In memory of Firdaus Shariff | Alex of Arabia’s blog

Firdaus was an exemplary marketing professional, one of the best I’ve worked with

Last Friday morning I received several messages about my former boss. And I still have trouble believing them. I keep expecting Firdaus Shariff to post something revealing on social media or share a message about what the marketing team is up to. Firdaus was my former boss and VP Middle East and Africa for Marketing, Communications and Digital Customer Experience at Schneider Electric. I knew her from her days at Cisco when she worked with my wife. My wife is a difficult woman to impress, and yet she always had a kind word to say about Firdaus and her abilities.

Firdaus has been in the industry for two decades, first at Cisco, then at SAP and finally at Schneider Electric. She strived to excel and she always pushed the team to do more. At the same time, she believed that marketing should be both creative and fun; She wanted us to have fun with what we do and let our imaginations run wild. Firdaus didn’t settle for average or the mundane, and many of the campaigns she’s managed have not only been impactful, but also some of the most engaging work I’ve seen (and all in a B2B setting).

She also had her eye on the future, investing heavily in technology to improve both how marketing works and how function is measured. Firdaus was always someone to support and encourage and was a dream to work with in many ways. She would work with you to set the goals, give you what you needed (well, I’ll admit some things I would ask for), and then let you go. Firdaus had an uncanny and rare ability to understand the various functions in her area of ​​responsibility, including communications. While she had worked in a pure communications role, she had a flair for what could be done, including with paid media. And she also had a sense of industry direction, joining SAP when the software industry was taking off and then making the leap to Schneider Electric, a company dedicated to sustainability.

It’s easy to understate how unique Firdaus was. She was a marketer in her prime who could have done anything she wanted and would succeed in whatever she set out to do. She was able to blend creativity with technology and lead her team to literally make the impossible possible. And she was devoted to her family—we often shared stories about our girls, who were both the same age.

Firdaus is a prime example of what industry in our region so urgently needs. To me, that is her legacy, an example of what we should strive for both as individuals and as an industry. To you, Firdaus, to everything you have achieved and what you have stood for.

Firdaus with the team at the beginning of the year