INSPIRASEE OF THE MONTH
NUR SYAMIMI BINTI SOFFRIANA
Written by: 18B0125, ‘Izzati Hanani binti Khairul Shaffarani (Public Relations Officer, Executive of Media and Public Relation Officer)
Syamimi Soffriana, the Leadership Inspirasee nominee for April, started her journey as a leader in 2017. Involving herself in leadership activities has given her a sense of satisfaction, gratefulness, and, most importantly, happiness. Throughout her journey as a leader, she was able to learn the spectrum of teamwork; appreciating the sense of being united not only as a community but also as a family. It taught her the road to being a beneficial person to someone in her lifetime.
Her intentions of becoming a leader built up when she started joining camps under Al Huffaz Leaders and ‘Bukan Belia Biasa’, a camp which was facilitated by Belia Masjid Ash-Shaliheen. In addition to that, she also enjoyed joining Islamic youth camps where she was able to shape her spiritual belief. She believes in the expression that if you help others, kindness will be returned
to you in the near future. Another expression that enlightened her back from a camp was: do it for Allah and, insha Allah, He will help you back, probably not immediately but maybe in the future. She reminds herself of these beliefs even in her daily life such as when she is contributing to her family.
When she was asked what is her greatest strength as a leader, the first thing she mentioned was her straightforwardness and loud voice as it helps with delivering information and promotes effective communication. Another strength she mentioned was being organised which she harnessed the skill from her time at the Sukarelawan Belia as part of the database team. She believes that this skill aids in managing a project or event when she takes on the position of a secretary or an assistant project manager. The last strength of her that she answered was her positive mindset. Whenever one of her members is feeling down from making a mistake, she would empathise with the member and assure them that they will be able to do better in the future.
Apart from being a leader, Syamimi is also doing a home-based food business. She decided to start her business in order to support the women in her family, who are mostly housewives, for them to be able to support themselves financially. She considered this business as a 24/7 commitment and mostly focused on it in her free time. Other than the business, she is also providing people tuition classes for the subject English. She thought that, as an English Studies majoring student, she might as well use her skills for the benefit of others. On the other hand, for her personal pleasure, she loves to occasionally dine out to eat good foods.
One of the questions she received from the people around her is her capability in balancing her time, and her answer to this question will typically be: just do it. For her, she works the best when she multitasks. For example, when she is doing her business, she can work on the media, reply to customers, and pack orders all at the same time. While, in terms of leadership activities, she feels an importance in keeping a planner and setting a time slot for each activity that you want or are planning to do in a day. In her case, when she is preparing materials for her tuition class, she would limit herself to 3 hours to do it. Whether she finishes it or not, after 3 hours, she would move on to another activity. And so, she emphasised the benefits of keeping a planner to make sure that you are always in check with your daily schedule. Meanwhile, academically, she tends to start
on her assignments early. At the start of the semester, she would list the assignments and tests that she has for every module and from there, she would start ‘walking’. She would build progress day by day, month by month, so by the end of the day, she would have all of her points ready for the assignments, tests, and exams; and all she needs to do is just to arrange and rephrase the points to make it better.
She mentioned three people who she is inspired by, in regards to being a better leader. First of all, her father. Ever since she was young, she watched and observed her father who had to raise her family of 10 children. As a big family, money has always been a problem for them but her father would always sacrifice his financial status to his family. This selfless side and the deep thought of prioritising his family has always inspired Syamimi. Moreover, her father would always say “jangan kamu baik sama orang luar kalau kamu inda dapat baik sama keluarga kamu (if you will not be kind to your own family, then you cannot be kind to other people).” That expression builds even more the importance of prioritising her family for her. She believes that if one was to do a charity or donation or even just treating another person, it should start from the family first.
The second person who inspired her to be a good leader is His Majesty KDYMM. Specifically, his nature of ‘berjiwa rakyat’, his selflessness, and how he gives his people trust. How His Majesty leads his people, how he is able to make Bruneians obey him, trust him, and love him dearly is what inspires her. And last but not least, her final inspiration, as a Muslim and in Islam, would be the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). For Syamimi, the prophet’s leadership values and skills that make his followers love him is one of the points that she would love to learn. The way to make a strong bond with your members, such as how the prophet had had with his followers, the ability to make people actually follow and listen to you and, simultaneously, ensuring that they feel safe when they are with their leaders are among the characteristics of the prophet which inspire her to be a better leader.
Generally, in any events or programmes, you are bound to face problems, especially in the aspect of communication, task delegations, and plan executions. She believes that although people are able to make plans, Allah is the best planner. So, whatever the problems and outcomes that come to them, she would try to see it in a good light. From her own standpoint, one of the obstacles she faced while planning an event is the obstacles of virtual meetings. It is easy for miscommunication to happen in virtual meetings as it can be hard to focus and people tend to have a hard time expressing themselves fully through online in her opinion. Also, the lengthy virtual meetings are quite a burden for her too.
When she is leading a team, she feels a need, as a leader, to approach every member individually to ask about the problem that the members are facing. In this way, the problems can be solved quickly and a stronger bond and trust can be created between the members. For her, miscommunication can happen easily in a project where you have more than one leader. She has experienced people not knowing who to follow or which decision to follow, and in this case, she would always go to the focal person or the first leader. And in the case when two leaders have different solutions to the problem, she would advise the leaders to discuss and pick the best solution between the two.
Whenever Syamimi decides to start on something new, she is always cautious of the people she is surrounded with. She makes sure that she is working with the right circle of people and in a positive environment. Also, since events and programs can sometimes take a longer time to execute, she fears that she might not be there for her family when they need her.
In order to understand the position of a leader, she went through different types of positions. She started from below in which she volunteered as part of a registration team. Then, she slowly builds up to a facilitator activity, and then a secretary, and currently an assistant project manager. She realised from this experience, she learnt how to be a follower and as she reached higher, she came to understand how to be a better leader as she had experienced the feelings of a follower. As a result, she comes to know how to correctly handle, direct and approach a follower. She feels that a leader should experience being a follower in order to understand the feelings of being in that position, and then lead their followers.
Every experience and lessons she has had while learning, organising, participating in events have been a token of gratitude for her. She tries
to remember all of the experiences and lessons she has learnt and keep it for her lifetime. She keeps reminding herself of how much of an honour and ‘rezeki’ it is to be able to help other people and make yourself beneficial to others. One of the most memorable experiences she had was when she was doing a donation drive project in Ramadhan. The lady whose house they were visiting invited them into her house in which the lady shared her gratitude with them. The lady said: these donations might be gone in a week’s time but your kindness will last a lifetime to someone. And this sentence from the lady stayed with Syamimi and encouraged her to become better in her position.
In the conversation of how a leader can fail, Syamimi mentioned that a leader can fail when one cannot hold their anger. She believes that words can hurt others’ feelings and there was once when she was involved in a team where her ideas kept on getting rejected. She believes it is important for a leader to be open-minded and to listen to the members to be an effective and successful leader.
She has been a part of Al Huffaz Leaders since 2017. She believes the team is the one that made who she currently is, as a leader. The team’s values focus on an Islamic view rather than being a strict or serious boss. Through her experience in the team, she had the opportunity to shine in different teams and also as an assistant project manager in an upcoming project. Her ventures in Al Huffaz Leaders have also built up the confidence in herself to stand up and help the society.
For the last 2 semesters, she has been part of the religious team of bpmFASS. She remembered, before, there was a time when the religious team only had one member and during the time she registered into the religious team, the team was starting to be active. The experience she had under the religious team had been a memorable one as she was given an opportunity to be active, learn more about Islam and have a good practice of Islamic values. Moreover, from the religious team, she was able to launch a project with her team named the Mahabbah Charity. The Mahabbah Charity was held in the last Ramadhan, it serves as a medium to donate foods to kids with special needs from Pusat Ehsan. She believes the event was able to be delivered successfully thanks to the help of her seniors in the bpmFASS committee. Furthermore, the student body also taught her the work ethics, meetings, attire and all the little details that help you become a better leader.
In her family, she bears the responsibility of leading her siblings in terms of nurturing. Her father had put his belief on her that she would be able to support and feed her siblings and this made her realise the importance of having leadership skills. In a classroom or lectures, she feels that showing good examples such as actively answering questions may help the lecturers in keeping the class alive. By having someone to start the interaction, other students will feel encouraged to follow the example and
start to answer questions too. She believes this is how one leads by examples and actions.
For her, one of her greatest achievements is opening a business. As she mentioned before, her intention to open a business to help her family members. Without having a prior knowledge of opening and handling a business, she is grateful that the business is still striving. And she also mentioned that being nominated for Inspirasee of The Month is also one of her greatest achievements. She was surprised and confused upon receiving the news of getting nominated. She would like to convey how blessed she felt by this opportunity. Furthermore, one of the greatest opportunities given to her is being able to give back to her family and the community. She feels that when you are able to use yourself for the benefits of others, that is when you know you are doing good in life. Being given tasks that will enable her to help others is what she considers as a great opportunity and by doing so, it makes her feel a sense of gratitude and happiness.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, she was fortunate to be able to participate in some leadership roles. At one time during the outbreak, she was able to work under the database team for Sukarelawan Belia and for the rest of the period, she assisted in a project. The project was executed during Ramadhan called the Projek Brunei Kasih 1 and 2, and an upcoming 3 is planned to be executed during this year’s Ramadhan. For the project, she was able to deliver more than 100 donations to 100 houses successfully. Initially, she thought it would be impossible and she was worried about her safety and health, and how it may affect her family. However, thankfully, the project was delivered successfully.
Finally, one surprising fact people might find about her is her love for Korea, especially Korean food and culture. When she is in work mode, she tends to focus only on the task that she has in her hands but once the work is done, she will switch to her personal state where sometimes she will even talk in Korean language with her friends. Whenever things get tough, Syamimi tends to follow the advice that her friend once gave to her. She would take a day for herself, to cry out all of her feelings and come back the next day stronger. She prefers to keep her feelings to herself and not share it with other people because she does not want to burden others. However, one support system that keeps her going throughout her leadership journey is her father. Her father works 8-5 every single day. She understands how tired and exhausted her father may feel after coming back from work and vice versa when she comes back after doing some work. She also thinks of her leaders as a support system. She believes that it is important, as a member, to share information such as your mental, physical or any problems, with your leaders. By doing so, you will find out how kind your team members are as she has had experience of them taking over her work when she had problems.
She always challenges herself to improve everything, for example, the way she delivers task delegations and information. She identifies herself as a strict person and it is important for her to keep her priorities in line. There have been moments where she was so busy that she forgot to prioritise her family and in order to avoid this from happening again, she tries to be selective in what she does so things can go according to her schedule.
In the future, just like any other student, she hopes to be successful academically. She
dreams to be a teacher that inspires her students. To teach them that learning is not all about tests and exams but it also teaches them to become more of a human. Also, she hopes to give back to her parents and remember to prioritise her parents and family in any situation.
Lastly, a message she would like to convey to the readers: you need to know that never see one small kind act as something simple as it may and can impact a person’s whole life. Even by just smiling at one person, it can give a positive vibe to one another. Next, remind yourself to make the right intention whenever you are starting on something. So that, whenever you feel tired, you can refresh yourself and remind yourself of your initial aims, and remember to make sure to finish everything that you start, no matter how rough the journey may be.
“You can always ask for help, there are so many kind people in this world to help you.”