With the help of Ampersand World’s career coach Penda Coulibaly, Anna was able to undertake a complete professional reorientation from commodity trader to HR lead.

After a long and fruitful professional experience as raw sugar trader and key account Manager for renowned companies such as Cargill and Bunge, being able to reinvent one’s career after 20 years of specialisation in the same sector is really not for everyone. But that’s exactly what Anna Lami, now Human Resources Lead at GP Global Switzerland, has managed to do. 

With the help of Ampersand World’s career coach Penda Coulibaly – her energy, commitment, and negotiating skills – Anna was able to undertake a complete professional reorientation.

What is the best moment you can remember in your career?

“Where to start! Perhaps the hugely rewarding experience of travelling the world and meeting many people along the way. The feeling of excitement when you’ve nearly sealed a tricky deal, the adrenaline of the market or the elation when you beat your targets and hit record volumes. Having said that, I think the best moment in my career would have to be right now, having made the decision to completely change course. It may have come as a surprise to many, but I’m finally getting into an area I’ve always been interested in. It’s challenging, but hugely satisfying, and I’m enjoying picking up the gauntlet and feeling confident in myself!”

If you had to give just one piece of advice to a junior starting his/her career, what would it be?

“Never start a sentence with the words ‘Yes, I know’. It takes time to build up experience and knowledge; you learn something every day. Be patient and trust in your own beliefs.

Do you have a Motto/Lucky charm?

“I don’t have a lucky charm, but I do have faith. I believe in my lucky star and stick to my principles. And as for a motto: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'”

What do you enjoy the most in your day to day job?

“My goal now is to build and maintain a team of motivated, engaged professionals. To achieve this, I will not only have to believe it can be done, but above all find the right balance between the needs of employees and what an employer is able to offer. Finding ways to strike this balance in my day-to-day work and developing HR strategies to help a company grow are what I enjoy the most. “

If you had to do it again would you choose the same career path?

“Yes, absolutely! I have no regrets whatsoever. My career in commodity trading has truly been a “school of life”, from my initial roles in accounts and finance, to my subsequent work in operations and then trading. From a professional perspective, I feel I’ve gained a good breadth of knowledge and built up more than 20 years’ experience, which is serving me well today. Travelling and coming into contact with people from different cultures and backgrounds has definitely helped make me open-minded, flexible and keen to learn. It has also pushed me out of my comfort zone on many occasions, not just professionally, but in my private life too.”

Where is your favourite place on earth and why?

“There are many wonderful places in the world, but, as the saying goes, home is where the heart is. It’s where all those I love are – a place of peace and comfort. I need that.”

How could you qualify your relationship with Ampersand World?

“When I think of Ampersand World, I think of Penda. Put simply, at Ampersand, they know how to listen, to believe and trust in you, to see the qualities a company is looking for – even in those with more unusual profiles – and to act. They are efficient and they get results. For me, these are the key qualities a recruitment firm should have.”

Coming to the present day, in her LinkedIn profile Anna Lami praises Penda for her work. She says that Penda “believed in my potential, put trust in my motivation, professional and personal skills”. Ampersand World’s founder and headhunter detected in Anna’s profile the ability of applying her experience into a completely new domain. She gave her full support and introduced her to the right people, which – not after so long – brought the expected result. 

Three months later, in fact, Anna landed her dream job, as Daniela Mendez – personal advisor at OCE (Office cantonal de l’emploi) – recounts in this interview, which also mentions Ampersand World’s involvement in this very unusual conversion. Penda made Anna believe that everything is possible — even turning a commodity trader into a HR lead in a mid-size growing company.