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Faiza Yousuf- CaterpillHers

Faiza Yousuf is an entrepreneur and software engineer with 13 years of experience building tech products. In addition to managing CaterpillHERs as a co-founder, she is also an expert-vetted freelancer on Upwork. She has been featured in multiple campaigns by Upwork.

Faiza has taken many initiatives focusing on women’s financial inclusion and improving gender parity and has also won several Awards in this regard.

She has even won multiple Community Leadership Awards; and contributed to P@SHA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee to improve gender parity in Pakistan’s tech ecosystem.

This doesn’t end here!! Faiza Yousuf is a great writer and speaker who has attended conferences as a Speaker on Technology, Learning, DEI, and Community Building. She is, no doubt a real inspiration.

Fempreneur is honored to have her on board as part of our “Women Who Inspire” series. Let’s get to know about her entrepreneurial journey.

I have been working in tech for over 13 years and started my entrepreneurial journey 11 years ago. After my first and second spectacular venture failures, I founded two community initiatives, WomenInTechPK and CodeGirls. These two were huge successes, and after years of soul-searching and gaining experience in the tech ecosystem, I decided to dive back in for a for-profit but impact-first company CaterpillHERs. I am neurodiverse, an avid reader, and a cat mom. 

What was the thought process behind CaterpillHers?

When I joined Hira for CaterpillHERs, it was already a business accelerator, and I reached out to her with a proposition to start a career accelerator. This idea was always in the back of my mind as I have seen extreme highs and lows in my career, and due to WomenInTechPK, I saw its need for women who want to upskill themselves to climb up the career ladder. 

What is unique about your business?

We are the only women-only fully-remote career accelerator in Pakistan that offers blended programs with mentoring and dedicated success coaches. We provide not only learning but also a Community to ensure that the participants can find their tribe, learn from their peers and grow together. 

Reaching out to women in smaller cities and rural areas is one of the major challenges we have. Also, running a fully-remote company has its fair share of challenges. I also feel that Pakistan is not a very conducive place for running a business. Even though we have excellent talent but we do lack in streamlining and providing basic business services, like banking. 

What are some of the milestones you have achieved in your professional career?

I think the following would count. 

  • Delivering a Keynote, at the world’s largest Agile Conference and later serving as a Program Chair for the same conference. 
  • Being featured by Upwork multiple times.
  • All-Rounder of the Year award by Women Tech Network. 
  • Winning PIO Award by
  • Co-authoring a research paper.
  • Becoming an expert-vetted freelancer on Upwork 
  • Bringing Upwork as a sponsor for CodeGirls and a partner for CaterpillHERs.
  • Being featured in WomenWhoMaster Series by Logitech. 

I used Social Media, Community Engagement, and Content Creation

What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?

I enjoyed being able to experiment and also working with a co-founder.

What are your success habits?

  • Rigorously planning and following through on my work week. 
  • Creating yearly and quarterly goals and sticking to them. 
  • Dividing my time between multiple projects and initiatives and working on one thing at a time. 
  • Learning to have the self-discipline to improve my productivity further.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Find yourself a good mentor and a business coach, and make sure you have a tribe of supportive people around you. 

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