatives?

Manufacturer like corporate organisation are more mature and have better understanding of a balanced work place (diversity) and want to keep the balance business  and private life, to accept people as they are and supportive leadership etc.
Career plans much more visible etc.

Negative short term performance is key, which today does not give sufficient time for somebody to shine especially women.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The challenges today are:
Communication barriers – culture – women are communicate differently than men (this is not adhered to in the work place)
Stereotypes and prejudice
Less trust & Productivity

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