Meet Ms.Susan Hunter, CEO of APM Terminals, Bahrain

Ms.Susan Hunter, CEO of APM Terminals, Bahrain
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I started working when I was 12. My first job was stuffing shelves in the local grocery shop and it led to a sequence of part-time jobs. I gradually took up work at a contact center where I quickly got into a role leading a team of 12 people. Once I had my children, I took on a part-time job where a situation came up when an executive was on leave and the business really didn’t know what they were doing without him. I just couldn’t watch this happen and spoke to the leader, who eventually handed me the role itself. That was a big turning point in my career, and I’m grateful to her for recognizing my capability because I wouldn’t ever have applied for that job otherwise.

Work-life balance for me is a decision that I choose to make every day as there are new challenges at home and work. I always say, never under prioritize your life. I believe it is better to support your team to be healthy and holistic rather than allowing them to work until the breaking point. On the other hand, as a parent, I’ve had to learn to let go of guilt and accept that my kids don’t need me all the time. Quality time and connection with children is what matters – whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a working one.

As a leader all decisions you make impact people’s lives. Earlier, I used to find that tough but I’ve learned to be better by facing the truth of what my decision means – for my team, my employees or my shareholders. I believe that, at the end of the day, it comes down to making a conscious decision about what kind of leader you want to be.

My advice to young women would be – say yes to challenges and then work something out. We are constantly trying to make everything perfect – don’t do that. It might look impossible on paper, but the answers are almost always right there. Many young women know what they want and are ambitious but they’re embarrassed to say it. Say it out loud and start working towards it.


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