Interviewing our FailQonf Speaker Faiza Yousuf | Failures, Lessons, Community Building
Each of our FailQonf Speakers has years of experience behind them and a crazy amount of knowledge acquired over those years. It would be bad on our part if we restrict their stories to only their FailQonf sessions. We are as eager as you all to know them and their journey better, and hence this Interview Series.
We had a few questions in mind which we wished to get answers from all of them, and there were questions we designed based on the little research we did on their work and life. We so enjoyed the process and now as we have the answers with us, we are enjoying it even more. We are sure you will enjoy this interview too.
In this Interview, I (Sayali Kulkarni) took the opportunity to ask our FailQonf Speaker Faiza Yousuf a few questions about Failures, Lessons learned, and a part of their amazing work in the Industry. We thank Faiza for their time to answer these, and for sharing a part of their life with us.
About Faiza Yousuf: Faiza Yousuf is a technologist with over a decade of experience in building products and teams. She is an award-winning community leader and the force behind WomenInTechPK. She co-founded CodeGirls, a community-funded coding boot camp for girls, and runs the online education program for Blockchain and AI from CryptoChicksPakistan.
She leads the product development wing at Genetech Solutions and runs a consulting practice as a Product Management Expert. She is a top-rated freelancer on Upwork with the honor to be part of Upwork’s first-ever social impact report. She is also working with [email protected]’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee to improve gender parity in Pakistan’s tech ecosystem.
Sayali: What is the most interesting failure you have experienced, which kicked hard, but once you learned from it you achieved double of what was expected in the next attempts?
Faiza: I was working on a consulting project building some intellectual property for a client and the first draft of it was disapproved and the client came to the meeting with a lot of harsh criticism and questions, some of the questions were out of line. I was upset and it was something that never happened to me before. I thought about quitting the contract but I took a couple of days to think and strategize. I went back prepared, redid some items, had a very open conversation with the client about boundaries, cultural context, and work expectations. We were able to make it work and I have been working with him for a year now and we have delivered some very amazing products.
Sayali: Have there been any failures that made your professional life better? Any lessons learned from the same.
Faiza: Yes, absolutely. I think every time that I failed, it was a learning moment. I started a company in 2012 and it happened overnight because my team and I were laid off. The company was a disaster and we had to close shop within a year.
A few lessons that I learned from that experience.
- Managing people is one of the toughest jobs and I don’t enjoy it that much.
- Spending time getting to know people is an excellent investment.
- Being organized and disciplined is the only way towards mastery.
Sayali: Any experience you would want to share wherein you learned from someone’s failure and based on that lesson you avoided a similar failure at work?
Faiza: I learned to overcome and avoid analysis paralysis after observing its impact on other people’s careers and lives. I have been slowly building a process for myself when it comes to quick and low-risk decision-making.
Sayali: What changes do you think that need to be done so that everyone will discuss/share their failures?
Faiza: Removing the stigma around failure. We do feel negative emotions when we fail but talking about it openly takes the negatives out of it. These conversations can also help you build a community and learn from each other.
Sayali: What top challenges have you faced as a community leader and how did you overcome those?
Faiza: I think the top most challenges have been protecting my own mental health and staying focused towards the mission. Therapy and self-care helped with the first one. For the second one, I create weekly and monthly goals and also do extensive journaling and self and team reflection activities.
We hope you enjoyed reading this amazing interview. Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section.
We can guarantee that you are going to enjoy FailQonf even more. Have yourself enrolled here if you have not done it so far. Please note there is a Free Pass option for the ones who cannot afford the Paid one in these difficult times. See you there.
About the Host:
Sayali is working with the iLink Digital, Pune as Senior Technical Specialist – Software Testing. She is a dedicated, passionate tester with a curious mind.