The women behind Tohfay.com speak up on ITLoW
So far on ITLoW we interviewed only the CEO/Founder of a company but sometimes there is more than one founder who is responsible for the vision and growth of an organization, and we felt that, off and on, we should be talking to them too.
And when some of them are women, we feel the need to highlight them more so that they can be role models for others who have been thinking about starting companies but haven’t taken that first step.
Although we had already interviewed Mehdi and Shahzad from Tohfay.com, we were delighted to have the opportunity to interview Safia Rafi (COO of Tohfay) and Dr. Muneeza Shah (the Chief Creative Officer) to find out how they had contributed to the development of Tohfay.com, Mamoon in Pakistan, Shaadi Waadi and Doodhpatti.com.
These two ladies are among the founding members and have brought their own brilliance, their concepts, their unique ideas and hard work to make the Tohfay products what they are today.
In my conversation with them on ITLoW, I discovered how many of the concepts had started as creative ideas in Muniza’s mind and she had to first sell them to a team that comprised specialists in strategy, business, technology and local expertise. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during one of their board meetings which I hear can get quite interesting – a lot of very vocal and open debate takes place before consensus is worked out.
I also discussed in this episode with Muniza and Safia the challenges that women face in Pakistan and how we can increase the number of women professionals and entrepreneurs, how we can change mindsets, how we can create eco-systems that are more women-friendly so that more women, how we can develop networks so that women can seek guidance and assistance.
There is a lot of talent and skill out there that is not being nurtured, that is not being channeled into the right areas, that is not receiving the attention that it should. Whether it be counseling at universities, generating confidence in women, giving them advice on the opportunities that are available, providing access to finance and to professional networks that will help hone their skills, assisting them with market outreach, teaching them business planning, creating support mechanisms like Day care centers, providing access to mentors and showcasing role models of women who have made it.
Some of this – the counseling, the advice and opportunities, the market outreach and access to finance – is needed for young men as well. We need to continue to work together to make this happen if we want to provide the impetus that is needed by the Pakistan economy.
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