Please tell us about your 17-year career path and growth
I started work after my math graduation, prior to my BSE degree, couple of months shy of completion. British American Tobacco (BAT) USA was running a college recruitment programme and approached me. Back then most BSE would go to Silicon Valley, work in chip design. I don’t know why I took the job at BAT as Management Trainee, but I realised I was the first from Asia to work for BAT USA. I worked at BAT for eight years, until it became monotonous. I moved on to Sun Trust Bank as PMO Operation Manager, and at present I am the Vice President at the bank and a Director of HR Kites.
How do you balance work and personal life?
I am a workaholic. I appreciate my husband for being supportive and understanding. I usually work 16-18 hours a day. I also love to cook for my family when I am home.
What is missing in Bangladeshi professionals that leadership positions of MNCs are usually held by expatriates?
There is nothing missing in Bangladeshi professionals, they need training. We have capable people with right mind-set, attitude, and desire. Everyone wants to do well on a global standard. We only need to build on our strengths.
Where did you spend your childhood?
In my childhood, I lived in various places. I did my A level and O level in Bangladesh. In between we moved to Malaysia and Thailand. By teenage years I had settled in US.
Any advice to young and new leaders?
Dream big and be confident about yourself. Don’t give up too easily. If you stick with your dreams, it will come true. It’s very important not to get side-tracked, because distractions will come often. Stay focused.
Tell us a little more about your mission in Bangladesh.
We just started with a vision to build better-trained and skilled leaders to global standards. It’s of a seamless process of bringing global standards to local contexts.
Tell us aobut the transition of international best practices in local industries.
The need and response is present. There is scope of being identified, and certified. Getting recognised by global industries is all that remains.
Tell us something that your friends do not know about you, a secret apart from your career that makes you different.
I wanted to pursue the recitiation of Bangla poetry.
Who is a good leader?
A good leader is one who can lead themselves well with a strong mind-set. Dr Yunus, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mendela and Mother Teressa are very good leaders.
Any favourite quote?
“Live and let live.”
What’s next in your career?
I’m sure whatever I do it will have social context.