Ayesha Aqeel Dedhi
Every day is a new learning day in construction,” according to Ayesha. Piling, structuring and the finishing phases, are all fascinating to her. “Construction itself is a difficult field but if you are focused and hardworking then you can achieve everything in life.” Despite having a Masters degree in Marketing, Ayesha joined the construction industry in 2011. As the CEO of Creek Developers, she’s currently working for her father’s dream project. This project, a brainchild of Atkins, includes 13 residential towers and 11 office towers as well as retail outlets.
With mentors like Naheed Mashooqullah and support of both her parents, Ayesha is a visionary. Her first task was to get a construction model made. Since her project was similar to those in Dubai, she began her research to find the perfect model maker from abroad. It was very challenging because she was unable to travel and even her father recommended she should get it done from Karachi. “I absolutely had to get a model maker from abroad. I gathered a few and went to my father again. When I put forward my request he told me he had all his trust in me.” Even the architect for Ayesha’s mall had to be chosen from abroad. “It was a very difficult task because it was a big mall and the realization of my father’s dream was dependant on my capability and decisions. I researched a couple of architects. There was no local architect involved. It was one of my proud moments. Finalising negotiations, making him understand my requirements and achieving the final result.”
Communication was particularly stressful for Ayesha. She relied on skype and even that was an issue due to time differences. When the model was ready, it was shown to her on skype. Getting it shipped to Karachi was another issue since there was a risk of damage. “When the model arrived we got a lot of response from people. The challenge was that we had no electricity for three months at that time and the model was made of wax. The fact that it survived and was such a huge success makes me very happy,” she says with a smile. You have to think tactfully in this field. There is always confusion. “At times, in the construction industry, if you compare an apple to an apple, every vendor gives a different cost for the same quality. You have to be aware of ground realities. There are big projects with a lot of money involved. Cartels get formed frequently.” For Ayesha it was hard to be taken seriously at first, especially when dealing with labour. “Even with some contractors you have to tell them who is the boss.”
How does Ayesha deal with all the stress? Her detox is going to a salon, getting a blow-dry frequently, and indulging in manicures and pedicures. “It’s very important to cleanse your skin with good products,” she says. Other than that Ayesha is very spontaneous. After work she’s often out with her cousins or friends in order to unwind. “I think you need to set your priorities and there is a lot of discipline required. You need to know what priority to give to work and your personal life,” she maintains.
“When I saw my towers standing high and mighty it was a miracle moment for me. I take a lot of pride in the fact that the towers, 24 and 34 floors high, started in my tenure.” Ayesha has put a permanent imprint on the map of Karachi. We hope more women aim for the sky, and rise high, just like Ayesha’s magnificent towers.