043: Farzana Chohan (Leadership IN Women)

Farzana Chohan on Innovation City

“The world which women will be leading will look like a harmonious, collaborative, calm, peaceful world.” — Farzana Chohan

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Farzana Chohan, DMGT-ABD, Executive Director at Leadership IN Women. Farzana is a futurist and a global leader in nonprofit development, management, and design. A published author, accomplished Toastmaster speaker, and Doctor of Management, Farzana’s work focuses on Mentorship and Leadership. She shares the story of her professional development, what drew her into the fields of mentorship and leadership, and why women are often better equipped for leadership in today’s world than men.

They discuss:

  • Farzana’s path to working on mentorship and leadership
  • Why are all theories of leadership based on men?
  • Why don’t we talk about the women who lead?
  • Farzana started her career as an architect over 20 years ago, but she sees young women starting out now facing the same challenges getting leadership roles as she did back then
  • The world has changed, but women are still in the same place they were 20 years ago
  • Building a global platform that recognizes women as leaders
  • Growing up in Pakistan; Pakistan’s colonial history, and the deeper culture that goes back thousands of years, and is deeply patriarchal
  • Being one of only 6 women in the architecture program at her school
  • Being the only woman on a construction site; being seen as a secretary
  • Not being taken seriously as a professional
  • Getting her Masters in Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, then working all around the globe, and finally, returning to St. Louis to begin her doctorate
  • Examining why she was able to build a professional career, while other women she knew weren’t able to
  • Finding people who will support you in achieving your dreams
  • Mary Parker Follett, the ‘Mother of Modern Management’
  • Farzana’s book, also titled Leadership IN Women
  • The 4 Characteristics of Modern Leaders (Farzana covers this in-depth in her book):
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Empathy
    • Grit
    • Resilience
  • Who has more of these characteristics, women or men?
  • Why women make better leaders than men
  • Coming from a 3rd-world country to a 1st-world country and seeing women dealing with the same issues was surprising
  • 50% of students studying architecture are women, but the percentage of women practicing architecture drops off at every level of professional advancement, culminating in the 1-2% of architecture’s highest awards going to women
  • The importance of realizing the universality of women’s experiences
  • Whether or not we are destined to turn into our parents
  • Why the Digital Generations are going to change the world
  • When women lead their organizations are more peaceful, calmer, and more collaborative
  • Looking at women in corporate leadership roles and the work they are doing to make the world a better place