Leelu Usman didn’t have years of professional experience when she decided to become partners with a friend for an Interior Decoration and Home Solutions business. For the longest time she had always thought of herself as a daughter, wife, and mother. She took pride in being the best homemaker that she knew. With her children stepping into adulthood and finally getting time to give priority to her own interests, she took the plunge into the challenging waters of entrepreneurship. Now she is the Director and Partner at SRS Interior Architectural Design.
She has immense support from her husband and family and that, according to Leelu, is one of the main reasons why she has been able to make such a huge transition in her life at such a late stage. The biggest challenge for her at the moment is competing with people who have been in the industry for far longer than her. “When you enter a field so late in life, several people already know you as a homemaker and a certain amount of skepticism is to be expected. While I am thoroughly enjoying this new facet of life it remains a challenge to be taken seriously,” she says.
Leelu is a firm believer in financial independence for women. Whether one comes from an affluent household or marries into one is irrelevant. “This is advice that I give to my daughter as well. No matter how life is, no matter what challenges life throws at you, financial independence is one thing that will improve your relationships, give you peace of mind about the future and help you rest peacefully at night. It is about the feel good factor that you get when you achieve something completely of your own accord.”
Leelu married very young and leads a happily married life with a husband who supports her in every step. However, she still advises young women to think more about their careers and life choices and not give up on things like higher education just to get married. Not all women are as lucky as Leelu is and Leelu believes that marriage shouldn’t be considered a destination to land at; like a goal completed and nothing more lies ahead. Balance between work and life comes naturally to Leelu who made the choice of not working to devote herself to her home and kids for several years. Leelu feels it is important to focus at various areas of your life at various moments, so when your children are young, your priority needs to be them. Every growing child needs his mother, just as Leelu needed her own. Even now she makes sure that she leaves all thoughts and stresses of work at office before she comes home for the day.
Leelu breaks many stereotypes with her success at work. Starting a career at a later stage, transitioning from a homemaker to a professional, going from full time mom to working mom are just a few things that give hope to many women across Pakistan who feel that it may be too late for them to follow their passions. Leelu is an example of women who can go miles to achieve their dreams and are determined to establish themselves as unique individuals in society. Your personality is more than just being someone’s mother and someone’s wife, it is who you are for yourself and that is what makes Leelu Usman a Miracle Woman.