Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For trying to build a new kind of corporate environment—where employees can be their authentic selves at work

What’s the value of a fashion degree, for a career beyond fashion? Sahra Sahibi has a quick answer: "My fashion degree taught me creativity, to do things differently, and to challenge norms," she says.

Those skills helped launch her career—not in fashion, but as a young project manager at creative agencies. Eventually, she pivoted into finance and IT. Now at Deutsche Börse, she drives information security initiatives in the chief risk office. Working closely with management, Sahibi leads initiatives to strengthen collaboration and strengthen strategic alignment across projects.

"When I was younger, I wanted to understand how to fit into the management world," she says. "But now, as a young adult, I understand that I can fit in anywhere I want, as long as I know how to use the project management tools I have."

Case in point: Deutsche Börse’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. As an ally for marketPride, the company’s LGBTIQ* network, Sahibi makes use of her project management skills to help organize networking events and information sessions.

"Project management gives me the confidence that I know the framework to master any project I want," she says. "Inclusivity is something I believe in at my core, and I’m always happy to apply my knowledge and learn new things along the way."

Q&A: Sahra Sahibi on flexible thinking, hybrid working and finding a mentor early

What’s your project management superpower?
Flexible thinking. I can quickly adapt to different people and situations, as well as new approaches. My realistic but immensely optimistic nature is a huge plus, too. I believe the key to success in many things lies in positive, goal-oriented thinking.

How do you see things shifting over the next decade?
I think it’s already happening—the future is now. New technologies and hybrid working is a big part of it, and we must make plans to expand the use of our remote systems in a way that’s efficient and sustainable—for ourselves and our businesses.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
Look for great mentors in the workplace. Early in my career, I did not take this opportunity. But now I’m really happy that I have the chance to exchange ideas with a mentor. For the first time, I sense this huge benefit for my personal and professional growth. People use different approaches and methods, and there’s so much to learn.