Hufsa Munawar

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 Hufsa Munawar. Read on to know more about her work and get inspired.

Tell us a little about yourself, your background, your education, and your work.

My name is Hufsa Munawar, and I am a digital marketer and change-maker by passion and profession. I am a workaholic by nature, currently working as the Marketing Manager for an IT company. Along with this, I am also the Women Techmaker Ambassador for Google & the Co-Manager at Google Developers Group Islamabad.

I always knew I wanted to be a marketer, so my journey towards this role started with my education back in the Netherlands. I have completed my BSc in International Business and MSc in Marketing Management, both from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands. Netherlands has played a huge role in the person who I am today, as I spent nine years of my life there and also completed my education there, which helped me define my career goals and form my personality to support my goals.

What are your plans/aspirations? What impact will it have on the community/society/your team/your project?

The future is very uncertain. If I asked this question to the Hufsa in 2016, I will surely not have mentioned the things I am currently doing. If I define my goals, I would say that I have two major plans that I have already started working on. Initially, I want to launch my marketing agency with a core focus on marketing automation. This will be extremely beneficial for the Business community, especially in Pakistan, as marketing automation allows you to sell your product and services with extreme efficiency, at a meager price. This will undoubtedly be a game-changer in the Pakistani market, and I am already taking baby steps towards achieving this goal.

Another passion that I discovered while I was working with GDG Islamabad was my love for community building. I feel very passionate about the objective of women empowerment and helping women speak up about their accomplishments and achievements. Given the dynamics of the culture we live in, I have seen this to be a significant problem in women of Pakistan, and I aspire to one day build a community, that will help the beauties of this nation become a substantial stakeholder in political, economic, technical and financial aspects of this country.

Please brag about your career accomplishments, what are the things you are proud of?

This is a hard one! Bragging about yourself is not easy!

If I have to pinpoint a few things I define as accomplishments, I would say developing myself as a renowned digital marketer in Islamabad was a big step to achieve. I started as a digital marketing executive at a very basic salary of 35k in a software house a few years from today. Through constant hard work and dedication, I was able to work my way up to being a Marketing Manager and eventually towards starting my digital marketing agency.

Along with this, becoming a Co-Manager at GDG Islamabad was also something I am very proud of. Muhammad Bin Masood (Manager – GDG Islamabad) has been a mentor in my life, and this opportunity meant working closely with him, towards the objective of community building. This also leads to my third achievement of being selected as one of the 5 Women Techmaker Ambassadors for Pakistan, ultimately leading to me representing Pakistan on a global forum, which was and is an extremely honorable and proud thing for.

All this meant almost 20 hours of work each day, along with constant narazgi from gher, but I managed to pull through and to achieve what I did in terms of my career goals.

What has been your best education/career decision, and why?

A decision that helped me in my career was opting for MSc in Marketing Management from Erasmus University. While everyone was busy getting enrolled in MBA programs, I decided to go for a more technical degree in Marketing, involving a lot of data and research. This degree prepared me for the digital side of Marketing and instilled in me the understanding required to play with data and numbers, to optimize marketing.

This has been very handy so far, and I am sure it will continue to be in the future.

What’re the best lessons you’ve learned?

  1. Do not let others tell you otherwise!

Being a Chubby, Muslim, Pakistani Girl meant a lot of social pressure to be a certain way. The biggest lesson I have learned in this time is to figure things out my way. See what makes you happy, pursue your passion, and be yourself. Do not let any other person tell you to do something a certain way because society demands it. You will not regret it.

  1. Get Independent

Another lesson I have learned is, Get Independent. This is very important if you want to succeed in life. Start taking responsibility for yourself and others around you. Just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you have to wait for your father, brother, or even husband to sustain you. Get independent and contribute. This will not only empower you but also allow you to excel in life.

Which woman inspires you and why?

My biggest female inspiration is my mom. I am not saying this because she is my mom. I am saying this because she is a remarkable woman. Since I was young, I have seen my mom do her things her way. When all other aunties were waiting for their husbands to take them out shopping, I saw my mom learn driving to pick and drop us from school. When others were busy with “kapray” and matching laces, my mom was representing Pakistan in my sister’s schools and other events. I have seen my mom making architectural plans and spending hours with thekaydaars and workers to get our dream home right. She is very unconventional, and that is precisely what helped me become the person that I am today.

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?

It’s on its way there. It certainly has improved. With a lot of dominant females playing a significant role in society, mindset is changing, and the culture is getting more accepting. I think the essential thing in the equation is the women themselves. They need to start working and also begin speaking up about their awesomeness, which will encourage them to be noticed and enable them to be supported by their community to pursue their careers.

We need to have more communities like WomenTechmakers and WomenInTechPK to provide these women the platforms to discuss their issues and problems and sometimes to speak their heart out, to empower them to fight with the society and change its perception about career-oriented women.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

I am finding the right work-life balance. Since we live in a very patriarchic society, I have seen that women often need to work extra hard to prove themselves and progress in their careers. This, coupled with their responsibility to run a household, puts a lot of pressure on them and is going to be a big challenge for the upcoming women generation as well.

If you could change one thing about the tech industry/business, what would it be?

Long hours behind the screen and more focus on Digital Well-being.

How can WomenInTechPK help you and other women?

The work that WomenInTechPk is doing is commendable. The dedication with which Faiza is working to bring women forward, to connect women with potential employers, to help them speak up about their problems and accomplishments is remarkable. In the future, I expect WomenTechmakers Islamabad & WomenInTechPk to continue working together to create more platforms to empower women and to celebrate successful women.

You can follow Hufsa Munawar using her profiles below, and please do not hesitate in hiring her for your next project.





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