Meet Hayath Hussein, Chief Operating Officer, Com Laude

Hayath Hussein

In this piece, we talk to Com Laude’s Chief Operating Officer, Hayath Hussein.

Born in Sweden but now a Londoner Hayath has worked in tech for over 20 years – including a spell at Unilever. Joining Com Laude in 2007, she has since worked her way up to COO.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

As Chief Operating Officer at Com Laude, my main responsibility is to oversee the day-to-day operational functions of the business. That means making sure all of our products and  he operation teams are providing the highest level of support and service levels to our extensive list of clients. So essentially, my role is to make sure we’re providing the client-shaped domain services we’ve promised.

By the time I started working at Com Laude I already had years of experience in the domain name industry. This includes four years spent as an in-house domain name expert at a FTSE 100 company before leaving for a domain name registry.

Prior to beginning my career, I gained a master’s degree in information system analysis from Linkoping University, Sweden.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

In short, no.

I didn’t leave university thinking I’d be working in the domain industry today but it’s an industry that sucks you in and I am glad to say that all these years later I’m still loving it.

I have always enjoyed working with people and processes, so any job that offered me that variety was going to attract my attention. When I first moved to London I found a temp job as a data analyst at a domain name registrar, which was my entrance into the domain industry. My manager at the time asked if I wanted to stay and be permanent and because I enjoyed working there so much it wasn’t a difficult decision as I met some amazing people who are still part of my life today. I quickly pivoted and moved from being a data analyst to managing a team and learning how to register domains.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

When I decided to move from Sweden to London. It felt like going into the unknown, which was both exciting and scary at the same time as the two countries have two very different job markets.

However, the biggest challenge has been getting recognition. Being recognised for being good at our jobs can take a long time for women to get. It’s taken me fifteen years for example to be recognised as being good at what I do.

In terms of overcoming this challenge, I worked hard, proved myself and my peers had no choice but to recognise me.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m extremely proud of the team we have built and grown.

Recently, we did some restructuring across our teams and two of our new team leaders are female and we have a few women on our development team, the team that develops Com Laude’s products. I’m passionate about people, passionate about giving girls the opportunity to shine and helping them learn and grow. Therefore, I’m incredibly proud to have fostered a diverse and inclusive workforce with 50% of board members being female, which is 10% higher than the UK average.

If I was to leave Com Laude tomorrow I would be able to do so with my head held high.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Having a strong belief in myself and confidence in my abilities has allowed me to get where I am today.

Fortunately, I’ve been left to do my job and I’m proud to say I’ve risen to whatever challenge I’ve been presented with. Having the trust of my bosses has given me the flexibility to just get on, do it and generate strong results.

In the early days there were of course challenges but I learnt from my mistakes and grew as a professional.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Believe in yourself and be open to new opportunities.

I’ve worked with young talent for years and a lot of young people, especially women often have this fear that they’re not good enough. I always tell them they can do it. Give yourself the opportunity to learn, fail and stand up again and move on. Give it a try and as a leader, you’ll be amazed by what young people can do if somebody believes in them.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Yes, as a male dominated industry there are many barriers. Things have gotten better but there’s still much work to be done.

We need to be able to give girls a chance and encourage them by providing the platform to shine. Having women in senior leadership positions can encourage more women into tech roles, which isn’t surprising news. If you don’t see someone like you in a leadership position, then you might think this isn’t your world.

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

Companies need to be more open and inclusive. For example, when a job becomes available, expose the role to everybody. Companies need to recognise that talent can also move within the organisation. Some companies are very rigid in structure and firms need to be open-minded to saying that someone in finance for example could move into operations.

There are currently only 21 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

With a magic wand I’d go back in time and give the girls of previous generations the belief and encouragement that this industry is for them.

We need to ensure a level playing field for women and their career aspirations. It starts with encouraging girls at school to enter a career in tech. Creating opportunities for girls to engage with the industry very early in school and letting them know they can pursue technical careers can inspire the next generation into careers that are often underrepresented.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

  • Digital Women – LinkedIn
  • Women Taking The Lead – Podcast
  • The Michelle Obama – Podcast
  • Maya Angelou – books