Who are you and what’s important to you?
I grew up in Bangladesh till I was 17 where things were not in abundance and we did not have many choices. So there’s always this tendency in me to fight for my choices and for those around me to ensure fairness. It’s important to me to empower other women to see how they can best access information so that they are not exploited and that their voices are heard.
Who has inspired you and what was it that the person did for you?
One such person in addition to my mother and husband is an ex-female investor of mine. Her name is Sonia Bashir Kabir, founder of SBK Tech Ventures. She just wanted to help another woman entrepreneur with her dream and in desperate times wrote me a cheque of $50,000. At that time, that was instrumental in helping me move the needle. We need more people like her who support women entrepreneurs. I would like to become like her one day – giving back from what she has achieved: success, wisdom, and credibility.
What is your greatest achievement?
We always overlook the smaller achievements. When I was younger I was rebellious and fought with my parents to go to university in the UK. Eventually, I made it but my dad hid my acceptance letter, which meant that I wasn’t able to get a student visa. I called the school and told them to send my letter directly to the embassy, and so I went. And after that, going through the toughest interviews and starting out at a hedge fund as one of my first jobs.
I have 2 kids, and a very supportive husband. You’ve got to give time and effort to your family. And I feel extremely lucky to be able to achieve what we have achieved as a family.And last but not least having built Maya. I think I have built something very beautiful. I was one of the first health tech founders and CEO in Bangladesh when tech, the Internet, and AI were very very new. It was hard to make people believe it will work. Today, we have 6 million consultations and I am heartened to know that we as a team were able to help millions of people. Mothers would send us box of sweets after giving birth, thanking us for being with them through their pregnancy journey, others (including men) would say, “when I couldn’t talk to anyone else in the world I could talk to Maya.” – and that gives me a lot of comfort knowing that we built trust to let them share their innermost stories and in the process somehow help them.
Thank you, Ivy!