Life Is Non-linear: 10 Beautiful FS Interviews To Inspire You Embrace Life’s Struggles And Live Fullest
Every new year comes with new promises and hopes and opportunities. It also comes with new challenges, difficult struggles, and unwanted heartbreaks. While our natural tendency is to try to avoid difficulties, in reality, it is our difficulties and struggles that make us who we become at the end of the day. Here is some inspiration to embrace life as it comes and strive for the better every day.
Ashraf Bin Taj is the co-founder and Managing Director of International Distribution Company Bangladesh (IDC), a fast-growing marketing and distribution company based in Dhaka. Started four years ago with 26 people and one brand, today IDC is a team of 330 people, works with four international brands, has a growing business and eyeing the next phase of expansion.
Ashraf Bin Taj has seen both sides of the aisle. He has decades of experience in working with leading international and local corporations and for the past four years, he has been building his own business. Mr. Ashraf is a people’s person. He says his people skill, developed through extensive participation in extracurricular activities during his school life, has significantly contributed to his career. He speaks slowly often absorbed in his own train of thoughts but with a sense of certainty that emits weight and wisdom of living.
In this interview, Ashraf Bin Taj illustrates his journey to what he is doing today, how IDC came into being, its expansion plans and product strategy to difficulties he had to face due to the lack of support system for early stage companies to how openness and horizontal structure defines its internal culture and why finding right people remains a key challenges for his company and shares his ambition for IDC over the next few years that includes launching its own brand and greater automation and reflects on his management philosophy, hard work of entrepreneurship and why deeper meaning and greater satisfactions of life comes from giving and helping fellow human beings.
Dhaka-based writer and Head of Communications at International Finance Corporation (IFC), Bangladesh, Towheed Feroze, recalls his experience of growing up in the 70s and 80s Dhaka, his discovery of writing as an act of self-redemption, how he made the leap of faith to become a full-time journalist, illustrates his diverse career in journalism, translation, teaching, and development, shares his thought on designing a communication strategy that works, future of media and journalism in Bangladesh, opens up about what he’s learned from his journey and reflects on why life is an inherently risky affair and why we should always make an active effort to live our life fullest over mere existence.
VIPB, Equity Investment Ecosystem and Life: An Interview With Zia U Ahmed, Founder and Chairman, Venture Investment Partners Bangladesh (VIPB)
“Building a business is hard and you will go through constant ups and downs, you have to have the stamina to stay patient when things get tough and still work hard day and night,” says Zia U Ahmed, Founder, and Chairman, Venture Investment Partners Bangladesh (VIPB).
Mr. Ahmed has a wonderful story, a testament to the reality that our life is not linear and that it takes us to places. Mr. Ahmed was born in Dhaka where he spent a large part of his early life. Growing up, he was into sports and politically conscious. Here, he recalls his childhood days spent in Dhaka and impact the 60s and 70s have had on his way of looking at life and work, shares the founding story of VIPB, how VIPB helps entrepreneurs across the country to build sustainable companies and its ambition going forward, talks about what he looks for in founders and companies before investing and why patience and our ability to think long-term are two most important qualities for a meaningful life.
Asif Saleh is the Senior Director of Strategy, Communications, and Empowerment at BRAC and BRAC International.
In this interview, Asif reflects on his early life and journey to becoming who he is today, talks about BRAC and major strategic changes that are happening in the world’s number one NGO, future of BRAC and development work, discusses the theory of change management, idea of smart innovation, and ambition of BRAC Innovation Lab, shares BRAC’s plans for investment, his thought on strategy, social mobility and his concern about declining quality of our education system and risk of potential failure to manage our huge young population and explores why life is a nonlinear journey and the struggles and hardships that we desperately want to avoid are our becoming and why we should actively resist the culture of immediacy that relentlessly promotes the idea of overnight success and our temptation to work for award or money or recognition alone. The interview is sublime, intellectually challenging and eminently empowering in its entirety, a feast for your mind.
Life’s Work: An Interview with Ejaj Ahmad, Founder and President, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC)
Dear readers, you are in for a wonderful time. Please do a favor to yourself and find a quiet place to sit tight for few minutes, grab a cup of coffee or tea or anything you prefer, and get ready to peek into the brilliant mind of Ejaj Ahmad.
Ejaj Ahmad is the Founder and President of Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC). In this interview, he reflects on how his early life experiences and passion for public service and leadership shaped his future, the impetus behind starting BYLC, the current state of BYLC and his future plans for the organization, talks about his management philosophy and how he looks at the idea of leadership and life and how a strong sense of our own mortality can help us to live a meaningful life.
Life is short and ephemeral in nature, as Ejaj contemplates here, “our life is finite,” then he continues as if it occurs to him that “our impact can be infinite” if only we do things that matter and add value to the lives of others. The entire interview is sublime, insightful, and intellectually empowering. We believe Ejaj’s story will elevate you and inspire you to choose life over mere living.
Founder and CEO of SureCash, Dr. Shahadat Khan reflects on his early life and career and how courage and risk shape our life, how our teachers and mothers determine our future and how curiosity, ambition, and hard work drive us, his takes on mobile banking in Bangladesh and vision for SureCash, working culture and growth of SureCash and his plans for the fast-growing mobile payment platform of the country, and the importance of acceptance when we are wrong and our courage to find the right path.
Arif Khan, CEO and Managing Director of IDLC Finance Limited, has an astounding body of work. He started his career in 1991, and over the past 26 years of his career, Mr. Khan had played pivotal role in the lives of a number of private companies, where he worked in different capacities starting from Probationary Officer to CEO and also in public sector as a Commissioner of Securities Exchange Commission where he headed the Demutualization Project of Dhaka Stock Exchange along with many other big projects.
A large part of his career, 15 years to be precise, is spent at IDLC Finance Limited, one of the fast-growing and forward-thinking Financial institutions in the country, where he designed and led several of its successful products. After leaving IDLC in 2010, Mr. Khan returned to IDLC Finance Limited as a Managing Director and CEO in 2015, a place he calls. “I’m passionate about.”
In an interview with Future Startup, Mr. Khan reflects on his early life and career and how courage and risk shape our life, how he got into accounting and finance, his early career at IDLC and how curiosity, ambition, and hard work drive us, his vision for IDLC now that he is back again, working culture and growth of IDLC and his plans for the fast-growing NBFI of the country, how professional accounts can contribute to the economic development and his plan for ICMAB, the national body for Professional Cost and Management Accountants, of which he is the current President, and why serving others is the most important work of all that can change our life forever.
Iqbal Quadir is the founder of GrameenPhone and the founder and director emeritus of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT. He sat down with Karl Ulrich, vice dean of entrepreneurship and innovation at Wharton, to talk about his self-made journey from growing up in one of the poorest countries in the world to building a global business. In many ways the embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit, Quadir explains how everything connects.
Career, Life, And The Future Of Cement and Real Estate Industry In Bangladesh: An Interview With Saleh Mujahid, CEO, Doreen Group
Saleh Mujahid is the Chief Executive Officer at Eastern Cement Industries Limited and Doreen Developments Limited, two concerns of Doreen Group.
Mr. Mujahid has an interesting story and a diverse career spanning multiple industries and countries. Prior to joining Doreen, he worked at Bata, Meena Bazar, Otobi, and ACI. He is also an author of multiple popular poetry and short stories books.
Mr. Mujahid was raised mostly in Dhaka. In his youth, he was heavily involved in progressive politics, literature and anti-establishment student movements which contributed to shaping his worldview and informs his way of looking at the world even these days.
He studied at Dhaka University for a brief period before dropping out to pursue student movement full time and then, albeit when reality hit in, attended Dhaka City College to complete his B.Com and went on to do an MBA from IBA.
In this interview, Mr. Mujahid walks us through his early life and upbringing, reflects on his journey to what he is doing today, his several decades of career spanning multiple companies and important roles, trials and tribulations he has had to face throughout his career, shares his thoughts on leadership and strategy, talks about his work at Doreen Group where he leads Easter Cement Industries and Doreen Developments, the current state of the companies and his ambition for the companies going forward and the future of cement, real estate and textile industries in Bangladesh, discusses the incredible importance of building a solid culture, discusses his management philosophy, explains his ideas for being an effective CEO and growing a business, and reflects on why working hard is the antidote to life’s challenges and why it is important for us to understand that importance of any meaningful work does not depend on its popularity or extrinsic recognition of it.
Cover Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash