Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast

Sabra Saleh – Cultural Melting Pot

November 03, 2021 Marie Gervais Season 4 Episode 21
Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast
Sabra Saleh – Cultural Melting Pot
Show Notes

Bio for Sabra Saleh 

Sabra Saleh is a Communications/Public Affairs Specialist with Syncrude Canada Ltd.

Episode highlight

As a multilingual African-Arab, Sabra Saleh has always assimilated into the cultural groups, wherever she went. Listen in on how she establishes relationships using language and curiosity to support her.

Links

Email: [email protected] 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabramsaleh/

Twitter: @sabrasaleh


Quotes

“This is how I can be a part of any group - by connecting to certain people with language.”

“What would we need to do as an organization so you can come as your whole self to work?”


Takeaways

Childhood Incidents

When Sabra was in Grade 4 in Abu Dhabi, she used her language skills to make friends with groups of students who spoke different languages. 

She was encouraged by her mother to accept her hair texture as representative of the ethnic mixes in her blood and wear it with pride. 

Influential Groups 

From her African and Arab cultures, Sabra has learnt a sense of community and hospitality, making people feel welcome, comfortable, and approachable, both personally and professionally.

Her profession of communications has taught her patience towards changing circumstances and mistakes, and given her the flexibility to adapt when needed. 

Temperament and Personality Influences

Sabra claims that she has always shown patience and understanding in her personal and professional life, but that her politeness and courtesy often gets misunderstood as diplomacy. 

Cultural Epiphanies

When Sabra was at university in the USA, she was shocked that a student ordered a pizza in the common room, ate it by himself, and then tried selling the leftover slices for a dollar each. 

She also struggles to address older adults by their first names in North America, something considered disrespectful in her culture.

Advice to an Employer 

Sabra places value on getting to know people and understanding where they come from and emphasizes the importance of casual conversations which help dispel stereotypes. 

More Great Insights! 

Sabra recommends asking newcomers questions about their backgrounds to help them bring their whole selves to work. As a Muslim woman, the first thing she does when she joins a new job is inquiring about spaces to pray. Her religion has also taught her that “you help whoever you can regardless of who they are - don’t discriminate groups.”

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