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March 21, 2024

Women in Operations: Spotlight on women at Intelcom’s Headquarters

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International Women's Day 2024 brings forth the high-impact theme of "Invest in women: Accelerate progress." This year, we are excited to bring you a series highlighting the innovative work of some of the incredible women helping to accelerate operational progress in our organization. At Intelcom, we are proud to have a diverse and inclusive team in every facet of our operations to drive us forward.

In this second instalment, we are putting the spotlight on some of the women working at Intelcom’s headquarters. Read on to learn more about what it means to be at the centre of Intelcom's operations and what roles in our corporate environment entail. This article features:

  • Director of Operational and Technology Platforms, Doaa Elmasry;
  • Continuous Improvement Specialist, Tina Maria Abi-Aad; and
  • Operations Business Analyst, Nezha Sakouid

What inspired you to pursue a career in tech and logistics?

DOAA: "I stumbled upon the path because I knew myself. I learned what I liked and what I was really good at. I wanted to be able to spend a lot of time speaking to people, doing interviews, shadowing, learning what they do, improving methodology, and then presenting that to a tech team that could convert it into a new process. That's how it started."

TINA MARIA: "I went to school for an industrial engineering degree. I learned a lot about supply chain during my studies. Since e-commerce trends are changing, there are a lot of challenges that come with the logistics industry, and I love a challenge. The whole field is ever-growing, and you must be forward-thinking to survive. The combination of tech and logistics at Intelcom was what drew me to the company."

NEZHA: "I decided to be an industrial engineer when I was 15. Watching my father's work in manufacturing – taking raw materials and turning them into functional pieces -- inspired me. I started school in industrial engineering and then pursued a master's specializing in the optimization of systems. Here, you can see how technology makes a real and tangible change in people's lives. Tech and logistics have a perfect blend of hard and soft skills, allowing me to be analytical while managing a team. It merges two things that I really like."

Were there any challenges you felt you faced as a woman in the industry, and how did you overcome them?

DOAA: "When I first started in the industry at a previous organization, I was asked in an interview if I would feel intimidated by a room full of men. I was told I was too soft and needed to work on that. But being soft was precisely what made it easier for me to get my message across and to be able to speak to rooms full of men. I have a natural inclination for active listening, which meant better communication and better understanding of the issues, problems, and their limitations. Therefore, I was giving them solutions that worked for them. I’ve been in this industry for about 12 years now, so a long time has passed since questions like that would be asked."

TINA MARIA: "I think facing challenges as a woman in this field is normal, especially since it's very male-dominated. I faced the occasional stereotype or bias. I've learned to overcome them by trying to arm myself with knowledge and continuous learning, and I try to showcase my skills and let my work speak for itself. I make sure I show my value through my work, ask questions and make sure I have allies in the work field, men or women."

NEZHA: "I've worked in Europe, North America, and Africa, which all have very different systems and cultures, yet I always had challenges being a woman. As far back as engineering school, I noticed it. With 70 people in a classroom, we'd be five girls. The biggest challenge was that taking up space was intimidating, even though it was a legitimate space. With no female representation, I felt nervous. When you see someone like you having done something before, you have more trust and confidence to go and do it yourself. It's a bit funny because I was intimidated, but at the same time, I'm excited to be setting an example for women and showing them, they can do it too!"

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Since e-commerce trends are changing, there are a lot of challenges that come with the logistics industry, and I love a challenge. The whole field is ever-growing, and you must be forward-thinking to survive. The combination of tech and logistics at Intelcom was what drew me to the company.

Tina Maria Abi-Aad

Continuous Improvement Specialist

What is a career highlight you've had while working at Intelcom?

DOAA: "There are two, I would say, that stand out above everything else. One of them was launching the automated sorter at Mississauga. That was the number one most challenging project I have ever worked on. At this point, it's only available in Mississauga and Anjou, but the plan is to introduce it elsewhere across the organization and other stations that are also central to our middle-mile operations. Another highlight is an initiative that my boss brought up. We're focusing on building the Intelcom brand, specifically at universities, and recruiting new talent. One of the things that we've been doing is going to universities and lecturing or hosting workshops. I've loved that!"

TINA MARIA: "One of the highlights for me was to create a peak season contingency plan at the station where I was working to ensure no matter what, we would still be able to process the volume and deliver on customer promises and consumer expectations. I put in place a contingency plan for the station to process the same (or similar) volume manually rather than in an automated way. It was a success!"

NEZHA: "Getting to speak for my team in a feature like this is a big highlight for me! Another thing was representing Intelcom at a conference at Concordia University to talk about supply chain stability and sustainability. I was so proud to share something so important to me. My kiosk was packed with female students pursuing education similar to mine who were looking to talk about their projects, aspirations, and career goals. I'll also add that it's a huge honour to work for a female leader – my first time reporting to another woman!"

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with women interested in pursuing a similar role to yours?

DOAA: "It starts with knowing yourself, knowing who you are, what you're good at, and what you truly enjoy doing. Expose yourself to many different roles. I definitely would like to see more women in the industry! More women at an executive level. Women offer fascinating perspectives on things, and I think a room changes when there is a woman in the room. Adding a woman to any management team or in any meeting changes the dynamic of the meeting, as well as the outcomes and the results."

TINA MARIA: "Don't be intimidated by the facade that this industry is male-dominant and that there is no place for women – because there is! Also, embrace continuous learning because, as I mentioned before, there will be many challenges and letting your work speak for itself will only help you move forward in your career. Finally, build strong relationships and allies in your organization and the industry."

NEZHA: "The first thing is passion: be passionate about what you are doing. If you love what you're doing, you want to do it no matter what. Be invested in what you're doing and prioritize your career. Study the right things. Put your time and energy into building a career you're proud of."