The LUMS Alumni Office joined hands with the Islamic Microfinance Network (IMFN) on the evening of Wednesday, April 11, 2017 for a session with renowned social entrepreneur, and LUMS alumna, Fiza Farhan, BSc 2007.
Farhan, who was featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of Social Entrepreneurs in 2015, and again in the Forbes Asia List of 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs in 2016, opened the session with a spin on the general practice, and requested the students and alumni in attendance to introduce themselves before she gave her own introduction. After a cheerful introduction about her family background and academic journey, Farhan told the attendees that she would speak to them like a LUMS student chatting with friends.
“The purpose of this talk is to share with you my story from being a LUMS student to becoming an entrepreneur,” she said. “I’m going to tell you my own story in my own words.”
After completing her undergraduate degree at LUMS, Farhan shared that she went on to get her Master’s in Entrepreneurship from the Warwick Business School. She expressed that upon her return to Pakistan, she had no idea of what she wanted to do and who she wanted to be, but she inherently knew that she wanted to do something impactful.
Farhan gave an overview of her professional journey thus far, from becoming the youngest CEO of a microfinance institute in Pakistan when she became the CEO of Buksh Foundation, to being the Director of Buksh Energy Private Limited, and having it become the first solar energy provider in the country.
With regard to how influential her time at LUMS was to her professional success, Farhan expressed that the rigorous academic life at LUMS played an integral role in making her the hardworking professional that she is today.
“Nothing seems difficult when you get out of LUMS,” she said. “LUMS prepares you for the world, and when you graduate you’re ready for everything.”
Today Farhan represents Pakistan on the United Nation’s Secretary General’s first ever High Level Panel on Women Economic Empowerment, and she’s the Chairperson to Chief Minister of Punjab’s Task Force on Women Empowerment. Having become an expert in the field of social enterprise, and an immensely successful leader at such a young age, Farhan is undoubtedly an inspiration to the entire LUMS community. Shedding light on how she’s reached such a high level of accomplishment, Farhan said that her greatest strength had always been to listen to her inner voice and go against the tide of convention and society.
“When someone says it’s impossible, that’s when you start trying to make it possible,” she said.
All eyes and ears were on Farhan as she motivated the audience to identify what they are passionate about and pursue that. She urged the attendees to suppress their weakness and doubts, to keep striving for what they believe in, and to form their own path.
The evening concluded with an interactive Q&A session, at the end of which Farhan left the audience with a few final words of inspiration.
“Do not compromise any of your desires, aspirations and ambitions for anyone else, be it whoever,” she said.