Girls in Charge is all about being in charge of your career, so for our latest spotlight series we’ve been hearing from some amazing women in business about their career journeys so far.
Serena Soobadoo is a 27-year-old female leader based in London. She is currently the Regional Lead of London & the South East at the B-Corp Too Good To Go which is the world's largest food waste saving app. Here's how our interview with Serena went...
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I am one of (if not the most) organised people I know, but surprisingly I never sat down to plan my career. After graduating and taking some time out to save up and travel, I essentially fell into the field I am now in. Like most people looking for their first full-time role in London, I joined a recruitment agency who sent me along to a graduate recruitment day along with 20 other potential candidates, with me attending thinking it would be good practice and if anything a nice day out in the city. I’m not sure I was even fully aware that this would be for a sales role until I arrived and in the full swing of the day, but I was invited back for a final interview and shortly after offered the job.
As the majority of salespeople will probably tell you, it was not a role I initially imagined to stay in for a prolonged period of time. I had worked in a fundraising call centre whilst at university so did have some experience of selling over the phone, and to my surprise I ended up being successful in my new job as a Business Consultant, finishing my probation 3 months early, getting promoted swiftly and being awarded the Most Valuable Addition to the Company in 2019.
Whilst I did not continue my career at this company, it did allow me to gain a new position in the Sales team at the food waste saving app Too Good To Go where I have worked since 2021. In the last 2 years since joining as a salesperson, I have been promoted to London Team Lead and more recently Regional Lead for the entire London & South East region.
So in short, no I did not sit down and plan my career by any means but rather went with the flow, followed my strengths, interests and opportunities available to me. I can’t say for certain that I will stay within the field forever, but the unknown isn’t unsettling to me.
My main considerations are if I feel happy and fulfilled in what I am doing and basing my current career and next move based on that.
What one thing do you believe has played a vital role in your success?
Unlike what many successful business people may like to tell you, I believe a lot of my success is down to putting myself and my well being first, not allowing work to take over my life and detaching from the ‘stresses’ that a particular role may bring.
A huge value of mine is having a healthy work/life balance, this has allowed me to always stay energised, happy and motivated to log on the next day and give the job everything I can without it becoming draining or me dreading opening my laptop the next day. I have set out quite strict boundaries, always logging off at a reasonable time, not checking emails over the weekends or during annual leave.
Additionally if ever in a situation where it didn’t look like I was going to hit target or meet a deadline, I always remind myself that my sales job isn’t a life saving role so isn’t worth getting worked up or down about. If I’ve had enough sleep, got some endorphins flowing and had a good breakfast I know I’m ready for the day and be the best version of me, which has resulted in a young but successful career so far.
What are you most proud of and why?
I am simply proud of where I am now compared to 5 years ago. I am very early on in my career but feel like I have come a long way in a short space of time. 5 years ago, I was working as a receptionist at my old secondary school (a job that my mum who also works at the school got me) on a just above minimum wage salary and little opportunity for career progression.
Since then, along with being awarded Most Valuable Addition to the Company in 2019 at my first job, and being promoted twice at Too Good To Go, I am proud to be able to be in a position where I can now thank my parents and in various ways repay them for everything they provided for me growing up all as a result of my own hard work and achievements. This fills me with excitement of what the next 5 years brings and where I will be then, hopefully looking back at my current self feeling this same level of accomplishment and growth.
Self growth is the best kind of growth! If you enjoyed this, be sure to follow us as we’ll be featuring more inspiring women in our spotlight series and on our LinkedIn channel.