Twenty-one driven change-makers!
Shortlisting 21 women to partake in our second Women Leadership Fellows Program was not an easy task since there were so many exceptional women who applied.
However, after a stringent process, we ended up with twenty-two inspirational, driven, and accomplished individuals.
From CEOs and managers to authors and comedians, these women have been-there-done-that, and with the WLFP, they can only look to achieve newer heights!
With our meticulously planned program, our female cohort will learn from some of the most notable authorities in the country, expanding upon their existing expertise in disciplines such as Artificial Intelligence, Human Resources, Engineering, and Project Management.
Scroll down as we introduce you to the first 11 women in Katalyst Labs’ second Women Leadership Fellows Program:
Noor Mehal Kamal
A gold medalist in Bahria University’s BBA program and a graduate in management from IBA, Noor has truly amassed the tools necessary to thrive in the corporate world.
Her expertise in this space has armed her to better understand and optimize the employee experience, helping them unleash their hidden potential.
Noor considers herself to be a fan of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, claiming that her love for the country brings out the best in her and makes her optimistic about its future!
And finally, since her passion is writing, she aims to use her skills to paint the world as a more loving, inclusive, and fair place.
Maheen is a health-tech professional working to make healthcare more accessible and inclusive. She also believes in the power of digital platforms (content creation and collaborations) in pursuit of her goal.
Currently, she works at Dawaai.pk, in a position that allows her to do what she loves best: Communications, both with internal and external partners.
Her role also allows her to step out of her comfort zone to explore new challenges and benefit from new possibilities!
With a Gold medal in Hotel Management from Amity University, Dubai, Sabica is now one of the founding members of Apricart.
Her experience building the start-up from scratch taught her key entrepreneurial skills, enhancing her role as the Customer Experience Lead in her own organization.
Alongside her primary focus, she has also juggled multiple other responsibilities in Apricart. These include administrative affairs, marketing, and operational management.
However, personal growth means little to Sabica if it leads to minimum collective results; hence, she aims to keep the Apricart team in synch, helping them achieve their mutual goals!
Sana has over half a decade’s worth of experience in the academic industry, an environment-centric not-for-profit organization, and a globally affiliated digital media marketing agency.
Professionally, she specializes in Talent Acquisition and Cultural Development and she aspires to be a strategist HRBP in the development sector as well as an entrepreneur.
Nashwa attributes her success to her curiosity, practicing skills that help her excel in her career, and focusing on ways to build more synergy.
True to her meticulous nature, she finds organizing and decluttering to be therapeutic!
As a seasoned educationist, Sidra has been working at Habib University for over five years now, presently serving as the Manager of Global Engagement in the Office of the President.
Here she handles Partnerships and Global Resource Development! Additionally, her academic qualifications include an MSc in International Business, with her primary focus on Globalization in Higher Education Institutions and the Importance of Women Leaders in Higher Education Institutions.
This also signals her intent of working towards chronicling the future of women in higher education, aspiring to attain a Ph.D. in the same area of focus.
She believes that the presence of women leaders in Pakistan’s higher education institutions can play a vital role in helping the country achieve its goals.
Iqra juggles several passions simultaneously, and excels at all of them! She is a former National Skier and has represented Sindh in the National Ski Championship. She now promotes Sports Advocacy for women in winter sports, a niche that has barely been explored in the country!
However, her passion for advocating for women does not stop there, she is a certified NLP practitioner, and in her previous role as a Training and Partnership Manager at Girl Rising, she expanded the ‘Explore More’ program, focusing on SEL and education for girls in Pakistan.
She also serves as a fundraising member at the TCF Baghbaan program, raising $20,000 in 2020 to support the education of underprivileged students at TCF schools.
Furthermore, she has been a Social Entrepreneurship Fellow at the Arts Council of Pakistan, working towards CVE and social inclusion for visually impaired individuals in Pakistan.
Academically, Iqra has a Pharm D degree, transitioning to the Learning and Development field immediately after graduating. Realizing her calling for community service and social change, she now works in the development sector, catering specifically to education, social change, diversity, and inclusion.
Therefore, currently, she provides student support in Career Development and Leadership Skills as a Program Manager at Amal Academy.
Aisha has shown that she isn’t scared of taking risks; she dropped out of her Ph.D. in 2019 to pursue an entrepreneurship idea with limited resources, an unaccepting environment, and a non-existent network.
The result of her hardwork has led to her creating her own food startup, which is currently being incubated at the National Incubation Center in Islamabad.
Like any founder, she too has learned a lot from her journey as the head of her company, becoming more agile, decisive, and calm through the process!
Despite being so busy with her numerous responsibilities, Aisha still finds the time to read books, meditate, and network.
Furthermore, she still has an active teaching streak, being an experienced physics and math teacher in her previous life!
Sidra is a passionate, creative, and experienced consumer insight professional who has experienced the role through market research agencies and from the clients’ perspective!
As a result of her years of experience in the field, she currently finds herself as a senior Consumer Insight Specialist at Dawlance.
Her educational background includes a master’s degree in psychology with a specialization in consumer behavior.
In her free time, she likes to engage in volunteer activities and has been associated with TCF as a mentor for roughly 4 years.
In the future, she aims to pursue a career as a Brand Consultant and run her own consultancy firm with like-minded individuals.
Fatima Hasan is an English Lecturer and storyteller from Lahore. She has been published in multiple local anthologies and holds workshops in collaboration with Lincoln’s Corner on writing.
Her passion for her profession led her to Co-Found Qissay Kahani with her partner. The startup focuses on children’s stories from the South Asian context, helping break down complex social issues for the younger generation. These include topics like the role of minorities and women in Pakistan.
This project came into being after HIVE Pakistan and the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, London, funded their first book on the role of minorities in creating a Pakistani identity.
Now, they would like to focus on other publications to augment the landscape of children’s literature in South Asia.
Dr. Arfa Masihuddin
Dr. Arfa Masihuddin is currently pursuing a Master’s in Health Policy and Management from Aga Khan University while volunteering as a member of the Board of Directors at the Amana Hasnain Health Foundation (Non-profit).
She is a physician by profession, an aspiring healthcare manager, a policymaker, a certified Innovation Consultant from the Critical Creative Innovative Thinking Forum at Aga Khan University, and an entrepreneur running an online literary startup called Walking Thoughts.
On the side, she enjoys her entrepreneurial experience at Walking Thoughts, a literary and educational house that she founded in 2018, during her fourth year of medical school. Walking Thoughts offers courses in creative writing, spoken English, and narrative medicine, amongst many others.
With extensive experience as a digital marketing manager and specialist, Aziza has worked with various national and international companies throughout her career.
She now serves as the Founder and CEO of Mountainshop.pk, a platform empowering the women of Gilgit-Baltistan to sell their products in Pakistan and beyond.
Azka Zia has degrees in European Studies alongside Foreign Service and International Relations. Her career consists of responsibilities in media, education, and the development sector, and presently, she works in artificial intelligence.
She is a published writer and believes every person in the world has the right to knowledge, which is evident through her work with Scribe Audio where she heads the Productions department. This is key to the AI speech synthesis work that the company does.
If you want to learn more about Azka, you can find her writing on her WordPress blog ‘itsmeazkaa’.
Farah Naz Ata
An internationally published researcher, Farah Naz Ata has an M.Phil in Economics from the Applied Economics Research Center (AERC) and a Gold Medal as a Master of Economics from the University of Karachi.
With 6 years of experience working in research, education, administration, and writing in institutions like the Aga Khan University Examination Board, Aga Khan University, Dow College of Biotechnology, and Collective for Social Science Research, Farah is constantly striving to improve her skills to advance in her career along with maintaining a work-life balance.
Presently, her work at the Pakistan Business Council involves policy advocacy through data analysis and thorough research.
Areej has studied economics, making her passionate about solving real-world issues. She went on to Co-Found Boltay Huroof, a platform looking to revolutionize how the blind navigate their lives by creating a braille translation software.
The platform mirrors Areej’s goals of helping the blind community realize their academic and professional dreams
Hameeda Baloch is a passionate champion of women’s education in the country, especially in less-privileged localities of Sindh. She currently owns a social enterprise called ‘Aurataaqعورتــــــــطاق_’, which is a space where women can socialize comfortably and freely. The motive was to enable them artistically and academically, allowing them to interact with books, have discussions, and explore their art.
Additionally, she has been working with The Citizens Foundation – TCF and The Walkway School – TWS to assist firms in mobilizing underprivileged communities, providing them access to top-tier education.
Khizra Sohail currently works with 10Pearls as Manager of Talent Acquisition, setting up and scaling the recruitment division across 3 geographical locations in Pakistan. Her routine engagements involve coaching a team, strategizing to bridge the talent gap, and creating accessibility of opportunities for diverse professionals in our country.
Throughout her 9-year journey, she has been a change agent for various brands primarily in the service industry, including, HRS Global, The Citizens Foundation, TPL Corp Ltd, and now a digital transformation company i.e. 10Pearls.
As a result of her passion and will to learn she wants to build a career in the tech industry while promoting the advancement of women in tech roles.
As a dedicated follower of current affairs, Maheen looks to hone her leadership skills while diving deeper into the transition from traditional to digital work practices.
A Master of Business Administration, Maheen currently works as a Deputy Director, having a career arching across Project Management and Human Resources in the government and private sector.
Maheen values integrity, honesty, and compassion above all else and she enjoys traveling and reading!
As a change agent for various brands in pharmaceuticals, investment cooperation, and e-commerce, Mearle is currently building a career in the tech industry.
A Technical Recruiter by profession, she considers herself a “people-partner”, helping her become the energetic and innovative person she is!
Apart from looking out for the best talent, and brainstorming ideas and strategies, she spends her time binge-watching shows on Netflix, raising a notorious furry terrier, and volunteering with NGOs that empower women and children!
Sarah Afreen Malik
A musical comedian with the renowned female comedy troupe Auratnaak, Sarah’s content sheds light on the pertinent social issues plaguing the country, especially those that promote the creation of regressive norms against women.
A Project Manager and Marymount University graduate, (MU) Sarah Afreen Malik is a business owner who created her own personal training fitness program, Hitit.
With Auratnaak, Sarah has performed in 2 fundraising events for the Aurat Azadi March. She also recently published her documentary on ‘Women in Public Spaces’ in collaboration with MAATI TV.
Naila Aziz is an HSE Engineer working at Engro Powergen, Thar, with a B.E from Mehran University of Engineering and technology at Jamshoro Sindh.
She actively participates in events and movements that support messages of peace and change since she considers herself a social activist.
Naila is a goal-oriented individual who hopes to bring progress through her spirit, willpower, and experience!