Women TechMakers Public Speaking Workshop aims to empower Pakistani workforce
The inaugural session started with a powerful session with poet and businesswoman Henna Babar Ali in conversation with Iftikhar Hussain, director of Startup Grind, Lahore.
Speaking about her challenges as well as achievements, Ms Ali said: “The biggest achievement of my life is that I try to follow my parent’s footsteps.”. She added that the guidance of one's parents was irreplaceable and learning from their experience pivots an individual towards a happy and successful life.
As a successful author, Henna Babar Ali presents a deep connection to her values and spirituality. “Core values drive business, the business doesn’t drive the core values,” she said, refuting a widely-held belief that in order to run a successful business one has to abandon their core values.
When asked about her most difficult career decision, she said: “When my daughter Mubarak was born in the US, at that stage I had to decide what I wanted to do with my career should I continue working at Packages or what else can I do?”
Ali believes that women need to be financially independent and they should learn how to make money. She also emphasized core values for success: “You need to have courage, honesty and a sense of humility. Lead without this sense of entitlement and connect with your team on a personal basis.”
The next was an illustrious panel discussion about the struggles of women at the workplace. The panel included Margo Aziz, director of The Choueifat International; Mehr Agha, rector, of the Ali Institute of Education; Syeda Nausheen Jeffery, head of Business Excellence Pakistan, Nestle; Javaria Malik, director of marketing & corporate communications, ICMA Pakistan; and Beenish Karim Bhutta, head of legal, Pakistan & Afghanistan, Pepsico International. The discussion was moderated by Sophia Anjum from FM91.
Margo Aziz exclaimed, “How we perceive success is different for everyone else. Use this difference in perception to grow and never stop growing, in this way you’ll always be one step ahead of everyone.”
Mehr Agha provided her perspective on how women can achieve success: “I definitely want to endorse that we need to come out of our comfort zone and reach out for mentorship, for advice in order to be successful.”
She added, “Be sure of occupation you choose because if you’re truly passionate about your occupation, excelling at it becomes easier and for success in the world, excelling at your occupation is a must especially in the face of criticism.”
Beenish Karim Bhutta used her experience to explain what she thinks is important for women to be successful.
“Just as a brand needs a unique selling point, so do you. Learn from other success stories, adapt what they do to your own personality, and become someone else’s success story.” She went on to reiterate the importance of carefully selecting the company you want to work in. “Look at what the company stands for. Is it what you need? Is it adaptable? The company has to adapt with you just as you adapt to the company.”
Javaria Malik went on to direct the personality traits needed for success. “Be specific and be direct, you should feel comfortable in voicing your opinion respectfully because your opinion is valuable.”
Syeda Nausheen Jaffery agreed with her fellow panellists and pointed towards specific things she thought were pertinent for success.
“You need to keep learning and never accept you’ve learnt enough because that’s truly the only way to achieve success.”
Following this immaculate panel discussion, Irum Bokhari, secretary to the Women Development Department, presented her viewpoint on women empowerment and the role of the government is facilitating women. Hosted by Shanzey Sumreen Faiz, CEO of the Retail Headquarters, this discussion presented a plethora of information in regards to how women can pave the way for their success and what Ms Bokhair aims to do in her second tenure to advance the cause of women empowerment.
Ms Bokhari said, “An empowered woman empowers other women.” In order for this systematic inequality between men and women to be eliminated, empowered women have to support other women’s empowerment because, without unity, success cannot be achieved.
She further went on to say “I feel like Pakistani women, when they get lemon they shouldn’t make lemonade, they should make a mint margarita.” Through this analogy, Ms Bokhari presented her view that women should not feel the need to follow the traditional routes to success, they can devise their own way in which they can face adversities and achieve success.
“If you dream hard enough, anything is possible.” Ms Bokhari truly believes that faith in one's dream can make that dream a reality if one is brave enough to follow through with that dream.”
Shanzey Sumreen Faiz also added the need for female unity, she said, “We need to compliment and encourage one another, hold hands in our fight for equality.”
This discussion concluded in applause from the audience having received a plethora of information from these successful inspirational women.
Towards the end, the event was a huge success, filled with interesting questions and inspiring conversations.
Public Speaking Workshop organised by Startup Grind Lahore powered by Google for Entrepreneurs Start-ups presented by Zong which is curated by WomenTechMakers, a Google Initiative in collaboration with Google Business Group Lahore & Google Developer Group Lahore, would like to thank our sponsors: Pepsi, Eat Mubarak, Careem, DaftarKhawan, The International School of Chouiefat, SWWL, Cheetay, Fabi Studios, Popcorn Studios, FM91 and Women’s Forum Pakistan for making this event possible.
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