Exclusive Interview with Asma Ahmad – Founder, Zaha Experience | #inspiring #women #entrepreneur

Exclusive Interview with Asma Ahmad – Founder, Zaha Experience | #inspiring #women #entrepreneur

when you come across the challenge set
your mind and heart on the mission of figuring out a solution and you’ll
eventually definitely figure out a Solution my name is Asma Ahmad and I’d like to
tell you more about where I’m coming from in life mentally rather than
physically, so my life experience has drastically shaped by every intense
incident that I have to go through along with my parents at the age of seven, when
they had to migrate from Kuwait back to Palestine because of war and on the top
of the financial hardship that we had to go through
they were socially judged because we have developed some sort of different
mannerisms abroad and no matter how hard you try to be part of the system, you
will be always judged or excluded so because of that I lost myself to
studying as if I was searching for a way to prove my worthiness to others, so I
was among the top ten in Palestine for the high school and because of that I
managed to get a full scholarship and studied Computer Information Technology
Palestine, I rushed through because I wanted to escape the environment, go
abroad and explore and I moved to the city I was working as supply chain
officer for one of the Procter & Gamble suppliers in Palestine and I was working
non-stop for two years to get a scholarship and I managed to land a free
scholarship at one of the top four business schools in the UK. There I
experienced isolation of higher intensity. I was the only one coming from
the Middle East and I had some sort of interest from others that I was not used
to, so I resorted to myself, I closed myself from interacting with my colleagues
and I wanted to drop out to be honest but then because of a promise I made to
my mom, I pushed myself through and I started to share with others my
construct, what I made of, my own interpretation of my own culture and
unconsciously I have curated the safe space for others to come and share their
own interpretation about their cultures and where they’re coming from in life. And because of that transformation I was nominated at shortlisted for the Women of the Future award along with other for ladies at the UK level.
That experience has taught me the power of empathy, allowing myself to be fully
seen and even building this proactiveness turn about other people
and learned from them so I went back to Palestine I joined the consultancy
industry one of the big four and I moved with them to the Gulf, I lathered up in
no time and I would say more of a male-dominated
profession, but I was focusing on three key areas, empowering the team focusing
on the priority accounts across the region and building a practice that has
a complete alignment with the company overall quality management procedures.
I carried on doing this until July 2017 I have always had this interest to learn
about other people I’ve been always intrigued to explore the otherness of
others first because I was judged by others, so I had that curiosity to
explore their construct and what they are made of and then because when my parents
went back to Palestine they lost everything and I’ve realized at the very
young age that safety does not come from lathering up and the companies it
doesn’t come from owning or accumulating wealth, it should come from within and it
comes when we build our capacity to manage life challenges to be able to
manage my life challenges I used to refer to people who looked completely
different than me to have access to their knowledge reservoir and learn from
them so I can better manage my life experiences but I’ve never had the
courage to pursue my true calling until in 2017 my life seemed very perfect I
was engaged I was doing very well my in career and then all of sudden of course
I designed because I wanted to invest in establishing a family, then my
father fell seriously sick and I broke up with my fiance and my security system
shattered and there I had no choice but to resort to myself and understand why I
was emotionally triggered and I started to think I want to build that authentic
power that comes from within and I started to go out there and explore the
cultures that are within each one of us I have been always fascinated by the
sophistication of my friends though they’re coming from very simple
background, they hardly finished their fourth grade both of them my father has
been always a farmer a shepherd I climbed the mountains with him proudly
but he has he still has this norm of not allowing people and they come to our
house talk about others. So I grew up not judging others and minding my own
business and the second source of inspiration to me is my mom, to me she is
an icon for perseverance perseverance to me is consistency
in faith Drive and hard work the way she embraced us after the Gulf War,
the way she enabled us to dream and dream big
has been a source of inspiration to me there is an equivalent to faith in Arabic called the kind of faith that is instilled in every single bit of your body and I’ve learned that from her so we are all aware of the strong
migration movement that the world has been experiencing or witnessing recently
and we’re referring to both the domestic movement where people migrate from the
villages to the city searching for a better you know life condition or a
migrating from one country to another to escape from wars and the business of the
new places might not allow the new newcomers to integrate wills so as a
result of that there is ignorance social isolations, some sort of loneliness and
most importantly judgment that is limiting our capacity to relate to each
other and learn from each other and even tackle challenges at the bigger scale and
this is specifically which Zaha addresses the challenges that are resulting from
such cultural and social shift and the world. What Zaha is, Zaha to us is a journey of
a cultural movement in the form of a platform that taps into the intangible
heritage of cultures in a way that would enable communities to become more
culturally intelligent, to become more prepared to absorb and welcome and
embrace the newcomers. We do so through developing experiences that tap into the
individual culture, there are four levels of culture, the culture of a country,
culture of a region or a city organizational culture and individual
culture which is basically how our personal experiences shaping our
interpretation of the other three levels of culture. So what we do at Zaha, we
explore the culture that is within each one of us in a way that would allow us
to present different examples from the same culture or country and this way we
hopefully have bliss and less stereotyping and generalizing and by
focusing on the emotional and human aspects of the cultures we allow another
kind of a new dimension of our culture to the culture of humanity to evolve
the second aspect which I would say describes the uniqueness of Zaha
basically that we document the experiences, we kind of document the
interpretation of the intangible heritage of cultures and we share under different
themes that would enhance the financial and learning sustainability of the model
the model is aligned with the agenda of the key stakeholders in the area of
cultural expression, inclusion, tolerance so hopefully we will be getting them
soon on board to join forces and take Zaha to the next level Zaha has taught me to build the
courage to refer to people and ask for help
so I have been referring to the consultants I have worked with
previously I’m tapping into their own intelligence in the area of branding,
finance, accounting, design to help me figure out certain aspects of the model
we are also building a network of guardians which are basically
high-profile will accomplished people who have done it themselves building
something meaningful for the world and we refer to them once every six months
we get thirty minutes of the focused attention to update them on the
challenges and progress and we are building also a network of Zaha Advocates,
kind of a brand ambassadors who would help us to spread the word about the Zaha
and get more people joining us to take it to the next level I’d like to share more of lessons
learned with entrepreneurs as humans irrespective of their gender because
I’ve never actually pursued life thinking that I’ll earn less or have
less because of because I am a female even if the situations of life present
themselves to me in a gender-based context, so I would say first look at
life through the lens of attention when you come across a challenge, set your
mind and heart on the mission of figuring out the solution and you’ll
eventually definitely figure out a solution I would say confusion is an
inevitable part of the entrepreneurial process for journey so when you come
across confusion again look at it that is as undeciphered beauty it’s an
opportunity for you to get to know yourself more and tap into your
intelligence and bring your consciousness to the next level.
The moment you sense that there’s something that speaks to your heart
that speaks to your being, don’t ignore that calling listen to it and try to
build something interesting around it when people criticize have empathy for
them because it’s your true calling the seeds of it are planted in your soul
you see things other can’t see and I would say there’s a secret
I wake up to each and every day it says I am enough and so you are
Thank You!

One Reply to “Exclusive Interview with Asma Ahmad – Founder, Zaha Experience | #inspiring #women #entrepreneur

  1. Hope you've liked the conversation and found it motivational. If so, don't keep it to yourself, share the it further, especially with women and girls in your circle who are hustling their way forward.

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