Over the last decade we’ve witnessed many revolutionary waves on a national and global scale. From technological advancements, the growth of social media and the drastic shifts in career choices. The speed at which our society is developing has yet to fully register in many of our minds.
The one thing our editorial team agreed upon and decided to dive deeper into is the rise of female leadership in our country. It’s now without a doubt that gender equality is becoming more real than ever before. With more female leaders making their way up corporate rankings, starting businesses and running for office, it only made sense for us to find the perfect candidate to discuss this subject with today.
Saba Ishaq is from Houston, Texas, and has a massive resume of accomplishments that highly intrigued our team. Saba was accepted into the C.T Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston with a 4.0 GPA during her transition from college to university. Not only was she the first woman in her family to successfully obtain a Business degree, but she willingly chose to take the traditional route of attending college rather than following her father’s entrepreneurial footsteps. Over the course of her career, Saba has mentored hundreds of students at the University of Houston C.T Bauer College of Business. Saba has been able to do this through the Universities career panels which bolsters an attendance of 700 + students. Saba is also one of the youngest females to obtain a Lean Six Sigma Certification.
Aside from her achievements in the academian scope, Saba started her own online businesses by utilizing her skill set she obtained from her corporate jobs. When asked about having a foot in each door, Saba said “Being an Entrepreneur doesn’t mean you can’t do both – having a 9-5 job and a side business, especially when you tap into your skill sets and add it to something you are passionate about. It wasn’t only tapping into my skill set and experience, a lot of it was using the work ethic that I had developed along the way that really gave me the discipline & confidence to push forth with my endeavors. Working corporate really pushes you to become an accountable individual, take ownership, learn how to be an effective communicator, and it helps you discover your own potential. In my opinion, this is what I call life making a full circle through bringing a unique intentional purpose into this world by combining your working experience and work ethic to something you love and are passionate about. You would be surprised how much value you bring to others when you define your passions and put it to purpose, regardless of the route you take to achieve it.”
Today we’re revealing a set of questions and answers our team had the opportunity to ask Saba over the past 2 weeks.
(LAT): I’m sure you’re well aware that the media these days has been down playing the importance of attending college and receiving a degree. Because you’ve been able to witness both sides of the spectrum, can you give us your thoughts on this?
(Saba Ishaq): We are now considered the first “digital” generation living in society where instant gratification has become indispensable. I can see the opposition to scholastic academia simply because the “digital” generation has outgrown the traditional curriculums that fosters today’s economy. The media does a great job by providing vast amounts of free and accessible information on how to navigate the numerous avenues within our digital economy whereas traditional academia hasn’t been as robust and as easily accessible. As an individual who is a cross between the two worlds, in my opinion, I believe that traditional academia does harness valuable & essential skills that are imperative to individualized success.
The media offers compartmentalized learnings or “drip-feed learning” – for example, “Learn how to invest” one day and the next day learn about “Best ways to discipline yourself to achieve your goals” or “Here’s 10 ways to be an effective communicator”. Whereas traditional academia takes a more all-encompassing approach where you learn and grow simultaneously. Obtaining a college degree does open the minds of students by teaching them how-to learn different schools of thought & the alternate approaches within our global economy rather than focusing on one aspect.
I recently took a poll on my social media account asking individuals about the significance of receiving a college degree versus not. Through pages of responses & results (thank you all who participated! I told you I was working on something!), the results were seemingly neck and neck. For the majority of the responses that emphasized the significance of obtaining a degree, they also mentioned that the current & future workforce is beginning to create more barriers around employing only those who have pertinent college degrees. Many also expressed their contentment for choosing their career path and some even stated they may not use what they learned in college/university, however, it definitely served as a stepping stone in their career. Now on the other spectrum of the virtual debate where the significance of obtaining a degree is seen as being superfluous, many shared the alternative ways they pursued their career paths, all of which emphasized the need to cultivate a strong individualized skill set and work ethic. After thoroughly understanding each side of the spectrum through the poll responses, I am hesitant to say that they are in any way opposing. In fact, I resulted in finding opportunities within the “oppositions”. Both sides of the responses identified gaps the other didn’t which could be used on a grander scale to merge the two viewpoints to develop more robust and dynamic next generation learning programs.
At the end of the day, it’s really about understanding your strengths, how your mind works and how it aligns logically against what you want to do and how it can bring value to the world we live in. I am a firm believer of “you can’t make a fish climb a tree”, you owe it to yourself to do your own research and find synergies within your strengths, personality, and capability to make an informed decision on the career path you choose to take. Whether it’s to be an entrepreneur or to pursue a traditional career path, truly understand what you want, how you’re going to get there, and how you’ll continue to thrive upon your arrival.
(LAT): That’s an amazing point you’ve made there. One we haven’t exactly heard before. Your point of view on the subject is thoroughly detailed, and we can appreciate that. It makes it tough to debate. This being said, may I ask how you personally differentiate yourself from others?
(Saba Ishaq): I keep my eyes on myself, maintain a refining my state of mind to push myself to not only find my potential but to evolve it as well. I do so by not allowing myself to be concerned with what others are doing. This helps me stay true to myself and cultivate a life that not only brings value to myself, but others around me as well. Also, I do not allow myself to “just scratch the surface” of whatever it is that I work on both professionally or personally. I always ask myself how I can make what I am working on more innovative, future forward and “next-level”.
The best way to differentiate myself, is by not trying to differentiate myself, rather just being myself more and moreso. Whether you (who is reading this) choose to believe or not, but every single person is extremely unique and knowing so can be a differentiating factor in itself. There’s room for everyone at the table.
(LAT): Now that’s food for thought. The culmination of your thought process is vastly unique, so I must ask how you deal with others insisting that an idea you have may not work?
(Saba Ishaq): I stop and pause and give a genuine hear on their opposition, I try to understand their dimension of thought and find synergies in between the various viewpoints and use it to make an even more well-rounded decision. I take advantage of the various perspectives to help me make more informed decisions.
(LAT): What skills have you learned during your career that you use in your everyday life?
(Saba Ishaq): First I would like to start by making one thing clear, there is no one way to learn anything in life. You can learn the same thing in a thousand different ways. I would definitely say that I tap into my analytical skill set shamelessly the most. I dive into the details, and the world of things, and try to make the most spot-on decisions within my capacity.
(LAT): Well said. Do you accredit any of your professional inspiration from other women? Tell us about someone who has inspired you.
(Saba Ishaq): I undoubtedly definitely do (lol read it out loud, it sounds funny) draw inspiration from all the women around me. From my mother, sisters (and one awesome brother!), friends, colleagues and even women I have merely crossed paths with, I have learned so much from each and every single one of them. I am super grateful for the bond I have made with the strong and intelligent women in my life, it has made me who I am today.
(LAT): Amazing. Hi Mom! Can’t forget the shoutout! Moving along, as a female who navigated through the educational system and into the corporate world, what are some obstacles you feel you faced because of your gender?
(Saba Ishaq): Although I have worked for amazing companies which are not a reflection of the organization in any way, I sadly have come across frictional obstacles even while working under female leadership. They would doubt me before knowing all that I can contribute and add-value to. It’s not only about women supporting women, it’s more than that. It’s about supporting each other regardless of gender and sharpening your emotional intelligence enough to understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.
(LAT): I love that so much! I couldn’t agree more with you. What would you tell young women who are just starting to work? What would you like them to know?
(Saba Ishaq): I would tell them to start-off with an “I am going to do my absolute best” mentality and give it their 100%. Become a sponge and learn as much as you can, trust me it will pay off even when it doesn’t seem like it. If that doesn’t work, then find the more enjoyable parts of your job and harness that into a guiding and leading interest that you can express with the company you work for. Yet still, if that doesn’t work, then you owe it to yourself to work diligently, and hard enough to strive to find what you do love. This is how someone can find their purpose which in return can bring value into our modern day society.
(LAT): What is some advice you would like to share with young women entering a male-dominated profession?
(Saba Ishaq): Show em’ how we can do it and do it better. Because in reality; business processes and the way the global economy conducts business is ever-changing, so regardless if a female is chosen to do the job, or a male, it’s really about how you’re going to add more value outside of just meeting the bare expectations by empowering yourself enough to do so.
(LAT): All of us here are in 100% agreement with you on that. Success is based on the amount of merit one develops over the years of building one’s self. Regardless of gender, the value of the person will derive from their past decisions, experiences, and accomplishments. Saba, it’s been an absolute pleasure to briefly pick your mind today on this topic, and we hope to do another piece with you again in the future. You have an extremely unique and well-built perspective on this topic, and I think it’s safe to assume that you would on other subjects as well. We hope to see you more on social media sharing more insights for all of us to consume!
For all the readers interested in learning more about Saba, you can find her social media platform at the following link:
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