Lubna Tiwana left her 3 year old daughter to pursue higher education from abroad for a period of 2 years. Indeed, this was a difficult decision to make but in her weakness lay her strength. “I left my little one for a cause and under no circumstances was I going to compromise on my grades. Resultantly, I was able to secure a distinction in one of the most demanding and challenging degree programs in CAS Business School City University London, MSC in investment and risk management.” She has numerous other certifications in the field of credit and risk management, including a Masters degree in Public Administration from Quaid e Azam University. Having years of experience in conventional and Islamic banking, she’s now the Chief Risk Officer and Performance Manager at Khushhali Microfinance Bank.
Since her childhood, Lubna was focused and determined. While the other children used to play, she would devote all her time to her studies. Anything below 3rd position was unacceptable for her. Her mother used to tell her that girls need to outshine and be financially independent. This resonated with Lubna, and remained to be her motto even after she joined the corporate world. “Women have to work twice as hard to demonstrate exceptional performance,” she says, and with this hard work and effort, she was able to climb the corporate ladder while maintaining her role as a wife and a mother. So much so that she never hired a tutor for her daughter. “I taught her myself till she completed her MS in Finance with exceptional grades.” And for this, Lubna has her family to thank. “Without family support, it’s not possible for you to handle the dual role of a mother as well as a working woman. My husband has played an instrumental role in whatever I am today. My family always takes pride in my success and they appreciate my role as a mother and wife as well as a working woman.”
Other than working in her office space, Lubna pursues many other activities. “I’m also a trainer, presenter and speaker at various national and international forums. That includes National Institute of Banking and Finance and Social Performance Task Force Series. The latter two are basically international organizations dealing with the development of standards and tools for microfinance sector globally.” When Lubna would go as a speaker or attend a meeting representing her organization, it seemed to her that the men underestimated her capabilities. Once she would start speaking, however, they would realize that even women can be intelligent and that a woman is as capable of doing wonders in the corporate sector and she can be as good as her male counterparts. Efficient time management seems to be the secret behind her success. “I try to not waste time on activities or people who do not add value for example gossiping, web browsing, visiting social media sites or long distance personal telephone calls during office hours. I feel sometimes we get sucked into these habits and we waste our prime time, making ourselves less efficient and less productive.” Even her team is aware of everything expected of them, with clear objectives and consecutive dates, they manage to save time. However, she is not about all work and no play. In her free time she likes to spend quality time with her family, watch movies, go for outings, enjoy dinners and shopping.
Lubna believes that financial and emotional independence allow women to find happiness on their own. It boosts their confidence and gives them the freedom to pursue their unfulfilled desires and dreams. In addition to giving daughters this freedom, Lubna advises mother to not discriminate between their sons and daughters and give equal opportunities to their children irrespective of their sex.
Lubna is one that has never regretted any of her decisions. She has been strong and goal oriented. Every time she moves closer to her dreams, it gives her immense happiness. Her Miracle Moment was when British Council selected her for a premium award, for being the most outstanding candidate from all over Pakistan for Chevening Scholarship Program. A special ceremony was organized, where the British High Commissioner provided her with the award letter. Indeed, that would be a very proud moment for any woman who aspires to be something and Lubna Tiwana is an inspiration for sure. If more women are given the opportunities to dream big and tread on the path to success, Pakistan will be a different place altogether sooner than later.