CEO Sara Saeed On The Power Of Dialogue And The Importance Of Being Yourself

BY Jade Chilton / Feb 13 2020 / 12:21 PM

This 32-year old Pakistani innovative CEO and co-founder bridges the gap between healthcare and those that live in improverished communities in Pakistan. Recognised for her efforts to empower Pakistani women along with democratising medical care, Sara was awarded the 2019 Rolex Award For Enterprise

CEO Sara Saeed On The Power Of Dialogue And The Importance Of Being Yourself

Describe yourself in three words...

“Resilient, courageous, purposeful.”

The values you most admire in others? 

“The ability to respect everyone for who they are.”

Your defining career moment?

“Standing in front of a room of community elders – those with a very traditional mindeset and values – to gain their support for the launch of our company. I realised that if I could convince this room full of men, I would be able to convince everyone in the world. It was then I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”

Biggest regret?

“Not being myself sooner”

The part of your work you are most proud of?

“When a patient comes to my clinic and is connected with a doctor online in real time and they are able to diagnose her problem.”

Your biggest sense of achievement?

“Being the first Pakistani woman to achieve the Rolex Award at the ceremony in Washington last year. With it, I’ve been able to create a positive image of my company through Pakistani women.”

Your career role model?

“Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s first-ever female prime minister. To see her face many challenges when I was growing up really motivated me and gave me incredible power. It proved that a female leader can make it in this world.”

What do you enjoy most about your job?

“I enjoy travelling to my clinics in low-income communities to check how they are doing. I love that 80 per cent of our workforce is female and lastly, I love that my two daughters see me working.”

The biggest personal challenge you overcame?

“After giving birth to my second daughter I got post-partum depression. I’m proud of myself for recognising my mental-health problem and overcoming it.”

What inspires you most about your job?

“Technology. It’s an enabler that bridges the world geographically. Our digital health network is the model I want the world to have access to.”

The best piece of advice to your daughters?

“To my two girls growing up in Pakistan... know your strengths as a woman, don’t doublethink anything because of your gender and have belief in yourself.”

The key to success

“Don’t be afraid to take the first step, even though sometimes it’s the most difficult part”.

What experience in life taught you most about yourself? 

“I married into a very traditional family where women don’t typically work. So when I started my job I had to speak to my husband and in-laws. I discovered it was possible to change mindsets and conversations with dialogue.”

From Harper's BAZAAR Arabia February 2020 Issue