“Bouncing back stronger is what defines success” – Arshia Ahmad Saquib

By Gul Nasreen
Tue, 05, 24

In an exclusive interview with You! this HR pro shares her experiences with our readers. Read on...

“Bouncing back stronger is what defines success” – Arshia Ahmad Saquib

woman @ work

Arshia Ahmad Saquib is an accomplished HR generalist with a rich tapestry of experience spanning over two decades across various industries, including FMCG, automotive engineering, telecom, hospitality, and financial institutions. With a strong foundation in HR philosophy, Arshia has played a pivotal role in driving strategic initiatives across organisations. Her areas of specialisation encompass compensation framework, people and culture, employee relations, talent management, diversity, strategy and structures, HR policy, engagement, and capability development. Throughout her career journey, Arshia has earned invaluable insights and expertise in many HR domains, positioning her as a trusted leader in her field.

Collaborating closely with leadership teams, Arshia, as a Vice President, Talent and Culture, Engro Corporation, cultivates a diverse and engaging employee environment, fostering a shared commitment to the company’s mission as a through impactful human capital strategies. With her wealth of experience and dynamic leadership style, Arshia assures to make significant contributions to her organisation seeking to optimise its human capital and drive sustainable growth in today’s competitive business landscape. In an exclusive interview with You! this HR pro shares her experiences with our readers. Read on...

You! Not many women are on senior positions in HR. What skills do you think are important for women to excel in the field of HR?

Arshia Ahmad Saquib: Having navigated my own career journey, I’ve come to understand that success in HR isn’t about fitting into a predefined mould but about embracing our unique strengths, regardless of gender. Skills like empathy, communication, and adaptability are universal in building strong HR leadership. However, it’s no secret that women often face barriers in reaching senior positions. By championing inclusivity and providing opportunities for all, we not only enrich our HR practices but also cultivate a workplace where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their best.

You! What has it been like to be a woman in a leadership position?

AAS: Being a woman in a leadership position has been both challenging and rewarding. It has allowed me to bring unique perspectives and make a meaningful impact in driving positive change within my organisation and beyond. I’ve encountered obstacles and biases along the way, but I’ve also been fortunate to break barriers and pave the way for others.

You! What are your current areas of focus?

AAS: My current focus is on championing diversity and inclusion in corporate boardrooms. Additionally, I remain dedicated to advocating for healthier lifestyles, aiming to inspire positive changes that benefit individuals and communities.

You! Does your organisation promote gender equality?

AAS: Absolutely. It is integral to our core values within our organisation. We are deeply committed to promoting equal opportunities, fair treatment, and inclusive policies that empower individuals of all genders to thrive and succeed.

“Bouncing back stronger is what defines success” – Arshia Ahmad Saquib

You! What do you like most about your job?

AAS: Solving complex challenges, fostering growth, and contributing to the success of our organisation brings me immense satisfaction.

You! Being a woman, what kinds of challenges do you encounter?

AAS: As a woman in leadership, I’ve navigated challenges from the outset, entering a landscape where female representation was scarce. Establishing credibility while balancing roles, particularly as a parent, has been a continuous journey.

You! What are the main issues, in your eyes, being faced by Pakistani women today?

AAS: Pakistani women continue to confront deep-rooted gender disparities, inadequate representation in leadership roles, and alarming rates of gender-based violence. Addressing these issues requires systemic change, including promoting education, empowering women economically, and fostering a culture of respect and equality.

You! What’s the recipe of being successful professionally in any field?

AAS: Success in any field isn’t a cookie-cutter formula, but there are essential elements that pave the way. Firstly, find your passion and pursue it relentlessly. Never underestimate the power of continuous learning. Resilience is key - setbacks are inevitable, but bouncing back stronger is what defines success. Flexibility is crucial in today’s ever-changing world. Embrace change, innovate, and stay ahead of the game. And don’t overlook the importance of building strong relationships. Networking opens doors and provides invaluable support. Above all, integrity is non-negotiable. Uphold honesty and ethics in all endeavours.

You! What are the positive points of being economically independent?

AAS: It’s not just about having a steady income; it’s about having the freedom to pursue our passions, invest in our growth, and chase our dreams without limitations. For me, it’s been a game-changer, opening doors I never knew existed and empowering me to make choices that align with my values and aspirations.

“Bouncing back stronger is what defines success” – Arshia Ahmad Saquib

You! What is the most important advice you can give to women?

AAS: The most important advice I can give to women is to believe in themselves and their abilities wholeheartedly. Trust in your unique strengths and talents, and never doubt your potential to make a difference.

You! What is the biggest relationship lesson you have learnt so far?

AAS: The biggest relationship lesson I have learned is to cherish the small moments because they’re often the ones that hold the most meaning and significance. In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to overlook these fleeting moments, but they are the threads that weave the fabric of our relationships. Whether it’s a shared laugh, a heartfelt conversation, or a simple gesture of kindness, these are the moments that create lasting bonds and memories. So, I have come to realise the importance of being present, appreciating the beauty in the ordinary, and savouring every moment with loved ones because, in the end, it’s these moments that truly define the richness of our relationships.

You! Do you think general mind-set of our society is changing towards working women?

AAS: Indeed, there has been a noticeable shift in societal attitudes towards working women. We’re increasingly recognising the significant contributions they make not only in the workplace but also in broader society. There is a gradual move away from traditional gender roles, with more emphasis on meritocracy and equal opportunities for all. While we’ve made strides, there’s still much to be done.

You! What does a typical day look like for you?

AAS: Mornings usually start early with some personal time for reflection, setting a positive tone for the day ahead. My days are often filled with meetings, both internal and external, covering a wide range of topics from strategic planning to team collaborations. Throughout the day, I’m constantly engaged in discussions, decision-making processes, and problem-solving, all while keeping a close eye on industry trends and developments.

Of course, no day is complete without taking time for self and family. Whether it’s enjoying a meal with loved ones or unwinding with a good book, finding balance amidst a busy schedule is crucial for maintaining productivity and well-being.

You! How do you keep a balance between family life and work?

AAS: Balancing family life and work is a constant juggling act. It’s about making tough choices and prioritising what truly matters in the moment. Sometimes work demands more of my time, and sometimes, it’s all about being there for my family. I’ve learned to be okay with imperfection and to let go of the guilt that often accompanies trying to ‘do it all’.

You! How do you unwind?

AAS: Taking time for myself, whether it’s a quiet moment with a book or a weekend spa getaway, is essential for maintaining my sanity and being the best version of myself for my loved ones and my career.

You! Your philosophy of life:

AAS: My philosophy of life is rooted in the belief that success is not just about achieving professional milestones, but also about finding fulfillment in every aspect of life. It’s about cherishing relationships, nurturing passions, and staying true to oneself amidst the whirlwind of challenges and opportunities.