From the courtroom to the boardroom, former litigation lawyer Lydia binte Yahaya left private practice to be part of SP Group’s in-house legal counsel team in 2018. It’s a new playing field for Lydia, viewing her role as “more than just a lawyer”. Conducting contractual negotiations on behalf of the organisation and advising on corporate risks are all in a day’s work.
One of the most rewarding aspects of her job is to champion sustainable business practices, a cause that is close to her heart. With growing awareness of her own carbon footprint, Lydia supports food products that are sustainably sourced and has joined in the #sustainablefashion movement. Now, she never leaves home without her metal straws, including one for her bubble tea indulgence!
Lydia Binte Yahaya, Deputy Director of Legal and Corporate Secretariat at SP Group offers legal guidance and support for Electricity and Gas businesses, Sustainable Energy Solutions and corporate functions.
The 34-year-old overcame the steep learning curve when she switched from private to in-house practice. At SP, she is exposed to the workings of an operating business, where her legal expertise will help protect the interests and reputation of the company.
“When I was working in a law firm, the deliverables are more specific. For example, your primary role can be to prepare court documents and provide legal advice to clients. Now, I have to put on both commercial and legal hats. The experience made me appreciate legal services as an integral part of a commercial entity.”
“Assisting in some of the cases have also allowed me to engage different departments across SP. It made me realise that any issue faced in an organisation requires a synergistic approach, from working with colleagues handling core operations to corporate functions such as finance and communications. We can produce desired outcomes with strong teamwork.”
Lydia and her colleagues have made significant inroads in moving the needle towards a more sustainable future.
Her sustainability work portfolio includes managing potential investments in renewable energy projects, and collaborations with regional partners. In the process, she gained knowledge and insights that have strengthened her commitment to do her part for a greener economy.
On making her mark in a conventionally male-dominated industry, Lydia keeps her focus on “bringing value to the table”.
“I am very grateful that there is no stereotyping in my organisation. We have several female management leaders at the helm and personally, I am inspired by my Chief Legal Officer who never fails to amaze me with her ability to juggle multiple hats and keep things under control. I’ve learnt the importance of being sharp in analysis and thought processes, and communicating effectively across all levels. Trust and respect will naturally follow.”
Lydia’s love for travelling and adventure has brought her to places such as Iceland, Morocco and Russia.
“Travel widens one’s perspective like no other. It stimulates my mental and emotional well-being as I experience new cultures, meet new people and witness new landscapes!”
Her wish, just like many of us, is to see the end of COVID-19 so that she can resume her travels and fuel her wanderlust!