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  • Writer's pictureTulay Sengul

From Tradition to Transformation: An Encounter with Ruqaiyah Jaffery

Updated: Jul 10

Welcome to the ''Inspiring Women'' series, a collection of stories celebrating women's tenacity, resilience, and brilliance across various walks of life. From fighting societal norms to breaking glass ceilings, each story in this series presents a unique journey of courage, determination, and triumph against all odds.

Kicking off our first chapter, we meet the infectious Ruqaiyah Jaffery - Director of Corporate Marketing at Salesforce UKI and a woman with boundless energy who embodies determination. It is a tale of resilience, reminding us how power lies in unity and the importance of diversity at work... that strength comes from being different.

The 'Inspiring Women' series was launched to highlight women such as Ruqaiyah who, regardless of their background have made a substantial impact in their line of work. These women have defied traditional expectations, overcome barriers and motivated others with their ability to break the mould. This series is a compendium of the stories of women who have moved through life and come out even more determined to find themselves.

Stay tuned for our next blog, where we will continue discovering inspiring stories of women writing their destinies, one day at a time.

As a young girl growing up in the dual landscape of modern and traditional Turkey, I had my share of trials, rights, wrongs, and the ever-present mansplaining that comes with being a woman in a society steeped in deep-rooted customs.

In my journey, numerous inspiring women crossed paths with me, bolstering my resolve and shaping my perspective. Their stories of resilience and determination reinforced my belief in the power that lies within each of us to shape our destinies. This belief fuelled my decision to step out of my comfort zone, leave my established career in Turkey's Ministry of Treasury and Finance, and embark on a challenging journey of setting up JJS in the UK. The past four years have been the most demanding and rewarding time of my life. The trials, tribulations, and triumphs I experienced have led me here today, more committed and inspired than ever before.

In the face of trials and tribulations, I found strength in the stories of other women. The importance of having role models, women who inspire us and who tell us that we can overcome, can never be overstated. They are the reason why I left my comfort zone and stepped into the world of entrepreneurship. And today, I am thrilled to have crossed paths with another woman who inspires me - Ruqaiyah Jaffery.

WOMENAintech Opening Keynote with Ruqaiyah Jaffery
WOMENAintech Opening Keynote with Ruqaiyah Jaffery at Salesforce Tower

Ruqaiyah is an accomplished figure in Corporate Marketing. Her speech at Salesforce for the 'Women of MENA in Tech' event was a testament to her perseverance and dedication. She stressed on the power of unity, saying, "Women are strong when they get together." A sentiment that rings true for every woman navigating her way in the world.

Living and working in the Middle East, Ruqaiyah faced her fair share of gender inequalities. She was often the only woman in the room, and the societal perception of her role was limited to that of a secretary. She was surrounded by men who held positions of power, an illustration of the gender imbalance in workplaces. But Ruqaiyah didn't let these experiences deter her. She stood her ground and transformed them into lessons of strength and resilience. She is a beacon of inspiration, a living testament to the phrase, "Together, we are strong."

Ruqaiyah's work at Salesforce UKI, under the leadership of Zahra Bahrololoumi, is pioneering change in the tech industry. Salesforce's five pillars - Trust, Customer Success, Innovation, Equality, and Sustainability - are transforming the perception and role of women in technology. At Salesforce, diversity and inclusivity are not just buzzwords but deeply ingrained in the work culture. It is a place where unique perspectives are cherished and equal opportunities are provided, leading to more robust and well-rounded solutions.

The meeting with Ruqaiyah was meaningful, where we exchanged stories and drew inspiration from each other's experiences. It's encounters like these that make me more resolute in my mission to create a more inclusive and diverse work culture at JJS.

In the first half of my life, I faced the pressure to conform to societal norms and expectations. However, the second half has been about embracing differences, creating a world where diverse ideas are appreciated, empowered, and supported. It's a paradigm shift, a transformation from being restricted to being celebrated for being different. Meeting inspirational women like Ruqaiyah fuels this transformation and fortifies my resolve to contribute to the cause of gender equality and women empowerment.

Ruqaiyah's story is a testament to how resilience and determination can break glass ceilings, and it's these stories that will continue to inspire girls worldwide to be whatever they want to be. Together, we are indeed stronger!

Tulay Sengul | Founder, MD JJS  -  Ruqaiyah Jaffery |  Head and Director of Corporate Marketing Salesforce UKI
Tulay Sengul | Founder, MD JJS - Ruqaiyah Jaffery | Head and Director of Corporate Marketing Salesforce UKI


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