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EMPOWER AND ELEVATE: CANON MIDDLE-EAST AND TURKEY ANNOUNCE THE SECOND LEG OF ITS GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT FOCUSED INITIATIVE ‘WOMEN IN SALES’ PROGRAMME

  • 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 Middle East and Turkey.

Canon Middle East and Turkey 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 International Women’s Month last year in 2022, with the objective to identify 10 fresh-graduate women and provide them with skill-enhancing opportunities such as module-based training, mentor meetings, and blended/experiential learnings from across various regions in 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, 7 out of 10 women were offered full-time employment at Canon while various others were supported in embarking on their career journey in sales. Out of the seven women who went on to pursue full-time roles with Canon, three were chosen from Turkey, two from Saudi Arabia, one from Kenya, and one from UAE.

KEY TO PROGRESS – EQUAL AMPLIFICATION OF OPPORTUNITIES

As an extension of Canon’s overarching guiding principle of ‘Kyosei’, meaning living and working together for the common good, 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, 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, Ruba Moafa, and Fatima Alamer from Riyadh – Saudi Arabia, Sila Ucar, Billur Konukcu, and Senab Bayram from Istanbul – Turkey, Ajuma Gabriel from Lagos – Nigeria, Hind Abdoudaime from Casablanca – Morocco, Scholarstica Ochieng from Nairobi – Kenya, and Shahnaz Bhandari from Dubai – 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,” said Rahaf Alharbi from Saudi Arabia, one of the participants of Canon’s ‘Women in Sales’ programme who joined the company permanently as a Sales Account Manager.

Another participant, Shahnaz Bhandari, who joined Canon Dubai as Channel Specialist said, “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 FOR SUCCESS

Announcing the continuation of its ‘Women in Sales’ programme for 2023, Canon envisions celebrating this 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 for every woman that participated in the programme. 

“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 so it’s beneficial for the employee and the company. Additionally, the Canon atmosphere puts you at a certain ease and makes you feel like you are part of one giant family,” remarked Ruba Moafa, from Riyadh, previous participant and now, Solutions/Accounts Manager at Canon.

Selected participants from the programme also received an opportunity to be part of meet and greets, as well as conferences in Dubai to align with the company’s greater women in sales objective. The women participants were also recognised by fellow company leaders and colleagues for their contribution towards different company events, such as during their diversity, equity, and inclusion presentation during the Human Resources Learning and Development Conference. 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.

“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,” said Sıla Uçar from Turkey, previous participant and now, Customer Specialist at Canon.

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