A new employee at Knowledge Platform often hears the words, “Check with Adeela.” The person in question is the self-assured Content Management Lead. A mini orientation with her entails a meeting in an empty conference room where Adeela patiently sets up her laptop. What follows is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Adeela pulls up Excel sheets by the dozen. This would be confusing to a new-comer, but she also comes armed with the patience to explain each row and column. She writes down formulas and runs through the taxonomies of education. At one point, she even brings out a real-life text book and points to a passage in question. “See,” she says, “We just convert it into virtual content.” In addition to developing Math content and inputting it into Knowledge Platform’s increasingly popular virtual learning platform, Adeela also forms an integral part of the Game Development team. At one point, she says with a laugh, her children don’t play the games she helps develop, “Mama we can’t play these games all the time”, and she shrugs, “kids need a break sometimes.”
This is interesting coming from a woman who is clearly an integral part of the Knowledge Platform team. To paraphrase a popular saying, there is no rest for the needed. Today, we got her to sit down to talk to us about her time with Knowledge Platform, her views about gender balance in the workplace and of course, how she manages to stay on top of everything so effortlessly. This was no mean feat because aside from being very busy, she is also famously modest.
KP: Lets start from the beginning. How did you end up at Knowledge Platform?
I actually got my BSc. in Double Mathematics. Later, I applied to Quaid-e-Azam University for a Masters in Information Technology. The initial months of the program were very hard because I was coming from a Mathematics and Physics background. But after the first semester, I found I began to enjoy IT. I haven’t looked back since. I started at Knowledge Platform in 2007 which seems like a life time ago now. I was an intern then and I remember just how amazed I was by how fun work could be. I think my boss, Wadood, played a huge role in making sure I grew into a professional. I’m so grateful to him for being such a patient teacher.
KP: You seem to have your finger in so many pies. What’s your favourite part of your job?
I think I love the Games Development aspect of it. Coding is something I’ve come to love. It’s a bit like magic in that the output of that is immediately visible. It’s so satisfying to see numbers turn into content students can engage with.
KP: How have you grown with the company?
Oh God! (laughs). I basically grew up here. I got married during my time at Knowledge Platform and had my children (son: 3 yrs, daughter: 6 yrs) while I was working here. The organization is part of my family now because it watched me go through so many of my major life milestones. Also, like I mentioned, I started as an intern. It’s been rewarding to climb up the career ladder.
KP: There’s a lot of debate in popular media about working women and how they can ‘have it all.’ It’s a clichéd question, but have you had trouble juggling work and family as a Pakistani woman in the workplace?
I think there are two answers to this question. A lot needs to be done to promote gender balance in Pakistani workplaces. I also recognise that many women have to work hard to be accepted as working women by their families or even by their workplaces. But having said that, I’ve been very lucky because I haven’t faced opposition to my career in any aspect of my life. My husband is understanding about my career, as are my children (or as much as a three and six year old can be!). Engineering is still, sadly, a male dominated field in Pakistan but thankfully, I haven’t ever been made to feel like I’m out of place because of my gender. I think a lot of this has to do with the culture at Knowledge Platform.
KP: What’s the best part of your work day?
Does anyone ever answer anything other than lunch time gossip? (laughs). I made good friends here that have come to feel like family. Shumaila, Atiya, Fatima, Maleeha, Ghaniah, Wadood, Sabiha. I love the camaraderie we’ve developed over the years. Some of these people have left of course, but we try to stay in touch.
KP: What’s something that’s unique to Knowledge Platform that you think other organisations could also adopt and benefit from?
The organisation doesn’t have the ‘scared of the boss’ mentality. In that way it’s not traditionally hierarchal and everyone speaks their mind without fear of being chastised. That’s good I think. It allows for a free exchange of information and it means the best versions of ideas always win out because there is always a lot of healthy debate surrounding any project
KP: What are your hobbies?
Shopping for myself and my kids. Before I got married, I used to have a lot of time to watch movies and dramas. It’s something I would miss if I had the time now (laughs).
KP: And what keeps you going at work?
I mean there’s an element of personal satisfaction. But also I very strongly believe that if you’ve spent such a large part of your life studying something you should put it to use. It’s how you grow and learn.