October Issue 2013

By | Newsliners | Published 6 years ago

The 4th Ladiesfund Conference, held earlier this September, boasted a who’s who list of speakers including businessman Amin Hashwani, musical theatre director Nida Butt, managing director of Oxford University Press Ameena Saiyid OBE and, of course, the keynote speaker, diplomat Sherry Rehman.

Held at the Marriot Hotel, the day-long event consisted of engaging talks and interactive workshops, all with a focus on becoming successful in the world of business. Organised by the Dawood Global Foundation (DGF), the conference began with pop star Zoe Viccaji singing the national anthem and was followed by announcements of vocational scholarships to young female students. Yasin Paracha, owner of various foreign franchises in Pakistan, and Ameena Saiyid, co-founder of the Karachi Literature Festival, both had workshops in which they shared their expertise with the audience. And in a panel titled ‘How to Start,’ Nida Butt, Musarrat Misbah of Depilex and Muriel De Saint Sauveur of Mazars, a global consulting agency, all talked about their diverse professional experiences and answered the audience’s questions about everything from business planning to dressing to impress. Sauveur, who has also written the book A Women’s World, A Better World? not only brought an international perspective to the event but also a sense of humour (her parting advice to the mostly female audience was to choose their husbands wisely).

Special mention must also be made of the moderators of the various panel discussions, notably Saad Khan, CEO of Gillette, and Rohan Malik, of Ernst & Young, who not only guided the discussion but also made sure each session was properly concluded and that the audience’s questions were adequately addressed.

And the audience too featured some familiar faces: supermodel and entrepreneur Nadia Hussain did not hesitate to ask panelists about how to secure funding and a noted female politician made it a point to ask a question or make a remark at the end of nearly every segment. During the tea and lunch breaks, attendees had the chance to network with the speakers, pose for pictures against the pink Ladiesfund banners or even sign-up for a manicure at the OPI stall.

Zehra Nabi is a graduate student in The Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University. She previously worked at Newsline and The Express Tribune.