Iqraa Hassan Mansha
The CEO of Nishat Hotels and Properties, this young mother is successful, patient and extremely down to earth. She is someone who values the lessons life has to teach. Iqraa Hassan Mansha started off with a very small boutique hotel in Lahore and has recently opened the state of art Emporium Mall, which she calls her gift to the people of Lahore. “The mall has something for everyone, young or old. Almost every brand in Pakistan has a retail outlet there, there’s a large food court and an entertainment zone for children. Nishat Hotel is however, closer to my heart and since it was my first project, it taught me a lot, from brand building to how people think and function,” says the multi faceted Iqraa. While managing such large projects in the service sector of Pakistan, Iqraa is also a wife and a mother and knows how to value and nurture relationships.
The greatest challenge she faces is dealing with the issues of HR. “The talent in Pakistan is beyond amazing and I find it my duty to bring out the best from all my employees. It is important for me to create the right balance between the carrot and the stick. Motivating people is the key to excelling and I strive to do my best in that,” Iqraa explains. Striking the crucial balance between professional and personal life is also a major struggle for her and she believes that children should be the most important project for any woman since there is no way to go back in time later. “At 8 p.m. just before I put my boys to bed, I have a slight silent nervous breakdown,” she laughs, “and giving the due time to my work and to my children is probably the toughest thing for me. I have now decided that the answer to this problem is sleeping less! I start very early in the morning to make sure I complete all the tasks I am supposed to for the day which includes giving quality time to my boys. Women unnecessarily make themselves go through the guilt of not doing enough. You don’t have to be glued to your kids the entire day. The little time I spend with them is quality time when we really bond. At the end of the day when I go home, I am motivated and excited to see them,” she explains.
Iqraa believes that with changing times, standing up on your own feet is imperative for every man and woman. Now, the only important thing for girls is not just looking good and getting married. More and more girls now want to do something of their own and put their education to use. But while striving to make her own mark in the world, she never forgets her responsibility as a mother. “As a woman you have more responsibility of raising your kids well even if the father is very involved. I do sometimes like taking my time off but for me the best thing to do is to have a nice day out with my children so we can all have a good time together. That creates a nice balance and helps me unwind.”
While Iqraa always seems to be on the top of her game, she too, has had her moments of weakness. However, she is quick in dealing with them. “Sometimes getting it all done is really hard. On and off, I do question why don’t I just relax and take it easy but soon enough I realise how lucky I am to have the opportunity of doing all that I am doing. My work brings about so many positive changes in me. I meet new people, encounter new struggles every day, the learning curve is beyond amazing.”
Iqraa has her mother to thank for making her the enterprising person she is today. “Years ago I would go to a wedding and would think about how good the bride looks, the groom could probably have been better and whether or not the decor is nice. But after becoming a mother my perception of life has changed. Being a mother is hard work. From being pregnant to making the effort of getting your children through the years at school, instilling the drive to work hard, teaching them about being balanced and inculcating the sense of religion, it all takes a lot. So now when I go to a wedding, I take it as a celebration of the success of the parents,” she says.
While Miracle Woman Iqraa has much to be proud of professionally, her Miracle Moment is the birth of her second child. “I had a lot of issues with the pregnancy. Before, I would worry about the gender and looks of the baby. At that point I realised a normal, healthy baby is really a miracle and gift from God and I can’t thank Him enough for my son.” Iqraa’s journey shows that no matter how successful a woman is, she is a mother before anything else and her children are in fact her greatest assets and the real reason for her happiness.