Career & Leadership Tips: Noor Ali, Morrisons

Noor Ali has come a long way from owning a business to currently being a Senior Buying Manager for World Foods at Morrisons. She is responsible for ranging World Foods products for Morrisons customers. Noor has achieved many awards including BEM. Charity work and mentoring are a vital part of her work, mentoring both in schools and in prisons.

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the work you do as a Senior Buying Manager. 

My role (Senior Buying Manager for World Foods) involves managing the World Foods Category, leading and developing my team, whilst at the same time driving the category forward in line with our business strategy and priorities.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Being a Senior buying manager for world foods in Morrison’s means having a role which on a daily basis involves having the capability to have different ‘heads’ on to manage all the diverse tasks and challenges.

This includes leadership, managing own team, networking, facing any challenges, managing any stakeholders, and ensuring our plan is being delivered in line with our business strategy and priorities.   Being consistently clear on our business and my own category plan is vital to ensuring all decisions are within delivering these plan, this sometimes can involve influencing key stakeholders both internal and external and doing what’s right for our customers.

A favourite part of my role is meeting and visiting new businesses and discussing their new products and ranges they have to offer for our customers.

What advice do you have for managing work and life?

It is very important to know and understand your priorities and let others know too. This can then help drive what’s important to you. It needs to be done on a daily basis but most importantly you need to stick to it.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Link up with other Leaders to learn from and understand the challenges of leading a team.  Drive honesty and integrity.  Treat your team how you want your manager to treat you.

How do you maintain your and your team’s daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, pushback or setbacks?

There will always be challenges, the key is to work through these that can sometimes drive a positive result in the end.  Its key never to forget the hard work and commitment from the colleagues involved and also key to take the key learnings and share them for future development.

What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever been given? 

The following advice is what I now give to other colleagues and businesses which I have learned through the many years in my career….

  • Have a passion for driving excellence
  • Trust requires a life-long commitment… not years… it takes a few moments to lose it, along with your hard earned credibility
  • End to End responsibility starts & stops with you
  • Communication – run the risk of over communicating rather than under-communicating… it will remove all doubt
  • Never over promise and under deliver.
  • The world is yours… embrace it as a continuous journey of fun, investment, patience, & reward.

What advice do you have for developing self-belief and confidence

  • Visualise yourself being successful
  • Network – External & Internal  – learning from others is key
  • Be brave / visionary / innovative and tenacious
  • Self-promote / talk about your achievements
  • Have a point of view and speak up
  • Share your knowledge and expertise, help others
  • Get support – Mentors / Sponsors / external groups

Which woman / man in history inspires you?

My inspiration comes from Sandra Kerr, CEO Rfo.  She is known for her work in driving the diversity agenda.  Through her professionalism and inspirational speaking, she is able to influence change.

What has driven your passion for diversity in your industry / sector?

Being involved in World Foods for over 20 years now is crucial to driving Diversity agenda – especially as my category involves understand the demographics on the UK and ranging products to meet the needs of our ethnic consumers in the UK.  As part of this role, I then got involved in Race for Opportunity, mentoring women to drive key skills and especially confidence in the workplace. I am also involved in Mosaic, mentoring children, I also mentor businesses in various ways eg. Through the Growth Hub, and finally prisoners through my very own ‘Dragons Den’ initiative.

The mother of all awards #FLNationalAwards & Summit 2018 is coming to your region with events in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, London and Leeds! It’s an inspirational programme showcasing diversity in business, recognising the doers, trailblazers & inclusive leaders across the UK. Join the conversation and don’t miss out – HERE