Entrepreneurs of Pakistan
Born in a family of doctors and professionals, following a 9 to 5 timetable and having a set routine, I was expected to follow suit and that is what I envisioned for myself as well. I have a degree in Marketing from LSE but starting my own business was never a part of any plans I had for myself.
It was a spur of the moment decision and I am happy to say, that throughout my career changes, Bastay has remained that one consistent thing, which I needed.
Eldest of 4 children, I was born in a household where major emphasis was put on acquiring good education. Both my parents are disciplinarians, so it was tough as a child but I feel that it gave my life a lot of structure.
Despite being strict, my parents never pressured me to focus on a single field; in fact, they were quite flexible about it and encouraged different aspirations I had at various stages in life. The only career requirement they had from me was to at least attempt a CSS exam once in my lifetime which I never did because of my improvised professional decisions.
I’m the third girl child born to a very typical middle class family of Pakistan. Having said that, it hasn’t been easy, neither for my parents nor for us, daughters. Time and again, I have had to break stereotypes and have accomplished many ‘firsts’ in my family, gender has been an interesting aspect of my life.
I hold an MPhil degree in Business Administration (Marketing & Brand Management) from Kinnaird College and currently, I am the Founder and Director of ‘SHE’, a non-profit women empowerment campaign that celebrates womanhood in Pakistan.
My name is Mehreen but since I was a child I have been called by my nickname and what can I say, it stuck. Hardly anyone calls me by my actual name, it’s always Myne, so when I started my business, I knew what I wanted to name it. Though never a bookworm, I was a pretty gifted student all my life, topped B.Sc. and received a gold medal, before going on to get a Master’s Degree in Statistics.
The part of the country I belong from, did not have access to the world until 2004. We had to walk for three days from Shimshal Valley – Hunza to reach the Karakorum Highway. With everything so out of reach, I could have ended up anywhere but thankfully, I was fortunate enough, to get good education though community schools.
“I opened my eyes in a middle class Pakistani family and growing up, I always saw my mother and sister tackle difficult situations with positivity and that had a huge impact on me. Whenever I am in a dire situation now, instead of getting depressed, I look for a way out.
My father worked tirelessly to provide me with the best possible education and despite his efforts, there was a time when I had to take up a sales job in a shop to bear the expenses of my schooling. It was, ultimately, my father’s constant support that I was able to start my own company.
The idea for Qayaam came to me purely by luck. In sophomore year at LUMS, I put an indefinite end on my extracurricular activities, opted for courses worth 20 credit hours, it was all going to be about study that semester. As luck would have it, Hamza (co-founder), reached out to me in the same semester. We had met once at an MUN, gotten along well, even became friends on Facebook but that was the extent of it. So when he pinged me on FB, quite randomly, I was skeptical about meeting him.
My life revolves around 3Ds: Determination, Determination and Determination!
Every day is a new opportunity to better yourself but it depends, greatly, on how eager you are to progress. I have always been very passionate about exploring new things and firmly believe that one should never stop learning, because it’s like stopping the watch in order to save time.
With less than 6 months left in my graduation, unlike any other student the fear of unemployment did not take over me. The only thing that seemed logical then was, why run after jobs when you can create them? Instead of going with the flow, I planned to create waves!
“I have always followed my own mind, and truth be told, I’ve changed my idea for a career more than the bones in my body. I am passionate about so many things, it has been hard for me to tie myself down to a single thing, which is why I have learnt the art of multitasking. I took a decision pretty early on that I won’t let people’s opinions and concerns stop me from following my own path. You have to be content with yourself, and when you are, you can decide what you truly want to do.