Spread love like violence … Spread hope like fire 🙂
A born rebel, the first girl in my generation of the extended family, eldest amongst my siblings. A quick learner, can’t bear the mundane distress of doing what everyone else does. It has to be different what I do, doesn’t go down to well with my family. I grew up with high achievers, does not indicate that I achieved any less. My achievment has been in the lessons I have learnt from life, the passion that desires to inspire. I live by my rules, don’t expect you to follow them. I believe in living the moment because it doesn’t come twice. I have an insatiable appetite for knowledge, thirst for learning but when fulfilled all it gives is an upset stomach. I seek wisdom in the words of the songs, the laughter of the children, in the eyes of the people I love. Life only gives two options, take it or leave it. I choose to take it and live with it!
Looking back on my life experiences there has never been a single moment that I have not been “trying to make things work”. Sometimes they do but mostly they don’t. With this struggle, I have realized my capacity to endure and ensure that I achieve long term well being. Perhaps being human is the greatest asset I have. But then things never work out according to plan, yet holding on and trying to make them work brings out quite unexpected results. I visualized my life in a much different direction than what it has taken today but then I realize that it is myself as a person who defines how my life turns out.
My experiences evolved with the exposure I have got with my undergraduate degree in Engineering, coupled with my MBA degree. Before I graduated as an engineer, I started working as a client relationship and business development manager at a Training & Consultancy firm. I had always considered being in a 9:00 to 5:00 corporate job as a skilled professional my dream, but here I was moving in a different direction. I continued the same job after graduation instead of applying in a telecom company as I had envisioned four years previously.
I excelled at what I was doing and enjoyed it thoroughly, but while I learnt something new by experience and error, I still desired to gain theoretical knowledge of business functions and models to better understand people and processes that enabled successful business. This quest for knowledge pushed me to apply for my MBA degree. The highlight of my MBA degree was the opportunity to study abroad for 5 months on an exchange semester in Zagreb, Croatia, complete a five week internship at Coca Cola HBC in Zagreb, and travel extensively. This experience gave me more things to think about in terms of what I like doing, what other people are doing, what are the possibilities when one considers creating impact. This is also when I started thinking about working in the development sector as a profession of choice, something very few people do in Pakistan and in general looked down in our society.
Going back to Pakistan after the exchange semester, I was lucky to be able to study one of the best courses of my two years degree, which was Social Entrepreneurship. Studying about emerging markets, business and sustainability, companies being involved in CSR as entrepreneurship gave me new perspectives to think about. Other courses gave me insight to different perspectives of business relationships with government, role and importance of clusters in business, micro-economics of competition, trans-national marketing and business strategy. This led me to further reflect on the role of different entities: government, business, media, civil society etc in the development of nations.
I am now working full time as a consultant on CSR projects; my role is to link up private sector entities with the government and development sectors to ensure development and change. I am involved in engaging people, communities, business and local governments on projects that will realize an improvement in lifestyles of people in many years down to come. I love to describe this by linking business terminology: our investment is our involvement, our equity is our engagement. This also makes sense from the perspective of realizing growth for the corporate and the non-corporate sectors. In addition I am also involved on several development projects related to alternative learning as a trainer / facilitator.
Growing up in a society where differences co-exist I have learnt to appreciate that sustainability is the result of independent and interdependent associations. In effect, the only thing sustainable is being human.
YOU can choose to let it define YOU, confine YOU, refine YOU, outshine YOU, or YOU can move on and leave it behind YOU! Life is meant to be fun, joyous and fulfilling. 🙂