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Spotlight on... Sarah Niazi

  • Publish Date: Posted about 2 months ago
  • Author:by Sarah Niazi

What is your role at ECMS?

My role at ECMS is a Project Manager.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?

I would say my biggest challenge would be entering a career path I never envisioned when starting out professionally. Insurance was a coincidence after graduating and now looking back, it was an amazing opportunity given to me by my first employer. When I started my first role at Lloyds of London, I had no idea about the insurance industry or Llyod’s, and I was tasked with managing high priority projects, which really pushed me outside my comfort zone, pushing me to ask all those ‘silly questions’ so I could learn, fast.

Another challenge was my confidence when speaking to senior leadership. Being an introvert growing up, my roles at both Llyod’s and Shell had me involved with senior professionals. I found it a struggle at first but was pleasantly surprised when two former line managers, trusted me enough to ask me to attend a few meetings in their lieu with senior leadership.

In my career so far, I have learnt to put my fears aside to overcome my challenges, to work outside of my comfort zone and not be afraid to ask questions. It took time, but as my confidence grew, I reassured myself that “I’m not sounding silly, I’m coming across enthusiastic and wanting to learn more about the business”.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by anyone?

The one piece of advice that my parents instilled in me was “treat everyone you come across with respect, because at the end of the day, you don’t know who you’ll be turning to help, regardless of the situation you’re in”. I cannot emphasise the number of times that has replayed itself in my head whether it’s a work-related situation or personal, I think it is so applicable.

What is your favourite part about being a PM?

Having the opportunity to collaborate with skilled individuals and having the chance to learn so much from them. As a PM, leading a project to completion and watching it become live in production environments, is something that is really satisfying, especially when you see downstream benefits from your project becoming a tangible product within the system.

The proudest moment in your career?

My favourite moment in my career so far would be my first ever project. I was assigned an Infrastructure Remediation project that had four main deliverables to be completed before the company’s next audit. I managed to successfully deliver the project, not only ahead of schedule but also £20K under the assigned budget. Though it was my first ever project, it is still a huge accomplishment for me and one I look back on favourably.

Your favourite way to relax on the weekends?

I enjoy working out and reading. Both these started out as New Year Resolutions during the first lockdown and I’m proud to say I have stuck to both goals. I usually put my phone on Do Not Disturb when doing both, so I can avoid all stressors. My “go-to” workout would be HIIT, solely because my instructor is a 60+ year old ex body builder that has you work out to ABBA! As for reading, the best book I’ve ever read would be “If We Were Villains” by M.L Rio.

How would you sell being a PM to someone looking to start in their career?

Being a PM is in no way a relaxing or easy job! Being a PM, you constantly have a million and one items to always keep an eye on, which conversely is what makes it so exciting and so fulfilling when it goes well. Starting out with a clearly outlined requirement for you to deliver on and steering the ship while having to manage external factors, stakeholder management, vendor queries, scope creep/descope is what makes the job so exciting. No two days are the same!

One thing not many people know about you?

Horror is my “go-to” movie genre. Looking back now, it does feel a bit ridiculous how young I was when my parents would let me sit there and watch horror movies with them and their friends! You’d think I’d know what was around the corner by now, but I still get scared and start second-guessing the silhouettes of things in my room. This is probably because my favourite kind of horror movies are the ones based off true events.


You’ll be working with the team always willing to support you and lend a helping hand wherever needed!