In this latest series of articles, we are publishing interviews of some incredible women who are part of the tech industry or the broader STEM fields.
In these interviews, you will find women working on solving real-world problems, breaking stereotypes and creating the next big impact on the industry. This series of interviews shows that even with the lowest rate of women participation in the labor market in Pakistan, there are still lots of smart women who are creating and using technology to work wonders.
Today, we are featuring Sukaina Abbas. Read on to know more about her work and get inspired.
Tell us a little about yourself, your background, your education, and your work.
Although a software engineer by degree, I had been a homemaker and mother until I started Enchanté, designing and selling silver jewelry online. Covering this long-distance was made easy with the help of essential courses like the WomenX, a World Bank-sponsored initiative aimed at training women entrepreneurs the basics of running a business and the Mentorship program of The Cherie Blair Foundation UK. The latest addition to the skillset is a Jewelry Designing Course from Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Enchanté wasn’t a planned journey, but I believe now that it was destined to be. After completing five years, I am proud that Enchanté has progressed into a successful growing brand with a vision.
What are your future plans/aspirations? What impact it will have on the community/society/your team/your project?
I strongly believe that the path is always challenging, nothing is easy especially something that you start from scratch. But It is important to ensure that each experience adds to the learning process, In the end, it’s all about creating something you can put your heart in, something that’s a source of joy not just for you but for others. For me, it’s an absolute joy to be a small part of other people’s special moments by making memorable gifts they can cherish a lifetime.
Enchanté is aiming to be a GIA certified jewelry designer brand in the near future. We also hope to contribute to the flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem by actively supporting and mentoring other brands who have just started their journey.
Please brag about your career accomplishments, what are the things you are really proud of?
I think stepping out of my comfort zone at a point in life, where there was much uncertainty and venturing out in unknown territory is an accomplishment anyone can be proud of. I believe that my degree in Software Engineering didn’t go waste despite the fact that I didn’t pursue a career in the industry. Education never goes waste! It has helped me run my business better than I could have imagined. Learning is an ongoing process; enhancing the skill set is what makes the difference.
What has been your best education/career decision and why?
I firmly believe that things fall into place at the time they are meant to be and perhaps starting “Enchanté” has been of them. It happened at a point where life had shown its unpredictability and way forward was not so clear. Looking back now, I see that Enchanté brought out the best of my potential enabling me to make an impact in my life and those around me.
What’re the best lessons you’ve learned?
Now that’s a tough one because there are quite a few but to sum it up briefly, I have learned that life always moves on and what doesn’t break you, makes you stronger. I have learnt that kindness, compassion and good values are above everything else.
Which woman inspires you and why?
There is a list of women who inspire me and what all these women have in common is their unwavering determination and courage to never give up. In particular and without any biases, Faiza Yousuf (Founder WomenInTechPK) has influenced me deeply as a lot of other women around her. She is one of the few Pakistani women who are breaking glass ceilings, bringing change through their work and empowering other females selflessly.
Do you think Pakistan has changed as a society, in terms of accepting career-oriented women? What needs to change to help more women come forward?
Yes! absolutely! I feel there is a change in the narrative of Pakistani society in terms of acceptance because of the awareness raised about providing equal opportunities for women. However, I believe we still have a long way to go in terms of gender-biased discrimination including salaries, promotions, maternity leave/benefits.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
The coming generation although lucky to have double the opportunities we did, will face the daunting task of making an impact in the saturated fields which will be much more competitive than the present times.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry/business, what would it be?
Encourage the setup of Research centers and facilities in the country. Unfortunately, not only do we lack behind, but our industry doesn’t facilitate research. I hope that one day we realize that the only way to lead forward in this rapidly changing world is to advance in the field of Technology Research.
How can WomenInTechPK help you and other women?
WomenInTechPK is a strong, interactive support system for women like me who are actively seeking guidance and counseling. I believe the biggest support WomenInTechPK can give to women in the Tech Industry is providing a platform where their issues are not only heard without prejudice but solutions are offered as well. In our male-dominated society, having a community that has your back is absolutely fantastic!
You can follow Sukaina Abbas using her profiles below, and please do not hesitate in hiring her for your next project.