Famous Parenting invites you to meet a vivacious mother and a passionate educator Dr. Hasina Sayed, who lives her life by the tenets that she preaches. It is very difficult to find women like her who express themselves with enormous clarity and authenticity.

An Associate Professor at Jai Hind College with 27 years of teaching experience in the subjects of Business and Management, Dr Hasina has been awarded a PhD in 2013 with her thesis on Entrepreneurship.

Her passion for Entrepreneurship has made her pursue this skill enhancement and she is a Certified NEN/IIM-B/Stanford Entrepreneurship Educator and a Certified NEN/Goldman Sachs/London Business School, Entrepreneur Mentor.

Hasina is the Director of Academics at the Prahlad Kakar School of Branding and Entrepreneurship in association with Whistling Woods and Advisor to the Asian Institute of Family Managed Business patronised by Harsh Mariwala (Marico) and Dilip Sanghvi (Sun Pharma).

Dr. Hasina Sayed

Please connect the dots of your childhood that made you the person you are

My childhood memories are the dreams that stay with me even when I wake up. A memory of childhood is qualitatively and quantitatively different from the memories formed and retrieved in the adult years.

Growing up in a large joint family taught me the values of caring, sharing and giving. The warmth and security of seeing and experiencing the love of my parents, our family dinners, our trips and outings, our reading time together, playing scrabble, sharing fun and laughter, pain and anxiety, trials and tribulations, brought us even closer as a family.

Respect is given to me as a child to exercise my freedom of choice, and to decide my course of action (within permissible limits), which brought a sense of pride and importance to my little heart. Acknowledgement from parental figures brought a sense of pride and pleasure to my accomplishments (however small they were) and feel a sense of competence.

The friends I’ve made in my growing years have stayed with me forever. The fact that they will always be there for me and cheer me up whenever I’m disillusioned always brings a feeling of comfort.

I finally figured out the answer to the question: “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

The answer is, “Little again!!!”

How has formal education shaped your life?

Formal education is central to the development of a nation. The implementation of a formal education system is necessary to create a knowledgeable and progressive society leading to the achievement of social goals.

Education is seen as a powerful solution to the varied social problems faced by the country which if not tackled, will destroy the very fabric of the society.

Education is a catalyst that converts information into knowledge.

Formal education for me is a privilege that I have never taken for granted.

Education has given me knowledge, experience, skill and a SOUND attitude. It has given me the option of choices, and opened more doors for me. Education has developed in me a perspective of looking at life.

For my profession, formal learning has helped me design programs that include a variety of methods to appeal to all learning styles. Education has equipped me VERY IMPORTANTLY to educate others and create good citizens.

Education has equipped me with all that is needed to make my dreams come true.

How has your journey as a Professor been? Please throw some light on your other interests.

My journey and growth as a professor have been the most wonderful journey of my life. When I joined as a lecturer 30 years ago, teaching was merely passing information from one source to another. This gave way to a teacher being a facilitator, a motivator, a counsellor, a philosopher and above all a friend.

Influencing and moulding young tender minds, guiding them on the right path, and watching them become better than themselves, gives me the adrenaline rush of satisfaction and a sense of pride and fulfilment of contributing more leaders to society.

I always like to think differently and do things differently. This creative urge in me makes me work with “differently-abled thinkers” -THE ENTREPRENEURS. Acquiring qualifications as an entrepreneur educator and mentor, I am constantly mentoring entrepreneurs from the ecosystem. Being an entrepreneur myself, I achieve my creative fulfilment by balancing my job and my venture. Designing my own clothes and giving it my personal touch builds a sense of pride and confidence in me to look and feel different.

Chatting with my daughter on social media (seven seas separate us geographically) and exchanging every little crazy bit of information is another activity I eagerly look forward to. Reading every line of the newspaper (even at midnight if I have not had the time earlier) is my addiction as that helps me keep abreast of the environment and incorporate this information in my mentoring and my Business/Management classes too.

A career development session with students of Navy School Colaba

A career development session with students of Navy School Colaba

“Technology can enable women to find their true voice. Technology, if used for self-growth, can offer avenues to women which were unavailable earlier.” Your comments.

“Technology is an engine for economic growth”

Technological capability is one of the 5 categories for the Growth Environment Scores (GES)

Rapid technological innovations create a tremendous opportunity to bridge the gender and technology divide and leverage the benefits of technology to propel the economic advancement of lower and middle-income women in developing countries.

In India and other developing and underdeveloped countries, technology has been underused in unlocking women’s economic opportunities.

Technology can enable women to develop their economic potential, become financially empowered and to more effectively contribute to their families, communities and local economies and become stronger leaders. With the existence of varied technology platforms available today, women can increase their productivity as well as launch income-generating pursuits and entrepreneurial ventures.

The potential to advance women economically may be the most exciting transformative feature of technology.

Technology has given the opportunity to several women across the globe to ‘Work from home’- a paradigm shift in bringing more women into the workforce.

Household hobbies and innate skills such as painting, handicrafts, embroidery, etc. can grow into huge ventures via the use of E-Commerce which enables women to connect to online customers via their mobile phones.

How has your motherhood contributed to you as an individual and as a progressive part of society?

“Of all the rights of a woman, the greatest is to be a mother.”

Becoming a mother is life-changing, to state the obvious- It’s been a gigantic shift in my life and I welcomed it.

Being a mother has made me a complete woman. Being a mother is learning about STRENGTHS I didn’t know I had and dealing with FEARS I didn’t know existed.

It is the inner character of a person and indeed of a nation that drives their actions for good or bad. And it is the development of the inner character of every child that is the mother’s greatest contribution.

For me being a mother is not about what I gave up to have a child, but what I’ve gained from having one.

As I believe in contributing inside and outside the confines of my home, seeing my child grow up with the right values and walking in the right direction, I started wanting to nurture other children too and hence chose to balance my time with 2 careers- teaching and motherhood and seeing that neither took away time from the other and both give me immense satisfaction. Understanding my child has made me into a very sensitive mentor to other young children and take pride in building them into good human beings and good citizens.

To add humour, I will say that becoming a mother has made me realise that I can do almost anything one-handed.

Talk about 3 people who have had a most profound influence on you.

  1. My Father and My Husband: Both alike in so many ways- caring selflessly, never seeking a return for their deeds, high values of integrity, simplicity, perseverance, sound attitude, hard-working and tremendous respect for all women especially their mothers, sisters, spouses and children. Just sitting beside them and having them in the same room, gives me a pleasant feeling of comfort and security. (I consider myself very fortunate to have these 2 men in my life who live more for others than themselves)
  2. My Daughter: My best friend, my biggest critic, my greatest motivator. The closeness of our bond can be seen in the similarities in the way we groom and present ourselves. Right from the age of 10 years, when she excitedly told me that she wants to become a scientist, it left me spellbound by the clarity of her thoughts. Her assertive ambitions, and her focus on striving and pursuing her dreams in spite of all adversities, have made me realise her inner strength and perseverance. Always accepting full responsibility for her decisions and behaviour is a quality I have learnt to imbibe in myself and in dealing with my students and mentees. Her healthy sense of autonomy in a distant land (fixing tyres, shovelling snow, fixing bulbs, filing tax returns, balancing work, house and friends) has left me awestruck and actually made me pick up my tax and investment forms which I had so conveniently pushed onto my husband. Her few words, “Mom, you can do it” or “Mom, that’s not difficult for you” or “Mom, I am so proud of you” is a constant motivating factors pushing me to accept challenges headlong.
    Enjoying a joke with daughter. San Fransisco June 2015

    Enjoying a joke with daughter. San Fransisco June 2015

  3. Ex-Principal of Jai Hind College- Dr Kirti Narain: What a leader should be and how to use leadership qualities to handle every situation is the greatest quality I’ve learnt from her in her 6 years of tenure with Jai Hind.A visionary, a deep intellect, well-read, great communicator, high people skills – a personality that would make heads turn even with her petite size. Always placing the overall interest and image of the college before her own interest, she was skilled in noticing talent, nurturing them, motivating them and pulling their growth with the growth of the institution. Being a keen observer and quick learner, I quickly picked up these qualities from her and today use them in the successful coordination of all associations and groups that I lend my service to. Extremely positive, a smile permanently pasted on her face, always having time for everyone and every little activity (I wondered how!), Dr Narain led an ordinary institute to extraordinary achievements.

Please tell us about your daughter’s research journey. How did she start and how has the experience been?

My daughter’s research journey began at the age of 10 years when she was in the audience of a certain scientist speaking at her school forum. She made up her mind to become a scientist- began reading about them (I too got introduced to many of them through her- being a Management person all along), and made her first impromptu presentation on Stephen Hawking’s “Black Hole” at the age of 13 in her Physics class (no one understood what she was talking about) and her journey began…of moulding her personality, developing her skill and intellect, exactly like what would be demanded in USA ( the land of research and Bio-Tech), where she wished to pursue her passion.

While other children would go on a vacation and “chill out” during semester holidays, my daughter would spend her time doing internships in different fields learning blood sampling in hospitals, instrumentation in a surgical supply unit, learning stem cell culture and also working with her role model Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of leading Indian Biotechnology Enterprise Biocon. Along with this she continued being an academic topper and pursued all her co-curricular and extra-curricular interests too.

My daughter with her research poster. Jackson laboratory. Bar harbor. MAINE

My daughter with her research poster. Jackson laboratory. Bar harbor. MAINE

Spending anxious weeks and months of University applications as a PhD student, got her with fellowship, a place in the prestigious “Jackson Laboratory” at Maine, (a biomedical institute which works on discovering precise genomic solutions for diseases) as a student for research on Muscular Dystrophy.

Many sacrifices (time lost with friends, losing friends altogether, staying far away from family- all alone in joy and sorrow), many rejections and failures (research is all about this), many painful moments (when someone else takes credit for the work done by her), many lonely days (alone in the mouse room with mice and the white coat standing for hours without food and water) have made her journey of last 4 years a roller-coaster ride.

All our world’s glorious scientists have gone through this but the world has progressed because of these BRAVE, FEARLESS revolutionaries and today I stand proud and tall knowing my daughter will soon become one of the world’s change makers- A SCIENTIST.

Being in the field of education, I could correctly guide her on the choices to make to build a wholesome personality with the right blend of knowledge, skill, values, and sound attitude.

Your philosophy of life in a sentence.

“The less you respond to negativity, the more peaceful your life will become.”

Tell us about your future plans.

To continue spreading entrepreneurship education and mentoring entrepreneurs and down the line assisting my daughter is starting her entrepreneurial venture.

What would you like to convey to those moms who have dreams and ideas, but feel bogged down by family and social responsibilities?

  1. Do not ever give up your dreams and keep dreaming big!
  2. Feel pleased with your contributions and have more self–esteem. Your contribution to society will increase the respect of your children and family towards you.
  3. Prioritise your work and learn to bring a balance between work and home.
  4. Choose that kind of work and working environment which makes it possible for even distribution of your time between all your responsibilities and interests.
  5. Have a regular breakfast/bedtime routine with children and family
  6. Allot one night a week as ‘family night’
  7. Always keep time to pursue your interests and hobbies too.