Alumni Profile

Sayma Hai, a York alumnus

Sayma Hai

Degree: Bachelor of Arts (Business & Society)
Graduated: 2005
Current Position: HR Representative, Bayer

Current Career: HR Representative - In my current role as an HR Representative at Bayer, I am a project manager for various Talent Management initiatives. I create and implement new and exciting programs for our business such as a career development program, diversity initiatives, benefits and compensation communication. An important aspect of my role is keeping up to date with latest trends in HR as well as maintaining a strong professional network.

Why I think I'm living a great life: I have a wonderful support network of family, friends, mentors and colleagues. I love creating and developing new and meaningful initiatives at work. I love working for a company whose values and personality are a fit for me. I have the flexibility and opportunity to set and accomplish challenging goals in all areas of my life. For example, I had recently volunteered for a five week development project in Costa Rica where I helped build a computer classroom for a local school. I taught English, learnt Spanish and facilitated seminars on nutrition and sexual health. A project like this was a distant dream a few years ago, and I now have the flexibility and fortune of having a workplace and support network that allows me to live my dream.

How I got here: After graduation, I worked at York University in various student leadership development initiatives. I quickly discovered my passion for coaching and helping people develop their strengths and talent. I also enjoyed making a difference. I decided a career in HR would be a great fit. I enrolled in the BHRM program through Atkinson. I interviewed HR professionals across different industries. When an opportunity at Bayer came up, I took it.

What I did when I felt unsure/lost about my career direction: After graduating with my Business and Society degree I was unsure where to go next. Luckily, my involvement in extra-curricular activities led to my first full-time job before I even graduated. The three things that help me find focus are:

  1. Continuous learning and upgrading my skills.
  2. Being open to various experiences and willing to take calculated risks.
  3. Connecting with people to establish a professional network.

I left a full-time job at York to take a six-month HR internship at Bayer. I worked hard and took advice from my mentors to help me set my career forward from then on.

Thing that made the biggest difference: My mentors. Fortunately, I had the support and encouragement from mentors who shared their insights, experiences and helped me translate the business world into something I could understand, relate to and thrive in.

How I'm using my degree in my career: Human Resources is a very applied field, much of what you do you learn on the job. My degree helped me with the basic knowledge and understanding. More importantly, being involved in different academic projects and extracurricular activities helped me develop my critical thinking, problem solving, communication and leadership skills. I draw on my learning and experiences even now in my everyday work.

What I've learned: Get involved in as many applied experiences as you can. The more skills you have to your repertoire the more valuable you will be to any organization. Connect with people with a genuine interest in helping each other. Remember you get back what you put in. Above all, have fun and be yourself!