Brunel Americas has experienced tremendous growth throughout Q1 of 2022, bringing on a total of 16 new team members across the United States, Canada, and Brazil already this year. Among those new faces at Brunel is Sarah Irshad. Based out of our Toronto office, Sarah is now a part of our Canadian team as a Recruitment Coordinator for the Life Sciences team.
Meet Sarah Irshad
Sarah, born and raised in Pakistan, speaks 4 languages fluently including: English, Urdu, Pashto, and Hindi. She knows some basic Arabic as well. Sarah has always been passionate about helping connect people to opportunities and preparing them to succeed. That’s exactly what she’ll be doing now as part of Brunel.
After receiving an MBA in HR from the University of Peshawar and experiencing some roles in Marketing & HR in Pakistan, Sarah found herself and her husband moving to the UAE where she worked as a faculty member for a university. In her faculty role, Sarah focused on supporting students looking to find careers after graduation. As one of very few international teachers working for the university, Sarah says she learned as much from her students as they did from her. She loves to learn about cultures different from her own, and the university she worked for was incredibly diverse, especially compared to her hometown.
That experience of living and working in the UAE prepared Sarah for her and her husband’s move to Toronto in 2017. Expecting her first child at the time of their move, Sarah took a break from the workforce for a bit before returning to work. Sarah described the challenge saying, “when you move to a new country and don’t know anyone, it emphasizes the importance of networking. Trying to do that during COVID especially was very difficult but I was able to do it successfully.”
Lending a Helping Hand
“I always wanted to be involved in HR, and I knew that I had the tools to help people in one way or another.”Sarah Irshad | Recruitment Coordinator - Life Sciences
Sarah has a #passionforpeople that perfectly aligns with Brunel’s values. Throughout her life and career, she has made it a point to help others succeed and stay connected to opportunities. Her first role in the recruitment sector was for one of the top business schools in Pakistan. At that school, Sarah helped students work on resumes and taught them about the industries they were interested in working in and then connected them with various international programs.
Even in her spare time Sarah loves to help others to succeed. During the pandemic, Sarah volunteered as a virtual coach helping people - primarily elderly Indian and Pakistani women – learn basic computer skills. “It was very rewarding, especially during COVID. They were brave enough to come every day and learn, even the most basic things like turning the computer on.”
This type of work has always been extremely gratifying for Sarah, even when it has been challenging. The first candidate Sarah ever placed in a role sent her a message to say that Sarah had changed their life for the better. Ever since then, she’s been committed to making an impact through recruiting.
Joining Team Brunel
Sarah was drawn to the opportunity at Brunel because of how welcoming all 3 of the women that she interviewed with had been with her. In particular, interviewing with high ranking women Angelina Brathwaite – Senior Client Partner for Life Sciences – and Kerrianne MacMullin – Country Manager for Canada - was extremely reassuring and emphasized the fact that Brunel values and empowers women as well as prioritizing cultural diversity. “I knew it was the kind of work environment I wanted to be in. That warmth I received from everyone I talked to throughout my interview process stayed with me and was a major factor in me joining the team.”Sarah’s role as Recruitment Coordinator for Life Sciences will consist of her providing support to our entire recruitment team to help them, or clients, and our candidates to move through the placement process as quickly as possible. On her goals for her new position at Brunel Sarah said, “everyday when I come to work I want to provide the best support that I can because that’s what I’m getting from my team. Leadership is very good at supporting their team and I want to learn that skill of being supportive to every role around me. I also want to be as transparent as I can be, be accountable to my team with what I can and can’t do, and to be an ambassador for Brunel.”
Fun Facts about Sarah
Sarah is part of an Afghan ethnic group known as the Pashtuns. Pashtuns originate from what is now southern Afghanistan and Northwestern Pakistan – an area sometimes called “Pashtunistan” – but have a presence across the globe including an estimated 140K+ Pashtuns living in Canada and the United States.
Pashtuns have a proud heritage and a great reputation for their bravery and hospitality. Pashtunwali – an ancient self-governing system that regulates many aspects of Pashtun life - has several aspects to it but the most well-known is Melmastyā́. Melmastyā́ refers to “hospitality and asylum to all guests seeking help.” It’s customary for Pashtuns to go out of their way to make sure foreigners who visit them never pay for anything during their stay.
Sarah’s looking forward to introducing her new coworkers to some aspects of her culture they might not know about as well as continuing to learn from others about their cultures.
Favorite TV Show: Anne with an E
Favorite Movie: Silver Linings Playbook
Favorite Food: Rice in any shape or form
Favorite Book: The Kite Runner
Favorite Saying: “The best among you are those who have the best manners and character.” – The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
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