Name: Hamna Khuld
Title: Epidemiologist and Grant Writer
Organisation: California Health Medical Reserve Corps (CHMRC)
Hamna Khuld is an Epidemiologist and Grant Writer. She has over five years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She holds a master's degree in Epidemiology from Columbia University and has researched vitiligo, gender-based violence, Alzheimer's, and telehealth in disaster relief. Currently engaged in the American Pakistan Foundation's International Fellowship, she also serves on the board of Write to Be, a Haitian nonprofit organization. Her work reflects a dedication to global health and empowering marginalized communities.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Hamna's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Effective communication is a cornerstone of successful leadership. As a leader, you must be able to clearly articulate your vision and goals, give and receive feedback constructively, and adapt your communication style to different audiences. However, this can be a challenging task, especially when dealing with a diverse team with different communication preferences.
To mitigate this challenge, one must articulate vision and goals--ensuring everyone on the same page; give and receive feedback--delivering feedback has to be specific, actionable, and focused on the behavior, not the person; and adapt communication style--read the room and adjust your communication style accordingly.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
When I started my nonprofit career, I discovered that effective leadership is about collaboration and empowerment. I worked hands-on with program staff, embarked on shared decision-making, and designing impactful programs for women and children. By providing each other feedback and fostering trust and respect among colleagues--we were true to the cause we were trying to implement and saw women's confidence grow and children's eyes sparkle with hope.
Leadership is leading with compassion, humility, and respect--becoming a beacon of empowerment, a symbol of hope for her community.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Embracing a structured and balanced approach to life allows me to thrive both as a successful professional and an individual who cherishes well-being. My day begins with a steaming cup of invigorating coffee, followed by the ritual of crafting my to-do list, carefully prioritizing tasks based on their importance and urgency. This meticulous planning serves as a beacon, guiding me through the day with focus and organization, thus keeping burnout at bay.
As the sun sets on my workday, I transition into a sanctuary of physical reinvigoration. Whether it's a brisk walk amidst the symphony of nature's whispers or an invigorating gym session, these activities not only elevate my heart rate but also purge stress from my mind, leaving me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Evenings provide a serene haven for me to unwind and nourish my intellect. I escape into the captivating world of literature, losing myself in the tapestry of words woven by master storytellers. Alternatively, I immerse myself in the vibrant canvas of cinema, letting the moving images transport me to far-off lands and captivating narratives.
By experimenting with different approaches and incorporating activities that ignite my passions, I cultivate a life symphony that harmonizes productivity, well-being, and happiness. As a result, I embrace each day with enthusiasm and gratitude, confident that I am nurturing not only my professional aspirations but also my overall well-being.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
In today's collaborative workplace, understanding your coworkers' or employees' jobs is a cornerstone of effective leadership. By gaining insights into their roles, you can empower them with better support, informed decisions, and a fostered positive work environment, ultimately leading to enhanced productivity, engagement, and success.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey is a classic book that outlines seven habits that can help individuals and organizations achieve success. It is based on universal principles, is very practical and provides a clear framework for applying the seven habits to one's own life.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Embark on your leadership journey with authenticity, passion, and an open mind. Embrace the role of a true listener, humbly acknowledging your errors and embracing opportunities for growth. Approach leadership with courage, gratitude, and patience, treating others with the utmost kindness and respect. Remember, the essence of effective leadership lies in being true to yourself, leading from a place of compassion and heart. As you navigate the highs and lows of your leadership journey, these principles will guide you towards fulfilling your potential and making a real difference in the world.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Amidst the vibrant tapestry of the nonprofit sector, Sarah stood out as an exceptional individual, her story a testament to the transformative power of perseverance and determination. With a gleaming GED certification obtained in 2020, Sarah embarked on a culinary adventure, honing her skills in the dynamic world of restaurants. Her heart, however, yearned for more; she envisioned her own culinary haven, where the tantalizing aromas of Southern homecooked dishes would entice and delight.
Unwavering in her pursuit, Sarah diligently pursued certification in Food Safety and Management, equipping herself with the knowledge and expertise to navigate the intricacies of the culinary industry. However, the road to realizing her dream was not without its challenges. The labyrinth of business registration processes and the complexities of crafting a compelling business proposal threatened to hinder her progress.
Undeterred, Sarah sought guidance from me, a mentor within the nonprofit organization. With a keen eye and a wealth of experience, I meticulously reviewed Sarah's business plan, deciphering the intricacies of business registration and government regulations. Together, we embarked on a collaborative journey, meticulously navigating the maze of paperwork and documentation.
After a week of unwavering dedication, our efforts culminated in a momentous achievement – Sarah's business registration certification was proudly printed. Overwhelmed with joy and gratitude, Sarah embraced her newfound status as an entrepreneur, her heart brimming with the anticipation of her culinary venture. I, her mentor, beamed with pride, relishing the opportunity to have played a pivotal role in Sarah's success.
Sarah's story serves as a beacon of inspiration, a testament to the transformative power of mentorship and the indomitable spirit of an aspiring entrepreneur. Her journey from a GED certificate to business registration certification is a poignant reminder that dreams, when fueled by determination and guided by unwavering support, can indeed blossom into reality.
I am honored to have been a part of Sarah's journey and look forward to witnessing her continued success as she embarks on this exciting new chapter in her culinary adventure.