In this latest series of articles, we are publishing interviews of women who are working as a professional or a student in the technology sector. The objective is to highlight their work and contribution to the industry as well as to the community.
In these interviews, you will find women working in technology to solve real-world problems, to break stereotypes and to create the next big impact on the tech industry. This series of interviews shows that even with the lowest rate of women participation in the labor market in Pakistan, there are still lots of smart women who are creating and using technology to work wonders.
Today, we are featuring Hira Saeed. Read on to know more about her work and get inspired.
Tell us a little about yourself, your background, your education, and your work.
As for my educational background, I have done my Masters in Business Administration and later studied Journalism.
I started my first venture as a passion project called “Training and Consultancy Services” when I was in the sixth semester of my BBA. The primary services we offered were training, career counselling, and consulting sessions. It didn’t work the way I expected, so I called it quits to start my 9 to 5 life.
In 2017, when the startup I was working for dissolved its operations, it ended my ’employee’ journey, and I started providing freelance writing services to the local and international clients.
In 2018, I moved to Silicon Valley, which was the turning point of my career and life in many ways. The same year, I worked with one of the leading accelerators in the valley called Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.
What are your plans/aspirations? What impact will it have on the community/society/your team/your project?
I don’t make or document huge plans and instead take life one step at a time. I have severe anxiety issues, so I mostly keep my plans limited to the short-term only.
If you want to predict my future from my present, I am running a content partner and consulting agency called Digital Doers. We provide copywriting, social media, branding, and outreach services to the clients worldwide. We are a team of nine people working on our terms, mostly.
Furthermore, I run Tech-Geeks, which is a community of technology enthusiasts who share their love for technology on the platform. Additionally, we do meetups – both online and off-line, curate newsletters, do live sessions, and more.
Soon after I came back to Pakistan last year, I also started CaterpillHERs, an entrepreneurship Bootcamp for female founders.
So I guess my future will revolve around the same sphere.
Please brag about your career accomplishments, what are the things you are really proud of?
When talking about my career accomplishments, I am a Gold Medalist for which my parents are incredibly proud of. Apart from that, spending a year in Silicon Valley is another thing that made me feel a significant level of accomplishment. I was reluctant to leave everything behind here and move to the U.S. for a good one to two years, but I am glad that I made that decision.
I feel my imposter syndrome just kicked in, so I’ll stop here…
What has been your best education decision, and why?
I think my best education decision was to do an MBA as soon as I had completed my BBA. I still remember that I wanted to take a break, but part of me realized that giving a break in education isn’t a good idea. So, right after completing BBA within three months, I took admission in MBA, and by the age of 24, I was finished with the master’s degree. Then I was free to do everything I wanted without any pressure of managing education and work at the same time.
Career decision? Well… to leave my job, I guess.
What’re the best lessons you’ve learned?
One of the lessons I have learned is to love the work that you do and do not care about anything else. All the philosophies and theories bring us to this bottom-line question: Do you really like what you do?
For me, it all comes down to this single point. If you do not like the work for which you wake up every morning, then everything you do the entire day, will not carry any substance for you.
Which woman inspires you and why?
There are a lot of names to mention, but then this whole interview will be bombarded with the women who inspire me every day. So to keep it simple, I will name my Mom as the most inspiring woman ever.
I truly credit my Mom for whatever I have and for whoever I am today. She has fully supported all my career-related decisions, sometimes even the bad ones. She did so to help me grow, learn, and bounce right back after taking a hit.
People often misinterpret that people like me have had massive support from the family, but it was ‘just’ my Mom who has been at my back. Despite being a housewife, who didn’t have much exposure to the outside world, she never stopped me from doing anything just because she didn’t experience it herself. I think that’s courageous for the kind of society we live in.
Do you think Pakistan has changed as a society, in terms of accepting career-oriented women? What needs to change to help more women come forward?
Yes, I think Pakistan has changed a lot over the past few years. The most significant change is that dialogues and conversations about taboo topics have finally started. People are finally calling out the gender imbalance in the industry and trying to take needful steps for it.
There are still problems from both sides, like a higher fraction of women need to know their rights, both personal and professional. Men need to start taking stands in the fight for gender parity as well. Only then, we can truly achieve a gender-balanced industry.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry/business, what would it be?
I would work on changing the corporate culture to become more tech-friendly. Enable them to integrate and utilize technology more in their day-to-day operations. For example, using platforms, collaboration tools, and communication mediums instead of meeting in person or using papers.
How can WomenInTechPK help you and other women?
WomenInTechPK has always been a massive support for me as well as other tech women in Pakistan. One thing that I want WomenInTechPK to do is to keep the conversation alive. I cannot stress enough that we are now in the phase where we need to voice our issues and work for gender inclusiveness against all the backlash and opposition. The tech industry is in desperate need of a safe space for women, and WiTPK is doing just that.
You can follow Hira Saeed using her profiles below, and please do not hesitate in hiring her for your next project.
ProWomen Profile: https://www.prowomen.pk/hira-saeed