Asma Arefeen graduated from NED University of Engineering & Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. She has served as a Structural Engineer with engineering consultants in Pakistan. She successfully completed her master’s degree in Civil/Transportation Engineering from Ryerson University and graduated with Honours in 2013. She is currently working as a Project Manager at Varcon Inc. Asma is an active STAC member and sat on the Steering Committee between 2016-2019. She is an associate member of CSA S37 Technical Committee since 2017. Asma is serving as a Chair of the NEDAC Professional Development & Mentorship Committee and as a Member of Alma Mater’s Centennial Celebration Organizing Committee.
How long have you been working in your field?
I have been in the telecommunication industry for seven years.
“A negative mind will never give you a positive life”. I love this quote because it emphasizes optimism; try to look at a half a glass of water as half full instead of half empty and success will be yours!
What advice would you give to recent new hires?
“Try, Fail & Learn” I believe this is the key to success. If you keep doing something that you are good at, you will never learn something new and will not fail. Without failing, you will never learn. You should try to go outside of your comfort zone as much as you can to gain new experience and skills. Try to challenge yourself and see what new learning experiences await you! Set a monthly target for new learning and try to achieve the monthly milestone.
What is your proudest moment at your company?
There are many moments where I felt proud, blessed, and accomplished; it is hard to choose one. I am blessed and very fortunate that I have had worked with Rogers and now working with Varcon since January 2021. Both are Canada’s top-ranked companies. If I must, then I would choose the time I won the “TED Rogers Business Excellent Award”. This is the most prestigious award at Rogers, as very few individuals out of over 30,000 plus employees are awarded it. I was honored that my hard work at Rogers was recognized this way!
How do you define success?
This is tricky question because I believe everyone has their own definition of success. For someone, career growth is success, or achieving certain milestones is a success. To me success, is the inner peace you get from helping others. You should train yourself to give more instead of always willing to take. This attitude will be creating an ideal world where we all want to live in. When you help others, you will also be creating an environment where others want to help you. I believe in humanity, helping and seeing others to be successful. I practice this every day in my personal and professional life. I am a mentor and help individuals to get certified and /or find a job. This practice created an open and trusting environment between me and my colleagues that led me to receive the Rogers Culture Champ Award (TRUST) in 2020.
What are some causes that you care about?
I believe in women empowerment. In some countries they are victims of abusive relationship and some places they are enjoying freedom of living, speech etc. However, unfortunately percentage of those lucky places where women are enjoying freedom are very low globally. I salute to all organizations who are working and supporting women empowerment and working for their health and safety.
Why is the Women of STAC important to you?
I would like to thank STAC and Jeanne for creating Women of STAC. To me, Women of STAC is very important platform to motivate, empower, support, and encourage female employees in telecom. There are very few women in this industry and for many unknown reasons they would not like to come forward and join committee. As an active committee member, I think this is our responsibility to spread the word and encourage more to join and actively participate. We need to support, mentor, and help each other to standout, and I believe the future will be ours and we will have more woman leading the industry. I heard this beautiful and inspiring quote, “A strong woman is someone who raises other women up instead of tearing them down”. Another beautiful quote by Kasia Gospos, “Amazing things happens when women help other women”. I had an amazing experience by joining STAC and its sub committees. In the special project committee meetings, I have gained tremendous knowledge by working with brilliant individuals who have helped so much in my personal and professional growth.
What does true leadership mean to you?
To me a successful leader is someone who keep their word, cares about their employees, listens to them, and understand their needs. Leadership is all about earning people’s respect and trust. I have read somewhere that “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a true leader.” There is no one formula to earn the respect and trust as a leader, however, there are few magic phrases that a leader can use in their daily routine to be an inspirational and successful leader. Encourage your employees more often, even for their small accomplishments. Say Thank You to them. They are two very simple but very powerful words. You may have heard the stories from your friends or family about their overly demanding managers and how they left their job because of them. Companies with overly demanding management will lose the best of their employees. Napoleon Hill said, “People may follow the forced leadership temporarily, but they will not do so willingly.”