by Julia Brown
February 20, 2023
Cecile Saidi has been the University Relations Officer for Golden Key’s Asia Pacific region for over three years. Her position allows her to help improve the quality of Golden Key chapters and committees.
Saidi has been a Golden Key member since 2016. Saidi was heavily involved with her chapter by serving as the public relations officer for two years.
Saidi said, “Golden Key played a huge role in helping me develop personally and professionally, as I was a very shy student who struggled to look for what I needed and go for it once I found it. Golden Key gave me this.”
Needless to say, when the opportunity to work for Golden Key presented itself, Saidi jumped on it.
Saidi explained that the most beneficial opportunity Golden Key offers its members serving on a committee is the opportunity to develop project ideas and get support to deliver them. Every committee puts together an annual plan.
With the help of their university relations officer from Golden Key, the committee receives funding to support their project and put it into action. Saidi said, “this is amazing, especially for student members, as it’s very difficult to come by an opportunity like this elsewhere.”
Saidi described how during the COVID-19 pandemic, Golden Key committees had a hard time because they could not hold events and meetings in person.
“In response, we edited their chapter standing sheet, removing anything that would be difficult or impossible to do in person,” said Saidi. “I was very proud of the fact that we cared about our committees and made sure they felt safe and supported during this difficult time.”
Saidi’s top advice for new members is to enjoy what GK has to offer and serve on the committee of your Golden Key chapter. She said, “as a member, you get to interact with Golden Key by enjoying the benefits it has to offer.”
If a member chooses to serve on a committee, they have the opportunity to see Golden Key on a personal level. “You get a great insight into Golden Key and see what goes on behind the scenes,” said Saidi. “If you also hope to work for Golden Key in the future, serving on a committee gives you insight into when opportunities arise.”
The best career advice Saidi has ever received was to have a plan. “Be this a five-year or ten-year plan,” she said. “Decide, very early on, what you hope to achieve with your career, and where you wish your career to take you.”
Said continued explaining that once a plan has been created, it should be kept in mind with every career decision, “ensuring you are always moving towards your long-term goal.”
“Failing to plan is planning to fail,” Saidi said. “I learned this at a Golden Key conference.”
Saidi said that she really appreciates the diversity at Golden Key’s Asia Pacific office. “Although we are currently all women,” Saidi continued. “One is an Anglo-Saxon Australian, another a Portuguese Australian, another a Chinese Australian, and I am an African Australian.”
In Saidi’s view, leaders and managers do not have the same traits. She elaborated on the role of a manager, noting that one must be able to get things done and make sure that others do the same by the deadline. A good manager ensures everyone is doing their part and has what they need to succeed.
Saidi said that leaders differ from managers because they get to know the people behind the roles. Their aims and objectives, and their long-term personal and professional goals, so cultivate solid human connections with their team.
Once great leaders have this information, said Saidi, they can create an environment where their team members’ hopes and aspirations may flourish, bringing them closer to achieving their dreams and long-term objectives on both the individual and organizational levels.
Saidi thinks that adapting to your environment is the best talent to have in life. Saidi said, “with this skill, you can live and work anywhere in the world.
Saidi says the human mind inspires her. “Looking around me and knowing that everything that I see that is not nature is a result of the human mind,” she said.
“From a spoon, soap, and clothes to airplanes, phones, and even vaccines. These are all consequences of a human being seeing a problem, thinking, and finding a solution to a problem, said Saidi. “The human mind is most inspiring—it gives me faith that I can and will achieve anything I put my mind to!”
Saidi recently read the book, How to Give: An Ancient Guide to Giving and Receiving (Ancient Wisdom for Modern Readers) by James S. Romm. “It is a great read,” she said. “I highly recommend it.”