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Rooted in sales

Shaheen Haque, territory manager, Middle East & Africa at Interactive Intelligence

A techie by education, with a degree  in Computer Science and masters  in Business Systems Design, Shaheen Haque began his career on the sales side of the spectrum and hasn’t looked back ever since.

“After completing my post-graduation, I realised that what we define as ‘techie’ positions required prior experience and I found myself wondering how I would ever gain the necessary experience if no one was willing to give a fresher that initial chance. So, to break out of this chicken-and-egg situation, I decided to opt for a sales position instead. This was back in 1993. Now, many positions, many solutions and many organisations later, I still find myself in this field. It has all been a wonderful experience and I have never looked back or even considered pursuing my initial calling,” he says.

Never shy of a challenge, Haque believes that his enthusiasm and passion for his profession makes him a pleasant personality to work with. He adds, “I take pride in my accomplishments and am driven by what is yet to be done. There is always scope for growth in all aspects of life and I approach this challenge with great positivity. This is evident in my face and I can’t hold it back.”

Haque is a firm believer in self-learning and self-motivation and says that he never hesitates to take up a new opportunity, start from scratch or even take on a task from where someone else has left off.

He describes himself as “a straight forward person who approaches situations in a very level headed manner. I find that life is quite exciting in that it constantly presents me with huge opportunities and experiences to encounter. I take things in my stride because of course you always have to be able to handle the good with the bad.”

In his capacity as territory manager, Middle East and Africa at Interactive Intelligence, Haque says he enjoys interacting with the company’s many customers and partners. “They both need different things from us but as a vendor, essentially we have the same goal- we all are looking at innovation to differentiate our services from the competition,” he states.

A job that comes with a jet setting lifestyle, he finds the time spent away from home and his three children is perhaps the most challenging part of his role.

“People say that they live for their children and I guess I believe that. All our successes and gains are  for our children to have the best start possible in life. And when you realise this, you automatically make sure that you are dedicating enough time to both work and family. However, it isn’t always easy drawing the line between personal and professional life. We in the field of IT are known for working late into the night, early morning and are in fact tagged as  workaholics. I think children put your life into perspective and that has happened to me. You looking into their faces and realize that spending time with them should be one of your main priorities in life. They grow up too quickly and you want to make sure you are there should they ever need you,” Haque says.

A difficult task no doubt, but he says it is in no way impossible. He explains: “The key is planning, scheduling and adhering to the plan. It is a bit like workforce management, which incidentally is a solution we sell, but for your own life. You need to determine when to work, when to stop and take some time out for the family.”

One look into the future and Haque is convinced that his career will be deeply embedded in the roots of technology where he will continue to assume a role in sales, believing it to be in his blood. “Of course one hopes for the greatest successes and best promotions and while I share these ambitions, I also like to imagine that I would have managed all of that while still maintaining the balance between my professional and personal lives,” he says.


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