UZRA DAWOOD

A success story

BY SADAF AURANGZAIB
Nov 05 - 11, 2007

PAGE: Tell me a bit about your success story?

TUD: think like most stories, my company's has only just begun. Although Dawood Capital Management Ltd. has been a leading asset management company since it began operations in 2004, we are about to launch our fourth fund by the end of this year with a vision to continue to grow and expand.

My personal career path is similar in that I focus my energy on the future potential growth and opportunities in my field. We strive to be innovators and uncover new untapped markets.

PAGE: How do you define success?

TUD: The achievement of any goal or task.

PAGE: What is it that you think is the most needed thing while working towards one's goals and achievements?

TUD: Perserverence, hard work and the ability to be open to new ideas. Always know what your market wants/needs and focus on providing those services to the best possible ability.

PAGE: Living in a society like ours and having done your studies in west-how do you see the disparities between the two and how did you overcome those? How do you see the role of one's family in bringing out the best in them?

TUD: I see synergies between the West and East and feel blessed to be able to take ideas already tried in the West and adapt them for our local needs.

PAGE: Being the only woman come into the business side from Dawood's family, how do you see the role of one's family in bringing out the best in them?

TUD: A supportive family is truly a blessing from Allah. I have been blessed in that I come from a loving family that has always supported me in pursuing my dreams.

Over 50% of our population is female and is an incredible resource base for our nation. There are plenty of women in my family with MBAs and various degrees, many of whom who are working in family businesses, as well as pursuing other dreams.

PAGE: Looking at our society and the role of women specially, what modifications do you think could uplift their lives and how a common woman can work towards achieving that?

TUD: If you are specifically referring to women in the work place, I think society would benefit from more part time and flexi-time positions as this would enable more vibrant, intelligent women to join or rejoin the work force should they wish to do so. They are an incredible asset to our country. We at Dawood Capital Management Ltd. have offered such positions since our inception.

PAGE: How do you analyze the current situation at working places and organizations, is our women getting the same reward of working hard or do you think that we are still having the biased approach towards them?

TUD: There are more and more women working every year and an increasing number in positions of power. There is a still a gap world over between men and women's pay and this is a problem organizations need to address individually as well as collectively. We at Dawood Capital Management Ltd. and First Dawood Group prioritize performance, loyalty and hard work and reward accordingly, irrespective of gender.

PAGE: Kindly highlight the main problems regarding our women in our society?

TUD: This is a very difficult question to answer in as much as Pakistani women, like all women in the world, face challenges that are so varied. A woman in rural Sindh or Punjab will face different challenges than, say, a woman in Karachi or Lahore. Then there is the socio-economic aspect, what impact this has on the opportunity that is presented to women from an early age, how their outlook on life is molded by their parents. If I had to pick one though, it would be education. If you look at a female's life in Pakistan from childhood, a good education will offer so much more to the child as she goes on to womanhood, a feeling of independence, confidence in oneself and ability to provide, qualities and lessons she can and will then pass on to her daughters and granddaughters.

PAGE: Do you think that the information influx has helped women become better informed and has brought about a sense of responsibility in them?

TUD: Women have always had a very high degree of responsibility in Pakistan, we are in some ways a matriarchal society. Women generally take their responsibilities very seriously, particularly taking care of their children and parents. The influx of information has meant that perhaps women are now making informed choices, which has led to a highlighting of these responsibilities. The fact remains, the responsibility was always there.

PAGE: Now, as a woman, do you ever face challenges in your life and what are the tools with which we can better equip ourselves to get a more stable position in our lives?

TUD: Every single individual faces challenges and tests in their life and must prepare for them as best as possibly and handle them with bravery, determination and creativity. To achieve a stable position in life the one area where we can make a significant improvement is in the area of savings. We, and here I don't mean Pakistani women alone but men too, do not have the savings habit. To achieve stability we need to save. Of course our future is in the hands of Allah, but preparing for as many eventualities will provide us the chance of coping with the negatives that come our way, and revel and enjoy in the positives. We at DCM have savings options for children in the form of BABYFUND-and CHILDFUND, for women in LADIESFUND-, as savings plan exclusively for women run by women. In all three funds, women can work towards achieving stability for themselves and their children.

PAGE: How do you analyze our women with any other country's women both in their roles and responsibilities?'

TUD: Pakistani women are some of the most people and family oriented women in the world. Any woman reading this article will identify with this statement. Ami, Nani, Dadi or Khala are all potential role models for us, we take our values from them, we take our sense of belonging from them, we learn from them. This is perhaps more true of a country like Pakistan than most countries in the world where the impact of "family" is not as great. Outside the home, we remain one of the few countries in the world where we have elected a woman to the highest political post. I would say we are, by comparison to most other countries in the world, doing well - of course there is so much more that we can still do.

PAGE: Any message that you would like to give to our women?

TUD: I wish every woman reading this article the best of success in their career and life. Carpe Deum! Seize the Day!