woman @ work
Tazeen Shahid, Chief Human Resources Officer, Jubilee Life Insurance Company Limited, has an elaborate experience of over 20 years with different reputable companies. She has done bachelors in mathematics, statistics and economics and MBA in banking and finance from Institute of Business Administration. “I don’t have a degree in Human Resources, as I never thought that I would be working in HR. My first job was in HR and I realised that I really love the field and have worked in HR since then,” shares Tazeen.
“I started my career with Standard Chartered Bank in HR. Over the years, my experience has been across a diverse range of industries including banking, chemical and life insurance. This diversity has given me a wealth of experience and invaluable insights and learnings,” she adds.
Tazeen has been recognised for her contributions to the field of HR and is a part of the organising the committee of CONNEX; a combined effort by Pakistan Society for Training and Development (PSTD) and Pakistan Society of Human Resource Management (PSHRM) that aims to revolutionise the way Human Resource operates in Pakistan.
She has also served as the Head of Karachi Chapter PSHRM in 2016 and is now part of its executive committee where she dedicatedly volunteers her time to uplift and improve HR practices in Pakistan. In an exclusive interview with You! Tazeen talks about her work and experiences in the field of Human Resources…
You! Not many women are on senior positions in HR. What skills are most important for this field?
Tazeen Shahid: Not many women are in senior positions anywhere, period. There is a need for us to witness the rise of more women in leadership roles including the C suite. In terms of the most important skills for a successful HR professional, irrespective of gender, I would say that strong communication and peoples’ skills come first.
You! What are your current areas of focus?
TS: As the head of the HR function, all areas of human resource management are critical for me. However, I personally feel most passionate about digitalising the overall HR infrastructure, while at the same time up skilling the work force to make them more tech savvy by leveraging modern technologies. This is the only way for growth to be strong and sustainable, both for the company and its employees.
You! Being a woman at a senior position, what kind of challenges do you encounter?
TS: When it comes to gender or the fact that I am a woman in a man’s world, I have been fortunate not to have faced any challenges that I could not handle.
You! What do you like most about your job?
TS: My job comes with a unique set of responsibilities and duties. It is a function that is critical to the fundamentals of any organisation. As such, the most fascinating prospect for me is the opportunity to make a difference and to create a positive impact through what I do. In order to achieve this to a substantial extent, I believe in opening windows of opportunities for people that keep them motivated while also enabling them to develop a sense of purpose within themselves.
You! What are some of the perks of being an employee of a known company?
TS: For me, the most rewarding aspect is the ability to work with some extremely talented individuals who are experts in their fields. Every day I learn and grow as an individual and as a professional.
You! What are the main issues, in your eyes, being faced by Pakistani women today?
TS: In my opinion, the biggest challenge for women of today is that they lack appropriate representation. Whether it is in the professional field or in personal lives, women need to have a voice. At the same time, they should also have financial independence.
You! What’s the recipe of being successful professionally in any field?
TS: Hard work and the drive to continuously learn and improve yourself is my recipe for guaranteed success. In order to excel in any field whatsoever, you need a combination of these ingredients, which include hard work, dedication, a willingness to learn and adapt, and a strong sense of purpose and direction.
You! What are the positive points of being economically independent?
TS: The points are numerous including having greater control over one’s own life, the ability to make decisions based on personal goals and aspirations, and the ability to contribute to one’s family and community in meaningful ways.
You! What is the most important advice you can give to women?
TS: To never stop learning and growing, and to never give up on their dreams and aspirations. Coupled with this, my strong recommendation is that everyone must put aside something every month for the future, and a life insurance policy is really a sound saving for the future.
You! What is your most treasured possession?
TS: My family. Success, wealth and fame all come and go but there is only one fundamental element that remains constant, and that is your family. Their support through thick and thin gives you the ability to fall, get up and start going once again.
You! What did you like to read when you were a little girl?
TS: As a little girl, I was an avid reader. My favourite author was Enid Blyton. She is one of the most prolific writers in the world; her books are adventure-oriented filled with mystery to the brim. Her gripping plots and beloved characters were what captivated me the most.
You! What is the biggest relationship lesson you have learnt so far?
TS: Relationships are delicately balanced. For me, the biggest lesson learnt is to always try to see the other person’s perspective and point of view. Before you respond, put yourself in their shoes and then assess the situation.
You! Do you think general mind-set of our society is changing with regard to working women?
TS: Indeed, it is changing. Young girls entering the workplace nowadays are more focused and driven. And as a result, the shift in conventional perspectives is becoming a common phenomenon. Pakistani society has started to accept and respect working women as female representation is being witnessed in different sectors/industries, now. In fact companies prefer offering equal opportunity to get the best talent on board, while at the same time, the scope of work for women is expanding.
You! What does a typical day look like for you?
TS: A typical day is one during which I have to juggle and wear multiple hats. From being a member of my family with various relations to becoming a leader, a colleague and a team member in my organisation, there is unique diversity spread throughout any day in my life. Luckily, I have a wonderful support system that makes everything easy to manage.
You! How do you keep a balance between family life and work?
TS: This is one of the questions that I get asked a lot. Being both a woman and a leading executive, there are definitely some challenges but I’ve learnt that one needs to learn to prioritise. There are times when my work takes precedence and vice versa. The key is to always strike a balance. I always make sure that the scales don’t tip, i.e. work never allows family to be compromised and the same for the other way round.
You! Your philosophy of life:
TS: Not to hold on to grudges, stay positive and love whatever you do.
You! How do you unwind?
TS: I like gardening. I love to spend time in nature.