A love for chocolate instilled by her parents sent her on a journey filled with perseverance, promotion, and more love.
She learned how to knit from YouTube so she could send out resumés in small, yellow onesies. She thought creative application packages aligning with companies’ brands would generate return calls. She was right, but fate directed her elsewhere.
It was mid-2009. Reeling from the recession, employers repeatedly advised Anitha Haridas to acquire more experience. An international student from Dubai and York University graduate, she persevered.
Searching for a paid internship that would provide support and Canadian experience, Anitha typed paid internships and stumbled upon the Career Edge website. She couldn’t believe there was an opening at Lindt & Sprϋngli. She applied immediately and became a marketing intern at the Toronto office for the Swiss-based chocolatier.
“[Career Edge] changed my life. [They] understood me as an international student, a recent graduate, and worked hard to craft the perfect opportunity for me to realize my career ambitions.”
Eager to contribute and hungry for knowledge, she adopted a ‘sponge mentality’ to thrive during the learning phase. She said it seemed like every coworker was eager to teach her. Soon, she started working with brand managers to generate ideas and develop products.
“You cannot understand the thrill I felt when I saw a product on the shelf that I had worked on – it’s an amazing feeling!”
After completing a seven-month paid internship, Lindt & Sprϋngli offered her a full-time position as Marketing Coordinator. She earned two more promotions in two years, things at the Canadian office were “going very well,” and the future looked bright – until family reasons forced her to return to Dubai.
She thought the Lindt & Sprϋngli journey was over – until the confectionery company offered her a third promotion to work at their Dubai office. For five years, she’s been the Marketing Communications Coordinator for the Middle East, Africa, and Indian Subcontinent regions. Now, she creates, implements, and oversees marketing communications programs, strategies, and tactics. She is responsible for consumer communications, and her work reaches more than 40 countries in the company’s portfolio.
“I’ve been doing this for five years now, and I still learn something new every day. There is a new challenge every day, and the excitement never wears out!”
Anitha aspires to continue her Lindt & Sprϋngli journey in another country, ascending the organization’s marketing ladder. She attributes her ambition and passion to working for a brand she believes in.
She advises jobseekers to never stop learning, as learning continues through mistakes, disappointments, and rejections. She recommends staying true to oneself.
“Be true to yourself. Don’t do things that make you unhappy. It shows in your work and mood.”
She recognizes the value of work-integrated learning opportunities for employers, and wants hiring personnel to consider more than application attachments.
“A person is much more than a resumé. Actively meet people and look for qualities that can represent your brand and fit with your work culture. Be open and aware of cultural differences that promote modesty, which could hinder self-promotion. An internship can change the career trajectory of a person, and if well-invested, your ROI on an investment is really substantial.”
Anitha also wants her peers and fellow Career Edge alumni to mentor recent graduates.
“It’s [our] duty to nurture the generation of people that will work for [us] and aim to mutually pave the way to success.”
Eight years after Anitha’s internship, her coach recalls the day they met.
“I still remember the energy and passion Anitha brought to her first interview…that energy proved not to be just for show. Anitha quickly developed a reputation as a hard worker with the skills and initiative to make it in a fast-paced organization. I feel proud to have had a role in her joining the company and I’m so pleased that her career with Lindt has continued.”
And eight years after her internship, Anitha still carries her inquisitive nature, hard-working mentality, and perseverance – the same tenacity which led her to Career Edge. Her work at Lindt & Sprϋngli brought her home to Dubai, and even connected Anitha to her husband when they met at a company event.
“My life changed from the moment I registered on that website, and I haven’t stopped recommending them since.”
Anitha Haridas says the rest is history. And should her future resemble her past? Well, then it’s a journey filled with promotion, perseverance, and a love for chocolate.