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Hina Shahid

Hina Shahid

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I am a strategic designer, a design educator, and a design entrepreneur. I have worn many hats within the design field—from textile and interior architecture to design research and strategy. In the past several years’ my other interest has been employing design for society and solving the complex human issues. One of which is intolerance and extremism, which I am tackling from a design centric, human-centered lens though a youth development program—Project Pluralist.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I wanted to be surrounded by women who are leaders in their organization, are entrepreneurs, or are at a similar career and life stage as I am.

How would you define your professional mission?

To use the power of design beyond business need, and to create alternative solutions for the social problems—poverty, prejudice, extremism, violence.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

Perseverance, conviction in what you are doing, and ability to learn and pivot.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

It's both a career and a personal life accomplishment—establishing myself in a new country.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

To take Project Pluralist national is ambitious to say the least. Training educators, building training toolkits, creating online courses for multiple schools to run it simultaneously. I have my work cut out for me.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

Project Pluralist, by far is one of my biggest achievements. To stand there among the counter violent extremism folks with their personal stories, or their giant think tanks and to say I have an alternative solution. It was very scary in the beginning, but as I continued to research and develop, I had strong conviction that I was on the right path. It’s a path less taken, or talked about, but still the right path.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

It's been design all the way. I have had many design roles—textile designer, interior designer, design strategist, design research manager. Each role has taught me different skill sets, but at the core it's been the same design principles. It has evolved me in to multi-disciplinary designer, which surely is an advantage.

What does success look like to you?

Success is making a difference. When I hear students who have taken the program talk about why they think it's important for them, how much they loved being part of it, and what they learned.

What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?

Have conviction in what you are doing. It's okay to have doubts, test things early on and keep testing them.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

'Have it all' is a slogan used by society to say one person (the woman) has too much. that's nonsense. To be married, to have kids, to have careers, men have it, yet nobody tells them 'You can't have it all'. Not to mention they could have it all because women couldn't, it shouldn't be one or the other. Do what you can, delegate at work, delegate at home. You can have it all, but you can't do it all by yourself.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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