Hamdhana Abdul Rahman, Leading the Way at STO Staple Foods

MV+ News Desk | November 25, 2023

“Completing MBA while my son was a year old, that too fully committing to one of the most demanding roles as the Sales manager at STO Supermart was a huge feat for me,” says Hamdhana Abdul Rahman, a 33-year-old Sales Manager at STO Staple Foods.

“I joined STO right after my bachelor’s degree in 2010,” she says, “it was my very first interview, which resulted in the first job I took after graduating.”

Over the past 13 years, Hamdhana has transitioned through various roles within the organisation. She began her career as a Marketing Manager at STO Electronics. Subsequently, she became the Sales Manager at Home Improvement, Planning Manager of Construction Materials and Home Improvement, and Marketing Manager at the Sales and Marketing department.

“I believe my strength has always been sales,” Hamdhana emphasises. “I have managed to perform well during my time at regional sales, Supermart, and Home Improvement.” Her dedication and performance prepared her for her current role as the Sales Manager at STO Staple Foods.

The evolution of STO’s staple food distribution over the past decade has not gone unnoticed by Hamdhana. “From its inception in the early 1960s, staple foods operation has always been very labour intensive and requires a lot of manual work,” she reflects. However, the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for change, shedding light on vulnerabilities in the national and global food supply chain.

“The introduction of Kaadu agents in 2019 helped to ensure the availability of staple foods across the nation by stabilising the price for all classes of Maldivians,” Hamdhana highlights. Her innovative approach involved refining existing processes and optimising stock delivery periods.

The challenges of maintaining stock levels in the geographically dispersed Maldives are not lost on Hamdhana. She points out that the unavailability of quality storage, scheduled vessels, and delays in transportation due to bad weather have always been hurdles for Kaadu agents.

“Since STO supplies staple foods to the whole nation, it is mandated on us to ensure its continuous availability,” Hamdhana asserts. She highlights the importance of mitigating risks and enhancing efficiency in storage and distribution.

Quality and safety in staple food distribution remain a top priority for STO. “STO always aims to choose reputable suppliers who adhere to strict quality and safety standards,” Hamdhana explains. She emphasises the need for comprehensive quality controls and ensuring clean, dry, well-ventilated warehouses.

Food security is a critical concern, and Hamdhana recognises the role of STO in stabilising the market. “Ensuring availability of staple foods during key periods, like Ramadan, has always been a priority,” she says. However, she also emphasises the need to reduce dependence on imports and invest in the agricultural sector for long-term food security.

Looking ahead, Hamdhana envisions a modernised Staple Foods division. “Adapting modern warehousing systems, digitalising processes, and implementing best practices to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and scalability is imperative,” she states. 

Beyond her professional journey, Hamdhana acknowledges her greatest personal achievement – motherhood. “Being a mother has propelled me to become more patient and empathetic. It has enhanced my problem-solving skills,” she says. Her ability to balance a demanding role with personal time for relaxation and self-care is attributed to effective time management and the support of her family, particularly her mother.

Hamdhana Abdul Rahman’s story at STO Staple Foods is one of adaptability, innovation, and devotion to ensuring food security for the Maldives. Her journey is marked by resilience, and her insights shed light on the evolving landscape of staple food distribution in the nation.