AYESHA ASHRAF JANGDA
SECTION HEAD, TRAINING & ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT BANKISLAMI PAKISTAN LIMITED
I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan in a family, where education was a priority and girls were sent to school. I did my primary education from The City School and my secondary education from Senior Oxford School. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to one of the best colleges at that time, the Commecs Institute of Business Education (CIBE). I was able to attain one of the top 3 positions in school and college exams, quite a few times. In my Higher Secondary School Certificate examination, I achieved the 15th position in the Board exams.
My generation was the first of my family in which girls went to university. I was a hardworking and focused student and it paid off. I went to one of the best business schools of the country, the prestigious Institute of Business Administration (IBA), for my Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) and Master in Business Administration (MBA) degrees.
In my immediate family, girls of my generation were also the first ones to step into the corporate world and pursue professional career.
When I graduated from IBA back in December 2001, finding a job was quite difficult because 9/11 had just happened and the world was in state of crisis. However, I did find a position in the finance department of Pakistan Industrial Development Cooperation (PIDC). Later, I switched to AKD Securities, a brokerage house, as an analyst for their research desk and for few months also worked as an equity dealer for their retail clients. In a job search as a research analyst in a mutual fund company for eventually led me to where I am today. In August 2003, I came across a chance to work towards launching an Islamic bank. The Islamic bank didn’t exist at that time and the position offered was of an analyst who would assist in the development of a business plan for the project. It was a unique opportunity witnessing the establishing an Islamic Bank and this pivotal decision continues to have a profound impact on my career.
January 1, 2004 marked my first day at that Islamic bank project. One of the main sponsors of the Bank, Jahangir Siddiqui & Company, provided a desk in an office space shared with their investment banking team. Alhamdulillah, I was fortunate enough to have worked with Mr. Hasan A Bilgrami, the founding President and CEO of BankIslami Pakistan Limited. It is due to his efforts and support that I became one of the first employees of the Bank and a pivotal member of the founding team.
The foundation laid in the formative years of the bank has led BankIslami to become a major player in Pakistan’s Islamic banking sector. I was involved in the listing of BankIslami on the stock exchange of the country, BankIslami’s acquisition of CitiBank’s Housing Business Portfolio, amalgamation with the defunct KASB Bank amongst many other unique strategic initiatives and projects. I was also nominated as a Board member of bank’s subsidiary, BankIslami Modaraba Investments Limited.
‘’I believe that hard work and dedication pays off. All sincere efforts one makes would ultimately bear success. Moreover, one should believe in the power of dua. Heartfelt prayers are an essential tool in achieving the desired results
In 2009, I pursued one-year specialized studies, Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) program, in Islamic finance and Insurance from the Centre of Islamic Economics (a division of Darul Uloom Karachi). I was the first female in the programme to achieve second position. During 2009 to 2013, I enrolled with Zaynab Academy, to complete the classical Islamic Dars e Nizami course accredited by Wifaq-ul-Madaris, Al-Arabiyyah.
When Syed Amir Ali joined BankIslami as its President and CEO in 2018, the Bank went through a management team transition. I was tasked to coordinate for him with the teams to smoothen the transition process as well as participate in the groundwork for the Bank’s future strategic plan. After 6 months of working with him, I was offered the position of leading the Bank’s training function. In the space of two and a half years, I was able to transform the learning function by launching the Bank’s e-learning portal as well as its online learning initiative. A learning programme on Islamic banking was done with the Centre for Islamic Finance, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) for all branch managers of the Bank. Certification courses for continuous development of employees were also launched, which are accredited from the Institute of Business Management (IoBM). Moreover, the Bank was recognised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) as its Training Organization outside Practice (TOoP) during my tenure.
Recently, I have moved into the area of product development in which I am engaged in developing new liability product offerings as well as being the focal person for the Bank’s women financial inclusion and empowerment project. I am excited about this new opportunity for creating real impact in the lives of women through financial inclusion. Delivering this initiative will be a challenge but it gives me a chance to explore my untapped potential. I have embarked into a new career trajectory and am hopeful that I would be able to deliver the objectives.
I believe that hard work and dedication pays off. All sincere efforts one makes would ultimately bear success. Moreover, one should believe in the power of dua. Heartfelt prayers are an essential tool in achieving the desired results. I can proudly say that I have proved all naysayers wrong who used to tell me that my adorning a face covering (niqab) would be a barrier to my success in the corporate world. My niqab has been an empowering adornment that has given me the confidence to climb higher on the career ladder and become a role model for females. Being selected as WOMANi award recipient for the Year 2018, 2019 and 2020 has also stamped on my credentials as one of influential female leaders in the Islamic banking and finance industry.
One of the challenges in my life has been to live life to the fullest while being inflicted with a chronic illness which has no cure. At the age of 11 years, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease Lupus (SLE). One of the life lessons is to be strong-willed to cope up with everything that comes in your way and continue to thrive in your life. One’s parents, siblings, extended family and circle of close friends provide strong bonds which are a necessity to build an accomplished life.
I am blessed that I had the opportunity to help build foundation of two successful initiatives as well. From 2004 till 2012, I volunteered in the capacity of finance manager, contributing writer and sales & marketing team member for Hiba Magazine, the first Islamic family magazine from Pakistan in English language. It is a female-led & run home-based enterprise, which till today has a growing number of subscribed readers. From 2013 to 2019, as an administration advisor & finance head capacity, I volunteered my services to Zaynab Academy, to set up their purpose-built centre in Karachi dedicated to classical Islamic learning and spirituality for women and young girls. At present, I have been bestowed the privilege of being part of their Board of Trustees.
’Being selected as WOMANi award recipient for the Year 2018, 2019 and 2020 has also stamped on my credentials as one of influential female leaders in the Islamic banking and finance industry
I hope and pray that with the blessing of Allah SWT, I am able to build a legacy that leads to creating impact that benefits individuals, particularly women, and lead them towards riba-free means of sustenance.